Sprint #3 was the Charlie Foxtrot edition, with another skier getting all up in my stuff. He took the inside line on the first downhill turn — when there wasn’t a line to be taken. Knocked into me hard, but I stayed up. I picked up the pace and he skied up on my poles for the rest of the lap. On the final lap, I was coming around him up Mt. Weston, and he stepped on my ski. I spun out. He attacked. I couldn’t bring him back in and settled for second. I takes a lot to rile me up, after so many years competing. This did it.
Sprint #4 was back to normal. Fast conditions. Well groomed course. During the warm-up, I was feeling pretty tired from racing Jackson just the Sunday before. But I felt better and better the more I skied. I attacked from the start. Not so much an attack as picking up the pace. It strung out. And I kept stretching the elastic. I snapped near the end of the first lap and I punched it hard. I was riding the edge of blowing up and being under control. Once I had a little lead, I got it under control, but I was still nervous with 3 laps to go. I could check the gap coming out of the hairpin turns, but the chase group was always closing in on me, so I went even harder. It was only after the race that I realized I hadn’t been accounting for the compression through the turn. I had already lost speed through the turn and was just picking it back up; they had yet to do so.
I crossed the line alone, with a healthy lead, spent. And happy. That high lasted all night. The next morning, I was already picking apart the race, wondering how I could have increased my lead further, how I could have gone faster.