Here’s a little update on what’s going on – there’s definitely been some awesome times in Poland, and some rough travel getting to Turkey!
Poland was really fun – the fans there were nuts over Kowalczyk, and were singing and hiking around the course to cover all the tough hills, which was super cool. Sprint day saw some gutsy racing by Kikkan and Devon – Kikkan fell in the final, but charged ahead, made up lost ground and still placed 3rd! Devon won the men’s race, blasting by a Russian who had started to celebrate, thinking he’d won. Lesson of the day? Nothing is ever set in stone. The sprint was okay for me – I qualified well in 12th place but my body felt super tired in the heats and I didn’t ski the final corner well, getting boxed in and losing my momentum. Sadly, that was the last skate sprint of the year, so I’ll have to wait a while before trying it again, but this year I feel like I learned so much! Every single race has been a different experience and chance to figure out a way to get faster on the World Cup.
I didn’t race the 10km classic the next day, opting to cheer instead since the day after I’d be traveling all day to Turkey and didn’t want to get super tired out right before U23’s. So Chandra and I cheered as Kikkan placed 8th and Ida skied into her first distance points with a 26th place! That was really cool to see, and the next day some of our athletes entered the World Uphill competition, which isn’t a World Cup event but is super tough; 4km up and 4km down on a super sketchy downhill (so I’m told – I never got to see the course, and our athletes didn’t get to preview it either!) Liz got 3rd, Chandra placed 9th, Tad got 6th and Newell finished 12th. Amazing efforts all round!
So now you’re probably wondering what the “downs” are about, after Poland was clearly super inspiring with North America kicking butt right and left. Here it is: I made it to Turkey, but not all in one piece…I started getting sick on the flight over, which was pretty much the one thing I was scared of. I was super dizzy and couldn’t even walk straight down the plane aisle, and you don’t want any more details than that. But 24 hours later I started to feel better and I went outside for the first time today. And Turkey is absolutely beautiful! Our hotel is very nice and is right at the bottom of a mountain so I’ve been watching alpine skiers fly through powder (and crash) while recovering.
And while I’m super bummed at not being able to race the sprint (and most likely having to sit out the 10km classic as well), since I was really gunning for a medal this year…this stuff happens! Travel, getting sick and moving on with it is just a part of life as an athlete. And though it sucks, there’s nothing I can do except get better and hope to race by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team, and once I get a chance to get to the venue I’ll definitely put up pictures!