Ok, kidding, we’re not living on a rock. It’s a mountain! But still, if you’re not into traveling up and down every day, there’s a lot of living in-house. I wish I could say the pictures I have of camp life are wicked exciting, but mostely everything here is the same as your usual venue. Plus more living space, minus some freedom with credential checkpoints, plus good internet, minus slush getting in my shoes, plus a boot dryer in the house, and I’m also going to call the snowmobile rides a plus when the driver is pumped about going fast 🙂
Yesterday we had our first race here with a skate sprint. The team had a great day on the whole – the wax techs nailed it, Holly laid down her fastest-ever qualifying time, Sadie also qualified like a boss, Liz was only a second out of qualifying on a fast and tight course, Kikkan won (Suprise!), Ida made the final, and at the end of the day the US put 7 athletes in the top 21. Sweet as!
And me? Truthfully, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the day. I felt great, had good energy and my fitness was right where I wanted it to be, but I made a big mistake in the rounds. I had a bad start and right out of the gate got a pole tangled with another skier, making my first 10 seconds rather slow. From there on a short course that only had fast (skied-in) snow on the best-line, getting around people was really tough and I wasn’t able to pass. I ended up 14th on the day but felt like I had so much left to give, and never got the chance. So yes, I was disappointed, but I got what I came here for; I learned the course, I now know exactly what I need to improve on to have a much better race next year, and I still gave my best effort, so I have no regrets.
This afternoon was the 15km skiathalon, and I was really excited about skiing all the trails to get a feel for how the course worked out. The classic portion was rolling, going up and over both sides of a ridge that made up the highest elevation of the course. The skate trails are some of the harder trails to ski, since the course bombs straight down to the lowest point of the course and then climbs all the way back up to the stadium, with some steep pitches thrown in.
And boy, was it hard! It was dumping snow for the fourth day straight so the course slowed down so much they had to postpone the start of the men’s race since the women were still racing! I had an ok race – despite my best efforts, my body never got into that good-ready-to-go feeling, and I made some poor choices while picking the race skis. However, there was plenty to be psyched about with Liz recording a career best 8th place, and Sadie skiing really strong out there!
Because World Champs are coming up soon, and I want to keep my training load the best I can and stay healthy through travel, my coach and I decided to skip the classic team sprint tomorrow. It’s hard for me to not race since I always want to start, but this time of year it’s important for me to focus on the big picture! I guess it’s good practice since I plan to be racing for a looooong time to come and definitely won’t be able to start every time.
All in all, I think the whole team will be coming away from this trip having learned a lot, gained some experience, and will be better prepared for the Olympics when we come back next year.
This may seem random, but something about the World Cup that I think is pretty fun is the athlete training bibs. The two days before a race, to be allowed on course you need to have your bib on. The top 30 in the world from last year’s rankings get their names printed on their bibs, but the rest of us get to write whatever on them. Ok, I guess there are a few things you probably shouldn’t write, but most people put their country, name, something funny or a picture. Maybe it’s a little lame that I get excited about that kind of thing…but this is my blog and I get to post what I want!