Oh Canada!!! - Ski Tour Canada

Posted by Matt Liebsch on Mar 8th 2016

First Race Day:

Long day, sprints, then 3 hour bus ride, courses preview, now team meeting and we race again already tomorrow

It was my first sprint in maybe 2-3 years. I'm not here for the sprints. :) But I tried my best and had a decent qualifier.  Skis seemed in the mix. I skied well, just needed to go harder the first lap. Realistic goal was 15-20sec of top time. I was 18-19 out ? Would have been nice to ski 3/4sec faster but to qual on WC need to be less than 10sec out... God just didn't put me together with that fast twitch stuff. My fitness felt real good. I am excited for classic distance tomorrow but very excited for skate distance Saturday .

Second Race Day:

Tough day, skis had a ton of kick but I needed a stiffer pair so I could double pole more. If I had to do it again I would have double poled on skate skis as the track was annihilated. I think 5-10 guys double poled on skate skis. Basically a run and gun course and I had too much kick so I was striding/kick sections that all other guys were DP, the wax was great but I just dont have a ski with a high enough camber. Jeremy used a cover wax to speed up the skis but the icy corners ripped that away and I was draggy last 4 laps, not his fault at all, I just dont have a high camber ski that kicks well enought. With the crazy corners, lots of carnage. I had 3 crashes, 2 small ones and one big... It was kinda a junk show of a course but the best skiers still went real fast. Fitness actually felt real good, even if I had great skis and amazing race (good lines, no crashes), I will would have been a ways out with the narrow course and slinky effect and me starting at the back based on my sprint the day before. Times on the first lap I would be standing still for 5-10sec in traffic on the narrow herring bone hills.

Super pumped to have a distance skate race on Saturday. Pursuit/wave start so could be a lot of traffic, hopefully no crashes and I am looking for a real strong result.

Third Race Day:

Fri/Sat was so much fun! ... I am trying not to bum out too much that I didn't have a great race on Saturday (my goal event for week one). Skis felt OK but the other US guys had some rockets that day. Brian Gregg made a move to bridge to the next group up and I just couldn't quite find the "pop" to follow. Being in the wave start was crazy fast and I needed to relax a bit more so I had some matches to burn on the 2nd lap. I went through a rough patch on lap 2 but started skiing better on lap 3/4... unfortunately when you are by yourself chasing groups of 3-5 guys, getting back on the "bus" is very difficult.

I am excited for Canmore with 3 of the 4 races bring distance events. I am also excited to settle into one place for more than a few nights; the travel schedule on the first half of the tour was pretty crazy. Its very warm here and hopefully I can find some skis that work very well in these temps. The thing that I try not to think about is not only am I racing the best skiers in the world, I am racing the them on the best skis in the world too?! Pretty exciting and humbling. Yesterday I watched Sundby double pole up the A climb and the entire race course here, and he was at L1/2... just out of this world. I heard he double poled up a mountain pass during Tour de Ski with a weight vest on earlier this year. I was in the fitness room at our last hotel and one morning he was on the treadmill for 2 hours even before his 2hr+ ski... in the middle of a grueling race tour. When I get home I am excited to share my experiences and thoughts on how the US needs to approach success at the highest level. In the meantime, I am doing all I can do to prepare for some good races here in Canmore. With the short acclimation period here in Canmore, I am focusing on recovery, hydration and ski selection.

-Posted by Matt Liebsch on Mar 8th 2016