Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Toblach Weekend

After ten days in Davos, including a weekend of World Cup racing, we traveled to Toblach, Italy for the final World Cup races of period one and 2015. We were greeted in Toblach by more sunny skies and beautiful weather, but still no snow. The race organizers in Toblach did an incredible job of laying down a 5k race loop that feels just like natural snow, but it's a weird sight to see a strip of snow surrounded by green grass and mud.
Beautiful sunset in Toblach

Mud and grass leading up to the stadium

Perfect tracks in the stadium
I love Italy for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about it is their pasta. We have a pasta course for every lunch and dinner and if you really wanted to, you could probably have it for breakfast. We stay at the Hotel Dolomiten every time we come to Toblach and love seeing the familiar faces of the hotel staff and the hotel dog.
Noah's personal napkin envelope decorated by Caitlin

Dinner of pasta and a fish, all to myself!
The races in Toblach over the weekend were a skate sprint and a classic 10k. In the skate sprint, we qualified six U.S. skiers into the heats and three women qualified in the top ten! I placed 2nd in my quarter final to move onto the semis and then placed 4th in my semi, just missing lucky loser by .008 seconds. Last weekend I was lucky loser in my semi by .003, so I suppose you can't win them all! The course in Toblach is really fun with some short steep ups and a very tactical last downhill into the finish where a lot of drafting takes place. I was happy with how I skied and how I felt and am looking forward to some more sprinting in the Tour de Ski. However, the most exciting part of the day was watching Simi ski to a 2nd place. He skied like a champ and we were psyched to pick up our first individual podium as a team for the year!
Sim on the podium in the skate sprint

Happy teammates after the sprint

Photo from my sprint qualifier (Nordic focus photo)
Sunday was a 10k classic for the women and a 15k classic for the men. The courses in Toblach are a little more gradual than many of the other World Cup courses we race and many of the men double poled the race. My arms are tired even thinking about that. I struggle a little with classic racing on gradual terrain, but I tried my best to get my power striding on and was happy to give distance racing a go for the first time in a few weeks. Sadie and Jessie both had strong races placing in the top 20.
Classic race (Nordic Focus photo)
After the race weekend, the majority of our team headed back to Davos for Christmas. There still isn't any snow here, but the race loop and golf course are in great condition and they've now connected the two to make a very nice loop of skiing. We have a cozy little apartment right by the ski trails and are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in the sunshine with our teammates. Our next races will be the Tour de Ski series, which begins in Lenzerheide, Switzerland with a skate sprint on January 1st. Happy Holidays!
Celebrating Christmas break with a glass of wine and some Italian pizza

Women's team plus Kikkan's baby 

Scenic drive from Toblach to Davos

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

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