Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Eastern Europe

After a bit of a slow start to the season, the US team seems to be hitting a high note at just the right time. It's never easy to start the season out a little slowly, but we know our biggest competitions are in late February and if racing a little slower in November means racing a little faster for World Champs, it's usually worth it. 
Each year the World Cup is held in Estonia, they host a tech relay where the ski technicians from each team compete in a sprint relay. Our team consisted of Oleg, Matt, and JP and we placed 11th out of 11 teams. Our goal was a top 12, so it was a huge success and we had the most spirit by far.
Sadie and I did some hat shopping in Estonia. These were a couple of our favorites.

We just finished up our Eastern European World Cup Tour with a race weekend in Otepaa, Estonia and a weekend in Rybinsk, Russia. We didn't see as much sun and delicious pasta as we usually do in central Europe, but the fans were some of the kindest and most excited that we've seen all season. It's easy to get psyched about ski racing when the stadium is filled and the trails are lined with fans who cheer for everyone. 

Oleg, our tech for Liz and me, is from Estonia and his family came for the weekend of races. His daughter Frida Mia and his son Frank were some of the best fans out there.
Our team left Russia with some of our best results of the season. The full World Cup field did not attend the World Cups in Rybinsk, but there were still a lot of very strong skiers there and I thought we skied extremely well. The highlight of the weekend was watching Liz get her first podium when she placed second in the 10k skate. Rosie Brennan just joined our team in Europe and hopped onto the World Cup like a pro, getting two top 20s in the distance races! Jessie also had a great weekend with two 5th places and on the sprint day we had four girls in the top 13! I tied my best result of the season and placed 7th in the skate sprint. When we arrived in Russia, we were welcomed with -25C temperatures, but luckily it warmed up to normal race temps by the time the weekend rolled around. 
Panoramic view of the stadium in Rybinsk on a clear cold morning

Frozen hair on our walk to breakfast in the morning
Team celebration of Ida's 27th birthday!

Liz's first podium!

We are now back at our home away from home. We had a long travel day that consisted of a bus ride, a flight, and a long drive from Rybinsk to Davos, but we're all settled in to the Hotel Kulm. It looks completely different than it did when we were here in December. There is enough snow to ski from the Hotel and it continues to come down. We're here for the next two weeks preparing for our World Championships that are coming up in a few weeks. I'm happy to be settled into one place for awhile without having to worry about travel. In other exciting news, our World Championships team was just announced. We have a huge team coming to Sweden consisting of eight men and eight women. It's going to be a very strong team. You can read more about the team selection HERE. Our U23 and World Juniors team also just departed for Kazakhstan. Their races kick off in about a week and we will all be cheering them on from Europe and from home. Check our our SMS T2 blog for updates from all of our team members.
Sun and snow out the window of Hotel Kulm

A march of snowmen in town!

No comments:

Post a Comment