Athlete spotlight: Simi Hamilton
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
My last three weeks on the World Cup have been an absolutely crazy roller coaster ride on which both my physical and emotional characters have been tested and thrown from loop to loop.
As a racer whose primary focus is sprinting, my training throughout most of the year is essentially geared toward going as fast as possible on cross-country skis for three minutes. It sounds somewhat simple and hard to screw up, but the shorter the race, the more pronounced the mistakes or shortcomings become. In the last two sprints on the World Cup alone, I have missed out on qualifying for the heats by .12 seconds and .02 seconds, respectively.
To look back at races like these and ask, “Where could I have made up two-hundredths of a second?” is to set yourself up for chronic and recurring disappointment. So, instead I’ve posed a challenge to myself: What can I do each and every day I am outside training to not only become two-hundredths faster in the next sprint, but two seconds? With that in mind, I’m looking at every training session as an opportunity to answer that question.
Despite some heartbreaking sprint-race qualifiers, things on the other side of the pond couldn’t be better. We have the largest World Cup team that we’ve ever traveled with in the history of U.S. cross-country skiing, conditions throughout central, eastern, and northern Europe are ideal for training and racing, and the levels of racing by both the men’s and women’s teams have consistently been raised every weekend since the start of the season. Needless to say, the team is amped up and ready for five more exhilarating weekends of World Cup action.
On Thursday, we make the drive from our training base in Ramsau, Austria, to the cold and rolling hills of the Czech Republic. A weekend of distance racing awaits us in Nove Mesto before we make the journey to Poland, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Sweden to finish off the season. With three more sprints left on the World Cup schedule, I can’t help but get excited and anxious to finish out the last part of the season with everything I’ve got.
It has been fun over the last couple of weeks to pull up the local papers online and peruse the latest news from the Roaring Fork Valley. It makes me so happy to know that winter has finally arrived at home and that things are good in our community. See you all in the Highland Bowl in April!
X Games is back for its 22nd consecutive year at Buttermilk Ski Area starting Friday, with many of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders set to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and knucklehuck over three days.