Friday, March 15, 2013

Wrapping up in Europe

I've finally returned to the US after two months of racing in Europe! It was an awesome experience and tons of fun but I'm really excited to be back home for awhile. I haven't been home since Christmas so I was beginning to miss it a little. After Nove Mesto, I flew to Lahti, Finland with Rosie where we met up with the rest of the ski team. The races in Lahti were a skate sprint and a classic 10k. I raced the skate sprint and was pretty disappointed with how it ended up. Neither my legs or skis felt particularly good but it's hard to say which caused which. Even though my race didn't go well, Lahti was a really cool venue and it was exciting to watch some teammates have exceptional races. Sadie was 9th in the sprint and followed that up with an 18th in the classic 10k. Both were career bests for her! Kikkan won another skate sprint, earning her the crystal globe for the second year in a row. Another highlight of our stay in Lahti was being able to see Finnish skier Aino-Kaisa Saarinen's house and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal and sauna while there. She was recently married and she and her husband have a beautiful new house!

Kikkan out-lunging Marit

The crew at Aiko's house
Kikkan, Charlotte Kalla, and Aiko kept their bibs on for lunch

Pretty evening sun in Lahti
After the weekend of racing in Lahti, we packed up and headed to Oslo. I had never been to Norway so I was excited to see what all the hype was about! I think it was everything it was built up to be. It didn't hurt that we had beautiful weather the whole time we were there. We stayed just outside of Oslo in Fornebu, but were able to train at Holmenkollen a couple days. I was never able to explore the city but hopefully I'll be back someday! We had the city sprint in Drammen on Wednesday. We arrived at the venue to  sunny skies, huge crowds, and live heavy metal music. It was pretty eye-opening to see how popular cross country skiing is in a place like Norway. Their World Cup skiers are like celebrities there. It's more popular than alpine skiing! It was an awesome experience. Norway got to start 22 women in the sprint because they had their continental cup leaders as well as their nations group. This makes it one of the toughest fields of the year. I just missed qualifying and ended up 35th on the day. It was a little bittersweet knowing I wasn't far from the top 30, but I think this is probably a pretty accurate representation of where I'm skiing right now. I think with a little more practice I could be right in there, but for now I'm happy :). Since I was heading home the following day, I stayed for the afternoon and cheered on our teammates who qualified. Kikkan had a great day and made it to the A final, finishing 5th. Andy also looked great but got his skis taken out from under him in an unfortunate tangle up. Sadie and Torin also had impressive days with strong top 30 finishes. I don't have many pictures from our race day but I do have some from a little photo-shoot Sadie, Rosie and I had down by the ocean.

Holmenkollen stadium

Sadie, Rosie, and me

Sadie has hops!

and so do I!

Rosie and I took in the view

There were some crazy buildings close to our hotel that we heard were part of a technology school. Here is one of the sculptures outside

Holmenkollen jumps

Sadie and Rosie
Drammen Church
Spending the majority of my season in Europe this winter was a pleasant surprise and an awesome experience. There were definitely highs and lows and those tend to be magnified when your main focus is skiing. Even though the difference between a 30th place and a 31st place in a sprint can be .1 seconds, it can be the difference between a great day and a frustrating day. Since everyone is so fast and the times are so tight, I've realized that a lot of things need to go right in order to have a good day on the World Cup. There are so many factors that go into how a race unfolds including energy, skis, sleep, wax, and course. These are just some and while everything isn't going to go perfectly each time, we need to do everything in our control to prepare ourselves the best we can. Some of the best skiers in the World will qualify even if something is off that day, but I'm at the level where I need most (or all) of those factors to be playing in my favor to have a great day. It definitely takes some getting used to but I've learned a lot and it's been so much fun being able to compete in all the races I did in Europe this year. Thank you so much to everyone who helped, especially T2, Level Field, R.K. Miles and SMS and to the USST for the great race support!

Heading to the start with Grover at World Champs (Caldwell Sport photo)
I flew home from Oslo last night and have had a very relaxing day at home. I'm very happy to be home, but there are definitely parts of Europe that I already miss. For example, I miss the soft boiled eggs so this morning I decided to try to make the perfect soft-boiled egg. I think it was a success.

It's very nice to see my cats and family. My sister and brother have spring break from Dartmouth so I'll be able to see a lot of them and we all have our birthdays while we're home (it's not really that crazy because they're twins)! I will be competing in the mini tour at Craftsbury from the 22nd-24th but will otherwise be spending some quality time at home until Spring  Series!
Fat Red

Austin and Dudley Rose
Nice day at home

Dudley Rose the senile princess

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