Whew! US Nationals…what a crazy, busy week! We finished up on Sunday with the classic sprint. I felt a little bit like a wind-up doll that was slowly powering down…but thanks to the coaches (and their caffeine!), I had one last race in me. Sometimes everything comes together on race day and you’re feeling ready to rock…and sometimes, you’re tired and sore and mentally anywhere BUT the race course. However, those are the days when you get to exercise your mental toughness and just power through it. So as the coaches worked to make my skis as fast as possible, I worked on getting psyched about racing one last time!
After seeing how darn important tactics were in the skate sprint, I wanted to make sure to race a smart race in the rounds. I also worked with Gus and Cork to find that fine line between skis slick enough to fly down the final hill, but also grippy enough to get me up and over the two kickers on the course. I think we found a pretty good mix; in the A final, I definitely had to herringbone but was able to get into 3rd place, and after drafting on the downhill I had 2nd place locked in. I’m super happy with the result – Dasha totally skied away from the field and won by a ton, which is cool to see since she’ll be running on fast legs in the World Cups! It was such a privilege to race all week with such talented athletes, and I’m extremely grateful to the race organizers for pulling together enough snow to make it happen. Also, CXC women grabbed 8 out of 12 possible podium spots – what a week! Congrats to the team, I’m super proud!
After the races, I stayed at the Kaeding’s house for a couple days in Vermont. They were super gracious, welcoming hosts and it was great to be able to stay with them! I flew from Burlington to Italy (NOT a direct flight!) and arrived last night in Milano.
And people…ITALY IS SO FREAKING COOL! The hotel we’re staying at has awesome food and great rooms, and a bunch of other countries are staying here too, though I’m not sure which ones yet. I slept like the dead last night after almost 24 hours of travel, and when I woke up it took me a while to figure out what country I was in! Today we get to go check out the city sprint course, and I will be taking about a million pictures so check back later to see what Milano looks like!