March 15th, 2013
The Drammen city sprint is always one of my favorite world cups of the year so it was a real bummer to have crashed out on Wednesday. Sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do with a crash like that, I could waste my time getting angry at the Swedish dude who put a pole through my ski, but it’s usually better to just move on and looked toward the next sprint in Stockholm. Drammen and Stockholm are some of the most exciting sprints of the year so I’m pretty stoked to get back into the good times of the spring world cup tour. This time of year is a lot of fun for me and team because all the venues are epic and with all the racing going on in the next two weeks there’s non stop action.
After the sprint day in Drammen we moved hotel up the hill to Holmenkollen. Even though Olso is a venue we hit year after year its always exciting to get back to the home of xc skiing and ski around all the sweet trails around here.
Here’s a view of the fjords near our hotel in Fornabu. Norway in March is a great place to spend the last few weeks of the world cup season.
For the last few days we have been training around the Holmenkollen trails while people get ready for the 30′s and 50′s of the weekend. Yesterday Dakota and I went for a kick ass ski around the old Holmenkollen course which is a winding 16k loop that overlooks Oslo. The old course is too narrow to hold the mass start races of today but it really is one of the coolest skis we do. Perfectly groomed tracks with a lot of tough uphills. Out on course you always run into big groups of school groups and kids who are out skiing and you realize why Norway is so good at developing skiers.
Here a group of 7-8 year olds stop for a snack after skiing out on the Holmenkollen trails.
Already out on the race loop for the 30 and 50ks there are people setting up tents for the weekend. Every year the course is packed 5 deep even on the farthest points of the loop. Apparently this year they have cut the cost of stadium seating tickets in half so they are expecting some of the biggest crowds ever.
Skiing is obviously big in a country where you see this. The king of Norway watches all the races here at Holmenkollen and personally greets all the winners at the finish line.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to ski with some of the best juniors from the Oslo area. They were all preparing for a club relay race that takes place before the world cups here every year. We were hooked up with this team because a few of the skiers from this club flew to the US to compete at junior nationals and the coach also helps a few US juniors come over to ski at Norwegian nationals every year. We skied around the trails and did a few sprints together in the stadium
Some of these 15-16 year olds were getting ready to race the birkebiner this weekend… a 50k+ race for the first time. I think it would be cool to see some US juniors take on some big races like that at a young age.
After the weekend here Kikkan and I are staying over to race a stadium sprint in Oslo. It’s a really sweet 100 and 500 meter event that they put on each year in the Bislett track stadium. It’s usually packed with spectators and is aired on live TV here and it’s going to be cool to battle it out in some short sprints. From here we will fly to Stockholm on wednesday and get ready for the start of the world cup final mini tour!