Yesterday’s skate sprint in Lahti was the coolest races of the season so far for me. I’ve always like Lahti… it’s not a huge town but I have to say the Finns now whats up. Lahti is one of the only places in the world that you can walk down the sidewalk at 11 a.m. on a weekday and see a guy zig zaging down the street with a bottle in his hand. These Finns know how to throw down. Yesterday when I was walking home I saw one person throw up and another peeing on a building all in the same block. It was rad. But most of all Finns get fired up for Nordic sports. In Lahti ski jumping and xc skiing are huge. This weekend marked like the 83rd Lahti ski games so the greats of our sport have been battling it out in the big cement Lahti stadium for quite a long time.
when I started warming up for Saturday’s sprint I knew it was going to be a good day. The past few weeks have been a grind out here on the world cup. Things just hadn’t been going my way the past few sprints… culminating with last weekends frustrating fall in the qualifier. After each disappointing result I was left wondering what had happened and what had gone wrong. Since the Canadian word cups I’ve felt like my fitness and speed had been improving each week but for one reason or another I continued to slid down the results page. This can be a tough thing for an athlete.
So going into Saturday I knew I had something to prove to myself and that I needed to go all out. At 1.4k Lahti is one of the longest sprints we do all year and even though there are two good uphills on the course there’s still a lot of V2. It’s a fun course… with a steep little bridge to cross over and some sharp corners. Being able to change speeds really quickly was an important tactic during the heats. In my first quaterfinal heat I took advantage of the last steep uphill corner with a little bit of a stop and go. I saw it work out well for Kikkan in her heat to I though I’d give it a shot too. In the final there was a lot of contact. A lot of skis and shoulders being thrown around. I tried to make a little bit of a sneaky pass on Lind early on after the first up hill and he gave me a full on stare down and pole whack. It’s pretty funny to watch on the video. We’re good friends so there were no hard feelings after the race.. we had a good laugh about it.
It was amazing to see the Kikkan and the Canadians do so well yesterday too. Thats huge for Chandra to get her second win of the season. 4 North Americans in the final…. we should do this more often! Sorry I wasn’t able to get any pics. We’re flying out tomorrow for Oslo so check back to see how things are going in Drammen. It’s usually one of the gnarliest sprints of the year.