Congratulations to IdaAmin’s The Quiet Legs from Sweden for winning the Nove Mesto weekend of Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country! The Quiet Legs scored 1,428 points over the weekend, just 2 points more than five other teams that all scored 1,426 points. Full fantasy results from the weekend are here.
For winning, The Quiet Legs will receive a Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) Beanie, SSCV Race Suit, SSCV Jacket, SSCV Hat, and a National Nordic Foundation Buff.
Finishing 98th in the Nove Mesto weekend competition was enough for Frans’s Team to hold onto the lead in the overall standings; the lead grew from 4 points to 14 points. (Overall fantasy standings are here). For the second week in a row, Burnt Norton’s Burnt Norton and DmitryBR’s Snow Killers remained on the overall podium but flipflopped positions. Snow Killers is now in second place and Burnt Norton is in third. There are still three weekend competitions plus Ski Tour Canada to go and things will change before the end of the season. Here’s a reminder of the top-3 prizes that are on the line for the overall fantasy competition:
- First place:
- Second place:
- Suunto Ambit3 GPS Heart Rate Monitor and a U.S. Ski Team High Sierra Duffle Bag.
- Third place:
Team selection is open. This weekend is a break from World Cup competition. However, next Wednesday, February 3rd, is the Drammen sprint race, which is part of the Drammen/Oslo weekend. Therefore, Team selection will close on TUESDAY, February 2nd at 8 p.m. EST for the ENTIRE WEEKEND. Pick your team for Drammen/Oslo here. If you haven’t picked teams yet this season, you can still create an account and play for individual weekend prizes! The prize for the Drammen/Oslo weekend is a U.S. Ski Team Jacket and U.S. Ski Team Hat and a National Nordic Foundation Buff.
The 15 kilometer individual start skate race in Nove Mesto on Saturday was wintery and snowy. It began snowing around 10 a.m. and by the time the first racer started at 2:15 p.m., several inches had accumulated. It was well below freezing and the conditions were slow. My plan for the race was to ski relaxed, clean and with high energy. I wanted to build through the race and use my full aerobic capacity. It was the same race strategy that I had used for consistent results throughout the Tour de Ski. However, it didn’t work out nearly as well as it had in the Tour. My “clean high energy skiing” on Saturday was not nearly fast enough to be competitive. After 5 kilometers of focusing on “clean”, I was in 53rd place. This highlights a problem that I’ve experienced in past seasons: the pace of my skiing at a given perceived exertion changes throughout the season, even from day to day. I need to be able to identify how fast I’m actually going, not just how fast I feel I’m going. That’s something I will work on with my coaches over the rest of the season and during the training year.
Luckily for me, Jonas Dobler from Germany, who started 30 seconds behind me, caught me after 5 kilometers. He showed me how fast I needed to be skiing to be competitive. Although I was at the very limit and it was the most painful race I’ve done this season, I was able to follow him all the way to the finish. He “dragged” me up into the World Cup points. I finished in 27th place.
During Sunday’s relay, Scott Patterson from Alaska skied the first leg for us. He tagged Erik Bjornsen in 12th place. Erik skied a great leg, taking us up to 6th place, only 15 seconds behind 3rd place. My plan for the race was to be aggressive, to make myself hurt and to ski more than just clean skiing. Getting tagged off 15 seconds behind a group was perfect for that strategy because I could go chase the group down. I did just that, catching them after just 2.5 of the 7.5 kilometers. I felt good doing it. Several teams that came in with Erik, and therefore started with me, followed me up to the group. Once we all came together, there were 7 teams, representing 3rd through 9th places.
I actually had more trouble skiing in the group than I did catching it, and I believe not just because I had put in a hard effort to catch the group. I was struggling to relax at the lower pace. When the pace of the group accelerated on the third lap, I struggled and fell off the back a little bit. I tagged Simi Hamilton in 8th place, 5 seconds behind 3rd place. I’m happy that I was able to catch the group and attack easily in the race, but I’m disappointed with my skiing once I got there.
The highlight of the weekend for our team was the women’s relay. They finished in 2nd place, a best ever result for the team.
Here are a few pictures from the weekend.
We were having our team meetings in the same room as the Swiss team, after they had theirs. Our coaches and their coaches were having fun drawing their nonsense “keys to success” for the other team’s viewing pleasure.