Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lahti Podium!

We're back in Norway for the 3rd time this year and this time we're in Oslo! Our team tends to consume a disgusting (but awesome) amount of brown cheese each time we're in Norway, so it's probably a good thing that we've had a three month break since the last time we were here. Tomorrow we have the Drammen city sprints and then this weekend we have the 30k and 50k races at Holmenkollen. I raced Drammen for the first time last year and it was definitely one of the coolest racing atmospheres I've ever seen. There are a ton of Norwegian fans who love skiing, there is a stage set up with bands playing all day, and it has the city feel with a race course plopped down in the middle of it. This is also the first classic sprint we've done since right before Christmas, so even though I've been enjoying all of skate sprints we've been doing, it will be fun to throw on some classic boards and see how fast we can make those go!
Our brown cheese collection from back in November
So back to last weekend in Lahti...I got my first World Cup podium AND Kikkan won! It was the first time two US women had ever been on the podium together and the last time two Americans had ever shared a podium was when my Uncle Tim Caldwell and Bill Koch were 2nd and 3rd back in 1983. So that was pretty cool :). The course in Lahti is pretty flat and we were skiing through some deep sugar last weekend because of the warm temperatures and manmade snow. I felt okay in my qualifier, but I felt like I skied it a little frantically and the key to success that day was going to be relaxing and trying to float over the sugar instead of trying to fight through it. I really like tactical sprint races and between the narrow course, soft conditions, and turns and bumps on this course, it ended up being pretty tactical. Two of the fastest skiers in both my semi and my final ended up falling, which made things a little easier for me, but that's also part of sprint racing. I definitely didn't expect to find myself on the podium that day, especially after qualifying in 25th, but it was such a cool feeling. I also won one of the first lunges I've ever won and I'm not sure where that came from, but it made me very glad that I have been practicing lunges so much with my coaches and teammates. We weren't sure who had won the lunge at the finish and Kikkan was actually the one to break the news to me that I had gotten third place! I couldn't believe it and every photo I've seen of myself from those moments after she told me, I have a huge smile of disbelief on my face. It's actually a little embarrassing. I didn't know I could open my mouth like that!
Salomon photo
Thank you everyone for all the support. Our techs and coaches worked their butts off to get us some of the fastest skis out there that day and it was so nice to have to have Matt at the start and finish of each heat knowing exactly how to calm me down and get me psyched up at all the right times. It was also an incredible feeling to be sharing the podium with Kikkan. She's someone I've looked up to for as long as I can remember and she still is, but it's also pretty cool that now in addition to calling her my idol, she's my teammate and friend. I had obviously never been on the podium before and had no idea what to do, so I asked her if I could just follow her everywhere as soon as we left the finish pen and she happily showed me the ropes. Here are some photos from the day:
Katja Visnar (2nd), Kik (1st), and me (3rd)
Fischer Photo

Some of us went to the Bjorn Daehlie headquarters when we arrived in Oslo yesterday. They gave us these race suits to test out the material and Kikkan and I tried to convince the team that this was the new suit design for next year. Don't worry, it's not, but the suits do feel good! (Holly photo)

Simi, Erik, and Sylvan wore relay socks to dinner the night after our race. Very cute. (Holly photo)

When I came back to my room, my teammates had decorated it with balloons and a new outfit for Sleepy Bunny. 

It's not actually my birthday, but balloons are always welcome!

I got to pop my first bottle of champagne and it took me about five minutes to figure it out, but Kik decorated the cork for me to keep after.

The lunge! I have a tendency to try to lunge with my nose, which is far from ideal, but I somehow managed to get this one right!

Our last night in Lahti we went out for a delicious Italian dinner. Noah's girlfriend, Emelia, was over visiting and she brought girl scout cookies from home. We were all PSYCHED, especially Liz!

Assar captured this series of photos at the finish line when Kik broke the news to me that I had gotten 3rd..

Matt was there at the start and finish talking me through it all and keeping me calm. 
I'm really looking forward to the next couple weeks of racing. After this week in Norway, we had to Falun, Sweden for World Cup finals. Our European adventure is quickly coming to a close and it's been an amazing year, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really, really excited to get home and see my family in 12 days after 4 months on the road!


  1. congrats! Our 6th grade class in Seattle has been following the women's team since Sept. and they are PYSCHED for you (never stop trying- way to lead by example!). We've learned a lot about cooperation and collaboration from how your group supports and encourages each other, and from reading Holly's recent blogs. Now if we could only get checkpoint times so we can chart rates! (the math never stops...)

  2. Ranked 8th in the world and solid 3 US in the red group - that is pretty darn AWESOME!