With a little extra effort needed to sniff this place out in the dark, I arrived at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Host of this years SuperTour Finals and Distance National Championships. It was shorts-and-long sleeve-shirt weather and with no snow anywhere in sight, I was very skeptical about being able to race here for the next 10 days?
After skiing the next morning on a very nicely prepared 1.5km loop of 6-12 inches of slush in 75 degree temps, I was even more skeptical. The snow was good but how long could it last? Turns-out, the crew in Craftsbury worked so hard for 5-6 days STRAIGHT, that the course was in better shape when I left, then when I arrived!! I know it was said all week, but a big THANK YOU goes out to everyone for the enormous effort needed to pull this race off! And in the end, they did way more then just “pull it off”! The snow and grooming was better then some world cup course I’ve raced and the entire atmosphere was that of Fun and high level competition.
After a 3km skate Prologue, we had a 15km mass-start classic on a “figure eight” loop, off day, classic sprint and then finished up with a very big UP, a 1.8km hill climb at Jay Peak Alpine area. The Hill Climb was the highlight for me! Although my result was good (12th place) it was not great and I was going into the week with top 5 expectations. It was the intense nature and I know I can speak for everyone when I say it was painful! We climbed 1,079ft in 1.8km and it took me 14:30 minutes. There is something about skiing up a grade that if you stop and look out to your side, you get uneasy because of the severe angle. Whatever it is that makes me like going straight up on nordic skis, I want to do more of these!
Craftsbury marks an end to truly amazing 2012 season! Even with warm and dry conditions around most of the world, skiers from all over banded together to take whatever mother nature handed us and turn it into something great! X-C skiing in North America is in uncharted territory and I’m really exited to be see what we can do together!!
I would really like to give a big Thank You to Madshus for all the support over the years!! I was so pleased with the new Nano Carbon poles! With the improvements in the technology used to produce faster and better feeling skis every year and comfortable light weight boots, I have a complete race system that I know will provide me with the highest level of performance! I’m very proud to be part of such a great company!!
Leif Zimmermann~Team Madshus