Lutsen, you are one magical place. You take kids starting in the 50s, and 60s, let them kick my ass (bib 3) out of flip, (31st), and have them score some of the best races of their lives. I wish I could say I wasn’t trying, but in truth, I brought the focus and intensity I would to an Olympic run, and admirably/depressingly, I wrestled my way to a hard fought 28th place.
I was left to wallow/trying to sell my skis in the parking lot, which inevitably reminded me of the steepest grade on the race hill, so I packed it in and headed home.
I shook my fist in fury/defeat at you as I drove away with my ego sorely bruised, and a promise on my lips to never, ever, return to such a forsaking place of my career.
More racers however were the opposite. They departed the famous Lutsen with a smile lighting up their faces, a career best (or four) under their belts, and are already looking into flights to come back at the end of next season.
To them I say… Hell. Yes. Congrats, and keep that momentum going into next season. You have the points, now gather that confidence and back them up.
To all the naysayers out there, chew on this.
Many words have been used to describe this hill and these races, the least of which being, “give away”. Honestly, it would be easy for me to name them the same; it would certainly save me some face. But the truth is that it is a generalization that is wholly inaccurate.
“Give away,” seems to insinuate that any of the top seeded skiers were purposefully slowing down to give the back of the packers a better shot at scoring. Refer to paragraph one as to my commitment to these races, and I can assure you that my fellow top seeded skiers shared the same dedication. Honestly, I wish bib 62 had slowed down for me! God dammit, I needed to score! Come on man…
Logan Mackie, (bib 62) had other intentions than helping this guy out though. Logan, whom previously had a world rank of 1,683 with a F.I.S GS point profile of 54, raced to finish 11th and 16th at the GS races. This will drop his points into the 20s and lower his WR by about 1,200.
Colin Martens starting 57th finished 10th and 13th respectively in the same two races, dropping him from 50 points, to 28 in just two races. That’s incredibly sick.
I realize some of these words are redolent of The Race of Dreams, but I said it then, and I will say it again. It is always deserved. Logan and Colin didn’t beat me because I was lax with my focus. They kicked my ass because they skied that hill a hell of a lot better than me, and many others.
Lutsen takes a different set of skills to be fast. It is not the usual steep, anything goes sort of hill. I can make sizeable mistakes on a hill like Main Street at Stowe Mountain, because it is a steep, technical hill where you can make up time at the next roll over. Lutsen however, offers no quarter when it comes to mistakes. If you don’t know how to be subtle with pressure and don’t know exactly where to put that pressure, you will be bleeding time the whole way down.
Some people understand these subtle nuances, and others are masters at it. It is those masters of this uniquely difficult terrain that prevailed last week and capitalized on what we were all striving for.
Hats off guys, and goodbye forever, Lutsen.