Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scando Cups to Davos

The Scando Cup crew had a busy week with four races in five days! Our first two races were distance races in Latvia. Wednesday was a 5k individual classic and Thursday was a mass start 10k skate. Wednesday was my first hard effort since U23s because I had been sick so I was a little nervous about how it would feel, but it ended up going quite well! These are really competitive fields that are stacked with primarily Norwegians, but also a handful of skiers from Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia. Caitlin Patterson had a great race and was 10th and I was about a second behind her in 11th! Temperatures were right around 0 degrees C with some falling snow so all the Americans ended up racing on zeroes. Reese Hanneman also had a great race, placing 24th in the men's 10k classic. The men's field was much bigger than the women's and he was only 20 seconds out of the top 10! The following day did not go as well for me, it was a really fast pace from the start and I got pretty tired but was able to recollect myself and have a strong finish. The highlights of that day were Caitlin Patterson's 9th place and Eric Packer's 16th place. Both of them were able to stick with the lead pack for the majority of the race, which was awesome to see.

Eric Packer in the 10k classic
The lead pack in the skate race

Cooling down from the classic race with Caitlin and Becca
As soon as the men finished their 20km mass start on Thursday, we packed up and headed to Estonia. We stayed at the Joulumae Recreation Center with all the other teams that were racing. It was very isolated and I have no idea how far away the nearest town was but it was fun to be surrounded by all the other racers and we staying right on the trails. Saturday we had a classic sprint. The women's course was very flat and the weather was right around freezing again with some falling snow so waxing was tricky. I ended up racing on zeroes again and looking back, I think klister would have been a better choice for the qualifier because while the zeroes had bombproof kick, they didn't feel very fast and you definitely wanted speedy skis on a course that was mainly double pole. I think most people had switched to some kind of zeroes for the rounds once it began to snow some more. My quarter final was very frustrating. I had an okay start but there was one girl in my heat that was extremely aggressive and cut me off multiple times. It was hard to pass out there and I finished 4th in my heat. I was pretty bummed after that day but I tried to clear my head and get excited for the next day, the skate sprint. Before moving to the skate sprint, a result definitely worth noting was Jennie Bender's 4th place qualification in the classic sprint - really impressive!

On Sunday morning, the snow started to fall around the time of the prelim. I qualified 5th and then put my legs up for awhile and waited for the heats to start. I led my quarter final heat because I knew it was hard to pass. Position was important because it was a course with a lot of turns, so you wanted to have the choice of best line. I ended up winning my quarter final but it was hard leading the whole way. In my semi, I didn't have a great start but tried to hold my own and keep best line and then I slingshotted around some people on the final turn and ended up winning! In my final, I had the same strategy as my semi and slowly moved my way up into second throughout the course and then had a sprint finish for 1-3. I ended up 2nd and it was a really fun and exciting race. It was awesome to have the US Scando squad out there cheering and since the course was only 1.1km, I felt like I could constantly here one of them cheering out there. It was nice to end the week on a high note and we quickly ate lunch and drove to Riga, where we would be flying from the following morning.
A final (Reese photo)

Reese photo

2nd! (Reese photo)
Special thanks to Bryan, Gus, and Josh for the waxing and organizing they did. Each race day we had tricky conditions and they had to work their butts off but always came through with great skis! The boys and girls had a music video competition during Scando and it took some convincing for me to participate but I was glad I did and they were both very funny. You can watch the boys' video HERE and the girls' video HERE.

On Monday I flew to Zurich from Riga and took the train from Zurich to Davos. It was quite the adventure. Traveling with a ski bag by train is not something I would recommend, but people were generally very helpful and friendly. I arrived in Davos on Monday night just in time for a delicious dinner at our hotel. So far the food is a lot more colorful, the sky is a little sunnier, and there is skiing right out the door, so no complaints here! I will be racing the classic sprint World Cup on Saturday and then heading to Italy for World Champs on Sunday! The sprint course is pretty long and hilly with some very sharp corners on both the ups and the downs. Here are a few pictures from Davos so far.


Noah and I enjoyed some tasty waffles at a local coffee shop
snowy walk with Noah in town yesterday (Noah photo) 

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