We traveled across the ocean, trained in a new place, raced in the hot sun and reconnected with our World Cup friends. Without a doubt, the trip to Norway was worth the travel and for me it was exciting as well as motivating. Everyone on our team had different reasons for coming to race in Toppidrettsveka; to gauge their fitness level, to test out their technique gains, to experience summer roller ski racing for the first time, or to see a new place. For me, I was looking to shake things up a bit this summer and get outside of my little comfort bubble.
I feel like I was able to mix up my training and stay excited and motivated by getting to see some new places this summer and try new things. New Zealand was such a thrill, getting to experience a beautiful country and it’s people and ski on real winter-like snow for 2.5 weeks in the summer. Norway was a chance to race in the summer against some of the best athletes in the world and learn what I need to keep working on. I also loved seeing the country without the looming stress of a World Cup race coming up. It’s so different, traveling and being all touristy when you don’t have to worry about being tired from walking around all day or are gearing up for a big race. Of course, we wanted to race hard and represent our team well in Toppidretts, but we also trained our usual load before the races and trained through them.
The first day of the mini-tour was really big for me. It was an uphill running race in the late morning, beginning at 10am, and then just 4.5 hours later we began the qualifying rounds for a classic sprint. The turnaround time was fast and it was a lot of intensity all in one day!
I was super pumped to qualify in the classic sprint – something I have not yet done on the World Cup! However, I’ll be honest with you – head to head sprint racing on pavement definitely qualified as being out of my little comfort bubble. I guess I thought that since asphalt isn’t very forgiving, people would be a little more chill and spread out, just to be super safe. I was so wrong! It was pedal to the metal from the get-go, and I learned that while I’ve gotten better at holding my line on snow, I’m a total wimp on roller ski cornering. Luckily I learned to get comfortable skiing in a pack by the final day, as we were coming down some pretty good hills in Trondheim in a big pack of girls and I was no longer scared that I’d go down on the corners.
The skiathlon day in Knyken was really exciting with all the spectators and a helicopter and motorcycle filming the race. I personally struggled quite a bit with the hot sun and heat, and I wasn’t hydrated enough, but it was definitely a cool experience to be racing on a roller ski track on standardized wheels!
The last day in Trondheim was the most exciting for me. Check this out…they laid down fresh pavement over the cobblestoned streets just for the race, then ripped the pavement up later that night. Only in Norway. The crowds were psyched and there was 50,000 people there, so pretty much the entire loop was lined with people! I was also happy with my racing effort, making up some time and places to finish 10th overall. It was a hard tour, racing 4 times in just 3 days but it was different and new and I loved it!
Again, a huge thanks goes out to the Toppidrettsveka organizers for helping us set up our training camp beforehand and giving us cars to use, lodging and food for the trip! We would not have been able to come race without their help. We were also very fortunate to have a Physical Therapist with us for the camp! Thanks to Lori Mock for her hard work and awesome attitude on the road.
A few other things I liked about being in Norway – the roads were awesome for roller skiing, and a few times we had to stop to let the cows pass. It was pretty funny to all of us being back home I haven’t ever had to stop my ski for a herd of cattle to cross the road! We also had some help from Conor Bolger our last day in Trondheim. He found us some sweet running paths and took us on our last bog jog of the trip, and later got us into the top training center in the city to do strength. It was a great ending to a fun trip!
I also brought back several bricks of brown cheese. We looooooove that stuff, and it’s a hot commodity back home. I admit that I may have gotten slightly carried away.