Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Elspeth's 2021-2022 Season Recap

Despite doing a record number of races in March (the Yellowstone Rendezvous, Mora’s Last Chance, and the Denim Derby) and skiing throughout the month, those pictures of pristine trails north of me in April still left me drooling. An April ski trip wasn’t in the cards for us this year, but makes me know I still love skiing. 


I won best-dressed female at the Denim Derby with these overalls I got back in 9th grade.

Just like last year, I’m going to put some thoughts in bullets.

  • I love that despite my advancing age, I hold out belief that I can get faster! I’m still convinced I can find a higher gear to tap into. I’m getting older though, so I’d better find it soon.

  • But what do I have to do to get faster? I do my strength, have people plenty faster than me to chase at Vakava…can I just stay up with Bonnie and Laura? Should I do different strength, different intervals?

  • Last October I V-2’d the ENTIRE Coulee Hill in Afton. Sure, it wasn't pretty BUT I stayed ahead of people on the steeper part I’m no match for with V-1. Despite this, I couldn’t qualify for the Elite Skate Wave at the Birkie in 2020. Alas, sometimes we can work so hard and still not achieve our dreams.
  • The elevation (in gray) and heart rate (in red) profile from my Afton Rollerski where I V-2'd the Coulee Hill in the middle of the ski (where the heart rate spikes).


  • I don’t like racing much and struggled heading into City and Mora. When there’s not much competition and I win or get a podium it just seems easier but competition…

  • Should I just embrace racing by myself? I love this way more than skiing in packs but I equate skiing in packs with being faster. But I don’t like that someone is going to win and lose. Why does this feel so black and white- that there’s a winner and a loser? Why can’t I just see it as a race?
  • I elected to not look at the results from my last two races. This felt kind of good. Maybe I’ll do it more (although I might miss out on some awards:)
  • I love Mora. Double pole course. The only other course I’ve found that compares is The Great Bear Chase…I’m gonna give it a couple year hiatus but then I’ll be back.
  • I don’t fully appreciate just what my body can do compared to others my age with minimal soreness and fatigue. It’s not normal to run to and from work, 5 miles each way. It’s not normal to classic race the Mora Vasaloppet and not be sore the next day and run 5 miles. My body is amazing and so well trained.
  • Wow, Mora celebrated 50 years but 2014, eight years ago, was their last point-to-point race. It’s the end of an era. While I appreciate the easy logistics and good course conditions, there’s just something so epic (and now nostalgic) about the point-to-point race. I feel incredibly grateful that I got to do it. 
    An oldy but goody. The start of the Mora Vasaloppet in 2006. That's me in the old U of M spandex on the right. Photo: Skinnyski

I looked back on last year’s bullets with many similar themes- I want to be faster, I care too much about my results, and ultimately I enjoy the process of getting/staying fast. But this year I’ve come around to some of the awe of what my body can do and the ski race legacy.

I find it’s important to be well balanced (have other interests/work aside from only skiing), appreciate what is in my control (like V-2ing the Coulee Hill), and enjoy the daily workouts (I often do- can’t say I always love the hill bounding or classic ski intervals in the moment- but I always feel better afterwards).

In regard to other interests, here's the frame I made for my niece with three calendar prints.

And one for my nephew. Yes, that's ski waxing on the left.

The streets are getting cleaned so time to break out the rollerskis!

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