Athlete spotlight: Noah Hoffman
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I have competed in eight races to start the 2011-12 cross-country ski season. I have 23 races remaining on my calendar, and already I am wishing the season would never end. I am having an incredible time working with my coaches on the puzzle of managing my energy, fitness, recovery and health to try to produce good results.
So far this season, I’ve been to Torsby, Sweden, Sjusjoen, Norway, Kuusamo, Finland, Seefeld, Austria, Davos, Switzerland, and Rogla, Slovenia. Of the 46 days I’ve trained or raced this season, I’ve only skied five sessions on natural snow or longer than a 5-kilometer loop. On 23 days, I’ve skied on a loop of snow 1.3 kilometers or less, five minutes or less to complete. I’m getting dizzy!
I love traveling and seeing new places, but I would be almost as happy if I were racing against the best in the world on a 300-meter loop at the South Pole. I enjoy the challenge of improving and finding success.
So far this season, I’ve had some decent finishes, but I haven’t had the one “surprising” or breakthrough result I’m looking for. It is amazing the number of ways I’ve discovered that keep me from obtaining a great result. Every weekend I learn a new lesson. I believe I am set up really well for the rest of the season because my energy is great, I am well recovered and I am ready to handle a little training before heading back to Europe in mid-January. (I am currently training with one of my coaches in Putney, Vt.)
The highlight of the season for me thus far has been the success of the U.S. Ski Team as a whole, and the cross-country team specifically. I am so impressed with Aspenite Alice McKennis’ career-best eighth-place finish on the World Cup in downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, a couple of weeks ago.
Also, fellow Aspenite and teammate Simi Hamilton had a career-best 10th-place finish in the World Cup in Rogla, Slovenia, last week. Most exciting is my teammate Kikkan Randall from Alaska, who has won two out of the four sprint races conducted on the World Cup this season. She is leading the sprint World Cup competition by a significant margin. The U.S. has never – or at least not for a very long time – had an athlete as dominant as Kikkan has been sprinting on the World Cup. It is really fun to see firsthand!
I am feeling great and fired up for the rest of the season. I have some incredible race opportunities ahead of me, and I can’t wait to get back on the circuit. Happy Holidays!
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