Kuusamo to Lillehammer

Congratulations to DangerousDan’s Team for winning the first weekend of Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country! DangerousDan scored 3,114 points, 41 more points than SurfH20’s Team in second and 42 more points than Need more wax in third. For winning, DangerousDan will get a Toko T14 Digital Waxing Iron and a National Nordic Foundation Buff.

Team Selection is now open again. It will reopen between every world cup weekend so you can select a whole new team or keep the team you already have. It will close again on Friday, December 4th at 8pm EST for the Lillehammer World Cup. Don’t forget to select your team before the deadline. Every weekend is its own competition so last week’s results have no baring on next weekend. This weekend, the winner will receive a Concept2 Sports Duffle Bag with Concept2 Workout Gear and a National Nordic Foundation buff. Lastly, if you did not play last weekend you can still create an account and pick a team for the coming weekend. You will be a little behind on the season-long standings, but you can still win any given weekend! Create an account and pick your new team here.

Last weekend I did not ski the way I wanted or expected to. I had a very good sprint on Friday, but a very good sprint that still lands me in 81st place is nothing to build a season on.

Saturday’s 10 kilometer skate race was flatly disappointing. I had a great summer and fall of training and everything that I’ve done over the last several weeks has been very encouraging, so I had high expectations going into the weekend. Instead, I basically picked up where I left off from last year’s disappointment, well out of the points and a long ways back. I have no excuses. I followed my plan and executed well. My legs felt heavy and the hills felt big. I’ve discussed how I felt with my coaches, but we haven’t come up with any earth shattering answers. We simply decided to move on and keep taking care of the details.

Sunday’s 15 kilometer pursuit start classic race was a marked improvement over Saturday. My legs felt much better and I was moving up in the field until I crashed in the middle of the fastest downhill on the fourth of six laps. (This is a different spot than I crashed and broke my ankle last year in Kuusamo. I need to figure out a way to stay on my feet!) Before I crashed, I was not on pace to have a breakthrough result or even be in the points for time-on-day, but at least it was a step in the right direction. Again, I’m going to keep taking care of the things I can control and hope that I’m again able to ski to my potential.

The only pictures I have from the weekend are of the ladies’ sprint qualification on Friday. Here is Sweden’s Evelina Settlin:

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World Cup Chaos

Happy Thanksgiving!

Team Selection for Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country closes today at 8 p.m. (EST). Don’t forget to finalize your team, or, if you haven’t made an account yet, sign up and pick 16 skiers that you believe are going to kill it this weekend in the opening World Cup races here in Ruka/Kuusamo, Finland. It’s free to enter and is open to anyone. The goal is to encourage people to follow the World Cup throughout the winter. There are great prizes for the season-long competition and awesome prizes for the winner of each weekend. The winner of this weekend will receive a Toko T14 Digital Waxing Iron and a National Nordic Foundation Buff. Sign up and pick your team here.

Also, not all skiers that are available on the fantasy site will be racing this weekend. The start list for tomorrow’s sprint will be available (at the latest) by 2 p.m. (EST) here. Be sure to double check that everyone on your team is starting. And remember, this weekend is a tour event, so if an athlete isn’t racing tomorrow, they cannot race on Saturday or Sunday.

The chaos that is the World Cup scene began in earnest today. Here’s the U.S. wax cabin:

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Fantasy Cross Country Article

Courtney Harkins of the U.S. Ski Team put together a great article about Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country. It does a great job of explaining the league and telling the story about how it came to be, including the e-mail that Adam Mahar sent me this fall, after developing the entire site himself. Check out the article here.

And don’t forget to pick your fantasy team before team selection closes tomorrow here!

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Travel to Kuusamo

First, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to pick your team for Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country! It’s free, easy and there are awesome prizes on the line. Plus you can create your own personal league to compete against your friends. Team selection for this weekend’s openers here in Kuusamo closes on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Also, if you have already made an account but you haven’t selected all 16 of your skiers, don’t forget to finalize your team before the deadline! Only 58% of players have selected their full 16 skiers!

After I posted some pictures on Sunday morning, I competed in a 15 kilometer individual start FIS race that was part of the Gällivare Premiere, tune-up races for the World Cup. I executed the race according to my plan by going out hard and trying to hold on. I also skied well in that I used the new technique cues that I’ve developed this summer and fall during the race. I finished in 6th place, behind some excellent skiers who have won World Cups and had podium finishes at the World Championships. I was happy with the day and expect to build on that result in the coming weeks.

Here is my wax technician Jean-Pascal (JP) Laurin testing skis before the race:

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Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country

I am very excited to announce the launch of Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country at noahhoffmanfantasyxc.com! This is an expansion of last year’s very successful World Championship Fantasy League, and the goal is the same: to encourage people to follow international cross country skiing by giving them a personal stake in the outcome of the races. Once again, my sponsors have donated incredible prizes including top-of-the-line skis and poles from Madshus, two GPS Heart Rate Monitors from Suunto, roller skis from Finn Sisu, glasses from Julbo and a ton of other cool stuff.

As always, the league is free to enter and anyone can join. This year the league will include women and men and will cover the entire World Cup season. There will be prizes for the winner of each of the eleven World Cup weekends, as well as prizes for the top three in the season-long competition. This year’s website and platform are way better than last year thanks to the incredible work of programmer Adam Mahar.

So, pick your team of eight men and eight women for the opening weekend in Kuusamo (by Thursday, November 26th), create personal leagues to compete against your friends and have fun. Encourage your family, friends, teammates and competitors to pick a team to play against you. Once again, the website is noahhoffmanfantasyxc.com. Most importantly, follow the races on the live stream, keep up with news from your favorite athletes and get out on skis as much as possible!

Good luck!

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