Tuesday, January 29, 2013

U23s

We had a busy week in Liberec at U23s that finished up on Sunday with the Junior relay. After a long travel day yesterday, some of us continued on to the Scando Cups in Madona, Latvia. U23s was an exciting week of racing that started off with the classic sprint. After some impressive results from our juniors the previous day, the U23s were ready for our turn in the classic sprint. I was really happy with how my day unfolded. I qualified 5th in the prelim and ended up 9th on the day. It was my first time advancing past the quarter finals and it was encouraging to be skiing with some girls who I know are World Cup regulars. Erik Bjornsen also had a great day ending up 10th and we had a lot of people who were very close to advancing into the heats!

Watching the finals with Annie

Prelim

Quarter final heat

Top 10s!
The next race for the U23 women was a 10k skate. We did three laps of a 3.3k loop and the course was pretty rolling until one huge hill at the end of the lap. I felt great my first lap and faded a little for my second and third lap but was overall very happy with how I felt and my result! I also took an unfortunate crash on my last lap that was 100% my own fault but that's part of ski racing. I finished 17th that day, which was my first top 20 in a distance race at a World Juniors. Caitlin and Erik had great days, both placing in the Top 15!

10k skate

Erik and Sam in the 15k skate with Skyler being an awesome cheerleader!
The last race for the U23 women was a 15k skiathalon. I was really excited for this race because I love mass starts and think skiathalons are neat races because it's the only time you get to skate and classic race in the same day! The pace started out really fast and the girls were very aggressive. I wasn't expecting it to be that hard to get into good position because the group of U23s wasn't huge, but it was. Part way through the second lap, Caitlin and I had gotten ourselves into pretty good position at the back of the lead pack but a Russian girl tried to ski directly through everyone and ended up falling in front of me, taking me down with her. It wasn't a bad fall but I was briefly disconnected from the pack and after that I got pretty tired out. I took another little crash in the exchange zone because I was so eager to start skating. The skate portion was much less of a disaster but it was hard to get back into the race and find that extra gear. Even though I was pretty disappointed with how the day ended up, I learned a lot and hope I got my falls for the year out of the way this week! Caitlin and Erik both had great days again, ending up in the top 20 and the Annie's both skied well too - I was able to ski with each of them a little at different parts of the race!

Start of the Skiatholon

Erik B

Caitlin leading me
Sunday was the junior relay day and it was fun to be able to get out and cheer them on! Early Monday morning we took a shuttle to Prague and flew to Latvia. We got in last night and we're staying in these awesome little rustic cabins that are on the ski trails. It should be a very relaxing week with great skiing right out the door. Unfortunately there have been some sicknesses going around the US team and I'm currently fighting one of them but hopefully everyone will be healthy and skiing soon before we start racing again in just over a week!

Au revoir Hotel Babylon

Cheering and face paint on relay day

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