March 4th, 2013
well it’s been a pretty busy two weeks of racing here in Italy and because of that it’s been hard to get any blog updates in, but yesterday the team finally wrapped up what was a very successful World Champs. For me the Sprint day was a little bit of a waxing disaster, but despite not having the best day these world champs in Val De Fiemme were a memorable one. here are a few pics that capture the highlights from the past 2 weeks.
The first Championships that I ever competed in were here in 2003. At that time I was a junior and it was my first year on the US development team, but coming back here to compete at Worlds 10 years later was a sweet experience. Since then I’ve made tons of friends on the team and among the different nordic sports which is always one of the coolest things about competing at the Major Championships. In 2003 I new almost nobody on the team… but this time around it felt like one big family. it’s all about cheering on your teammates in Jumping, and Noco, and coming together as one big team.
Sarah and the ski jumper girls kicked things off in a big way by winning gold on the second day of the Championships. Paulo, the womens ski jumping coach, is from Pradazzo which is the town we are staying in and the town where the ski jumps are located. Paulo and the ski jumper girls have become big celebrities here in town and it has been cool to see so much support for the US in a foreign country.
Jessie and Kikkan kept the momentum rolling just a few days later winning the team sprint. They were considered one of the favorites going into the event and they both skied amazingly well and handled the pressure perfectly to win in a big way. That same afternoon the Nordic combined relay won a Bronze medal proving that it’s all about teammates pushing each other. It’s pretty cool looking at the level of the US Ski team now compared to where we were 10 years ago.
Although in Italy we don’t always see huge crowd, I was impressed with the number of spectators that came out some days. Here is a view of the crowd on our mens relay day. I was for sure nervous having to lead off the distance relay but scramble legs are always a lot of fun and something I’ve tried to improve on over the year. Having not done a distance race in a few weeks before this relay the pressure was definitely on but I has happy to have felt strong and skied with the leaders with the 5th fastest time to tag bird. Everybody on the team pushed as hard as they could including a great leg by Tad where he caught the lead pack. Although we weren’t in the hunt for the podium it was still a very successful day for us.
The Relay days are always followed by the 30 and 50k races. With classic ski exchanges in both those races a lot of the wax staff and coaches were busy preparing skies even during the race. This means athletes like us are forced to go on course with spare poles and feeds and stuff. As you can see we were obviously working very hard. but on and 8.5K loop there’s not a ton of action.
All the courses were very tough here with some steep climbs. Once the weather turned warm and the snow slowed down a little bit it made the long distance races even harder. Here are the lead girls during the 30k striding up into the stadium.
Tomorrow the team and I are packing everything up here in Italy and driving to Munich for the night. From here on out the schedule of the world cup is very busy but it’s also one of the most fun times of year. The ‘spring scando tour’ is always filled with good times and a ton of racing which makes the last two-three weeks of the season go by very quickly. Now that I’m back on the World Cup schedule it should be a lot easier to get some updates in so check back for more updates from the road. Every World Cup points counts for a lot during this time of the season so we will be fighting hard through the final mini tour in Falun.
On wednesday we will be flying to one of my favorite venues, Lahti Finland, for a skate sprint and distance classic races on the weekend.