FALUN, Sweden — After striving for years, Matt Gelso made his first World Championships team this season, traveling with the U.S. Ski Team to Falun.
The Truckee, Calif., native, who nows skis for Sun Valley, placed 54th in the 30 k skiathlon at the beginning of the Championships. He started Sunday’s 50 k classic mass start to provide the other bookend, but was disappointed to have to drop out after 22 k.
“I was feeling completely spent,” Gelso wrote in an email. “From the beginning of the race I was struggling and once I came off the main pack I went backwards quickly. I dropped the race because of how bad I felt and where I was. Not even halfway through the race and I was feeling really bad and way out the back. It was a hard course and really hard conditions and I had nothing in the tank to keep skiing, let alone race.”
Conditions were soft, slow, and sloppy, with the leaders taking 15 more minutes to finish the 50 k than they had in sunny Italy two years ago.
It was a bad day to have a bad day.
“Today was the kind of day that is really hard even when you feel good and your fitness is top notch,” Gelso wrote. “When you are feeling horrible and really struggling it is borderline impossible. I’m not proud of what I did today, but it is what it is and I made the right call.”