Update from Sunny Utah
I thought I would give a quick update, just to let you know what I am up to so far this vacation. I know I haven’t written in a while, but a lot has been going on. Right now, I am lucky enough to find myself in the sunny paradise of Midway, Utah, at the Junior Nationals for Nordic skiing. How did I end up here? Long story short, I qualified for the New England team through a season of racing, and now I have the opportunity to represent the New England region in a week of competition against other regions such as Intermountain, Rocky Mountain, Midwest, Alaska, and many others. The venue for the races is Soldier Hollow, where the Nordic races were held at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
I am writing this at the end of a long day of sprint racing and standing out in the blinding sun. Skiing out West is quite different from skiing in New England. First of all, the elevation is almost 6000 ft, which makes quite a difference in skiing. You notice it immediately–you get winded more easily and physical activity is just more difficult. It is a result of the body’s demand for more oxygen in the thin air. As a result, racing “at altitude” can be more difficult for people from lower climes, and we have to be very careful to take care of our bodies so we are as strong as we can be in the races. This includes drinking a LOT of water (think 3-4 Nalgenes a day), taking iron supplements, and getting plenty of sleep. Even with all of that, I can still feel the altitude, but it is the best we can do.
Another thing that we have to be more careful about here than in the East is the sun. It’s just so much more intense here! After all getting sunburned on the first day, we realized we had to be much more careful about wearing sunscreen and hats all the time. Even when it’s not sunny!
So far, we have only had one day of racing. It was a sprint day with a qualifier in the morning and sprint heats (individual waves of 6 racers) in the afternoon. I wasn’t one of the top 30 to qualify for the heats, so I was able to hang out and watch the afternoon excitement. And take some cool pictures (see below).
I still have plenty of racing to go, with a 10k, a 5k, and a relay all in store for this week. I will be here until Sunday, and I will try to write another update when I get home. Thanks for reading!