Early Season Re-cap with Felicia Gesior
Editor's Note: Today we hear from Crosscut Elite Team member Felicia Gesior, recapping the first part of her season!
We are getting back into the groove of ski racing with our second Supertour weekend under our belts. Hannah and I traveled to Sun Valley this past Thursday after a brief period in Bozeman following the first Supertour races in Canmore, Alberta. It was nice to spend time at home to reset, get some laundry done and squeeze in a couple training sessions at Lindley before hitting the road again.
Once in Sun Valley, we spent Friday morning at the Lake Creek Trails, the venue for our Saturday classic sprint and Sunday 10k skate race. The routine leading into a race is a process that I have repeated and practiced many times throughout my high school, collegiate and post collegiate career as a nordic racer. However, at the start of the year, I definitely encounter more nerves about perceived uncertainties as I move through this process.
The last two race weekends have been a nice opportunity to touch up my plan and start to feel more confident in myself again. It helps to have a plan going into my pre-race session the day before a race.
First, I look over my skis and decide which ones I want to test depending on temperatures and snow. At the start of the year, I take the time to test more pairs than I may later in the season to get refreshed on how each pair feels.
I prep one ski from each pair I want to test with the same glide wax. I start my pre-race ski by skiing easy on two different skis from that group and selecting the one that I feel is running the fastest. I take the winner from the first two single skis and test that against any remaining skis I have out with me.
When testing I think about how it feels while climbing up a hill: Does it feel free? Is it squirmy? Do I feel any resistance?And on the downhill I think: Is one ski pulling ahead of the other? Do I feel stable? Am I riding over the snow well?
Once I have it narrowed down I start some pre-race intensity. Beginning with a low level 3 effort. After 3-6 minutes I take an equal amount of rest. Then, I do a second L3 around the same amount of time. Next, I do two or three 1-2 minute pieces at a slightly harder effort, around level 4.
I end the intensity with a few speeds on sections of the course that I would like to work on. Making sure to target these areas ensures that you have a plan for how to ski them during the race. Often, I like to pick transitions to do speeds on so I can find the most effective place to switch from one technique to another or get around a corner that may be tricky at race pace.
I adjust my pre-race depending on how my energy is feeling that day. The point of a pre-race ski is to feel sharp and give your body a chance to wake up and move into a faster pace skiing. With that being said, you do not want to work yourself over the edge so it is okay to adjust depending on what your body is telling you feels good.
With anything, each time you practice doing a pre-race you can tweak and perfect it to what feels good for you. Each race is another opportunity to get to know your body a little bit better.
I am starting to feel confident again in my plan and my process as we emerge on the other side of our second race weekend. I’m excited to build momentum as the season progresses! Next up for the nordic contingent is US Nationals in Houghton, MI. But first, we will all head home to our respective hometowns for some holiday festivities and family!