Nordic Notes with Noah Hoffman: Calmly awaiting the Olympic Judgment Day
Special to The Aspen Times
SUN VALLEY, Idaho — My coaches and I put together an excellent pre-Pyeongchang training plan that began 10 days ago at the conclusion of the U.S. National Championships and goes through the first race of the Olympics on Feb. 11.
The plan is a combination of my pre-Sochi plan, which yielded some of the best results of my career, and a four-week strength plan that I did in May 2014, which yielded my best double pole results on my roller ski time trial course.
The strength plan will help me regain the power that I have been missing this season, and the Sochi plan will set me up to peak for the pinnacle of cross-country ski racing — the Olympic Games. The plan is not only confidence-inducing, it also excites me and motivates me to push harder in every interval set and on every strength rep.
The only problem is that I haven’t yet been named to the Pyeongchang Olympic Team. You see, despite my confidence in the plan, my knowledge that I am as fit as I’ve ever been, and my feeling that I can have some of the best races of my career in Korea, the reality is that I have not skied up to my proven potential in the last three and a half years, and now I find myself as a bubble skier, waiting to find out if I will be named.
I like my chances; I am sitting fourth on the U.S. men’s distance list, and bets are the team will include five to six distance men. There are three distance races at the Olympics plus the distance relay, and the U.S. can start four skiers in each race. I am also one of only two U.S. men to have scored World Cup points (top-30 World Cup finish) this year in an Olympic distance event.
However, the naming of the team is completely out of my hands. All qualifying events are finished, and it is now up to the selection committee to name the team, which will happen sometime before Jan. 25.
As I await the committee’s decision, I am not stressed or anxious. Honestly, I haven’t even been thinking about it much. I have a job to do. My job is to prepare to compete against the best cross-country skiers in the world on Feb. 11, 16, 18 and 24. If I don’t get named to the team, my job will change, but until that happens, I am focused on the job at hand.
I have eight more intensity sessions before the first race at the Olympics. I have six more strength sessions and 24 more days to focus on nutrition and recovery. Each element of the plan matters and every aspect of my performance of the plan must be of high quality. The tasks are simple, and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing.
Editor’s note: Nordic Notes is a weekly column written by Aspen-raised cross-country skiers Simi Hamilton and Noah Hoffman as they compete on the World Cup circuit ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.