Arriving in Anchorage, the CXC Midwest JO Team had anticipated the poorer snow conditions that this area has experienced during this season, so the snow conditions were not a great shock to us. The snow is old and transformed many times over and the base is just hanging on each day. The race organization has been making a heroic effort in shoveling, hauling snow, and adjusting courses. The sprint course has been changed several times and at this point it looks like a 1.2km race that cannot use the main stadium due to the ice & water accumulation.
The Midwest athletes have prepared for these conditions and are here to race fast on whatever the course may be. The individual athletes and coaches spent this morning reviewing the classic sprint course and are currently deciding whether to double pole on skate skis or traditionally stride on classic equipment. With conditions changing by the minute based on sun exposure, the decision will be tough and a crucial one. The Midwest coaches have spent the majority of the day testing skis and numerous waxes, in addition to waxing over 100 pairs of skis for the Monday races.
The athletes have spent the last couple of days both adjusting to the time change, and limited amount of training to familiarize themselves with the Kincaid Park trails, which offer a very challenging and scenic trail system overlooking mountain ranges and Anchorage Bay. Today the athletes attended the afternoon opening ceremonies and parade of athletes in downtown Anchorage. A total of over 400 of the best Junior Nordic racers in the country are now gathered in Alaska to compete and enjoy a very exciting week.