Let me start this by noting that even while having fun and getting psyched about racing, I didn’t forget to support “Movember”. Because it’s not a good time unless you can make fun of yourself with a mustache, while promoting a good cause, on national television. Right?
Our week of training and getting used to the time change in Beitostolen was absolutely awesome! We celebrated Sadie and Oleg’s birthday, and Rosie and I had fun decorating our apartment with paper snowflakes. I don’t think I’d cut one of those in years, but a little arts and crafts time sure makes the living situation more like home.
The FIS races over the weekend were a great chance to put a bib on and get the feeling of racing back once again. While I was still doing a fair amount of training – since it’s such a long season, I don’t want to peak too early! – I was really happy with how my races ended up. I identified a lot of things to work on (as always) but there were things that went really well, too. Result-wise, I finished 13th in the classic and in the sprint I qualified 8th and finished 17th.
The 10km classic was cool because this is a technique I’ve been putting a lot of work into over the summer, and I think it’s starting to pay off. While I still have work to do on actually gliding more instead of bouncing up and down on my skis, I am getting better at relaxing and using a more powerful kick. And while I can improve on my race pacing and be patient while my race shape comes around, I am happy with where my head’s at during the race.
The skate sprint was a little different, because it’s one of the shortest courses I think we do all year! It was only 1.1 km, and went very fast (the qualifier took me about 2:14). It’s definitely not the course best suited to me, but that’s good because it showed me what I need to work on. It was a challenge for me to get into that top gear so quickly, and in the quarterfinal round I felt like I was just getting going in the finishing lanes – I wish I had more room to keep skiing! I lunged at the line but finished 4th in my heat and so didn’t advance to the next round. So while I need to work on my fastest-twitch muscles, I am happy with how I started the round with more confidence than last year, getting out of the gate quicker and holding my line. I am definitely scared of being stepped on in sprint heats, probably because I have been elbowed and knocked over more than once in the past. But that comes with the adrenaline of sprinting, and it’s something I’ve been working on: being able to hold my own. And of course, Kikksie picked up right where she left off, winning the sprint in style. So, like most every weekend on the World Cup, someone on the team is putting up a great result for us all to celebrate!
Results from the 10km classic can be found here: http://www.beitoworldcup.com//2013/resultatlister/langrenn/2211/Women%2010K%20results.pdf
And the skate sprint brackets: http://www.beitoworldcup.com//2013/resultatlister/langrenn/2411/Women%20Sprint%20results.pdf
After the skate sprint, we cleaned up our condo…and wow, it’s just amazing how fast 5 months of stuff can spread all over the place! We managed to somehow wrangle it all into the cargo van. It was such a tight fit, you couldn’t have squeezed a piece of paper in between the bags and the ceiling. That’s some real-life Tetris skills, people. It was a really beautiful drive to the Oslo airport area, Gardermoen. We flew on Monday from Oslo to Helsinki, from Helsinki to Rovaniemi (official home of Santa Claus, woot woot!) and then drove over to Ruka, Finland. This is the less glamorous side of the life we live – always on the move, traveling every weekend and continuously adjusting to new time zones. It’s worth it, though!
We are living in these awesome cabins, about 100 meters from the race course. One of the best parts of living here is that 1.) we have laundry. It’s all about the little details. and 2.) we have saunas here! It can get wicked cold when the wind picks up, and Kuusamo is infamous for giving us frostbite.
Technically, I think they call this the Kuusamo World Cups, but the town we live and race in is actually called Ruka. Which of course reminds me of my teammate Erika Flowers, because that’s her nickname! I really miss my SMS teammates, but luckily the snow out in West Yellowstone is supposed to be rockin right now, so I know they’re probably happy and getting great training in.
I’m looking forward to this weekend’s World Cup opening races; the Ruka triple! It’s a mini-tour, and starts with a classic sprint, then a 5km individual classic, and ends with a pursuit-start 10km freestyle. Wish us luck!