Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lost in the Woods by Matt Liebsch

Matt Liebsch is a member of the CXC Elite cross country ski team and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is an Olympic hopeful and had a very successful 2009 season… 3rd Place at US Nationals, Mora Vasaloppet winner and American Birkebeiner Champion. When Matt is not training and racing he is helping out at Gear West or spending time with his wife and one-year-old son.

Hi All,

I am the newest addition to the staff at Gear West so feel free to drop me a line or let me know if you would like to see any writing on a specific subject. Contact me at Liebsch@gearwest.com.

This past weekend included my annual participation in the Trail Mix 50k Team relay. I have raced with my team, the Nordic Ninjas, for the past two years. Each year the Nordic Ninjas manage to win the overall team event. This happens for two reasons. One, we are all decent runners. Two and probably more important, all the really fast runners pair up with some less speedy folks or do the individual events.

This year I was a little more prepared than last year and had about 30 miles on my legs since the ski season ended. Last year I went out conservative and felt good for my 8 miles but this year my plan was to hang onto the lead for as along as possible. This leader was the speedy Gear West runner, Brooks Grossinger. By 2 miles into the race my eyes were already rolling into the back of my head… did I mention Brooks beat me by over 3 minutes last year! About the time I was ready to blow up Brooks slowed way down and stopped. We looked around and realized we had missed a turn. After standing around and trying to decide what next, a runner from behind passed by and yelled "didn’t you hear this is an orienteering race?" About 15-20 of us followed him as we bushwhacked through the woods and we eventually found our way back to the racecourse.

Once back on course the race finished well. Every year I forget how sore I can get after my first running race. Yesterday I couldn't move and today I skipped my normal bike ride into work. Maybe next year I'll learn and do a few running intervals before I jump into racing!