Monday, January 9, 2012

US Ski Mountaineering National Championships/Grand Targhee Classic

1-7-2012 Jackson

With low snow conditions the SLC crew was expecting a challenging, moguled course.   Jackson did not disappoint.  The start for some reason had everyone sprinting.  Once that settled Scott Simmons and Marshell Thompson were out and pushing hard.  I slowed worked my way up and pulled even with Luke in 3rd, thinking the guys up front would come back over the next few hours.  Right then I started having trouble skinning.  This was likely due to my poor technique but since I waxed my skins that morning I couldn't help but blame them.  After several switchbacks on the groomer and a lot of wasted time and energy I found myself changing skins mid climb.  I had a pair of unwaxed full coverage BD mohairs complete with toe and tail clips which I used the rest of the day (I know Brian, shameful).  This little mishap took me from 3rd to roughly 15th place and I completely lost contact with the lead.  Feeling like I had ruined the race before it started I was stuck playing catch up the rest of the day.  Slowly working my way up I eventually shared a few transitions with Marshell towards the end of the race.  He got out a touch before me on the second to last descent and I lost sight of him. At the next transition he was no where to be seen.  Apparently a wrong turn put Marshell in the middle of nowhere and out of the race.  Unfortunate.  The last up felt a lot longer than I would have hoped but was uneventful (as was the down) and positions stayed the same.  Once again, the guys at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort put on a great event.  Hopefully they're showered with snow storms for their efforts.  

1. Luke Nelson 2:38:58
2. Scott Simmons 2:40:59
3 Jason Dorais   2:43:42
4. Brian Wichensauser 2:47:32
5 Ben Parsons 2:48:47

A brief video of the race:

Andy paying respect
1-8-2012 Targhee

Coming off the Jackson race I don't think anyone I talked to was too psyched to race again.  At least this one was a little shorter.  The first up I found myself slipping again.  I topped out in 4th hearing Jared scream, "Junkshow Dorais."  He was right.   I was lucky enough to come out of the transition to climbing in 3rd and position stayed the same throughout the next up.  The second descent was eventful.  Ben Parsons and I followed Luke for the first half.  We all pulled even when Luke and I began to struggle.  At one point I found myself on my head looking at my skis and the sky.  Apparently Luke found himself in a similar situation and was asking himself weather or not he was concussed.  We both watched Ben rip the rest of the descent.  I figured we just gave him the win.  My transition before the last up was pretty quick and Ben only had 5 secs on me.  Right after he started going, his skins popped off.  His great DH was erased with a simple skin malfunction.  Because of that I got out of the transition 1st with Luke about 80 feet back, Ben still struggling with skins.  Feeling pretty blasted from the last days effort I was lucky to hold the other guys off for that last short climb.  A long descent to the finish had us all laughing and feeling cold.  Again big thanks to the Targhee guys especially Andy Williams for putting on a great race.  It definitely had a good backcountry feel with the majority of the race off piste. A few pictures.

A painful start
Cold and glad to be done

The Samurai with a broken sword
1. Jason Dorais 1:41.11
2 Luke Nelson  1:42.26
3. Ben Parsons  1:43.59
4. Jared Inouye  1:45.40
5. Cary Smith    1:46.03

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