Sunday, March 1, 2015

Falun 2015

And just like that, World Championships is over. Time goes by quickly when there is a race almost every day. My races were at the beginning of the championships, but that doesn't mean things necessarily got less busy, because there was a lot of spectating and cheering to be done my second half of the championships! I personally had some highs and some lows, and I think most people on the team can say the same, but as a team we had an extremely successful championships. On the sprint day we qualified six people in the top 30, which is the most we've ever had at a World Championships sprint. On the team sprint day, both our men and women's team qualified for the finals, which is never an easy accomplishment. In the distance events we saw a handful of personal bests for the season, which were highlighted by Jessie and Caitlin BOTH being on the podium in the 10k skate. Yep, that's right, two americans on the podium and three in the top 10! Our women's relay fought to an impressive fourth place behind three xc powerhouses and in the 30k we had three girls in the top 30. Wow.
America! Hugs for Jessie and Caitlin after their podium finishes in the 10k!

Not a super high quality picture, but that's my teammate and buddy Jessie at the awards ceremony receiving her silver medal on the big screen.

The team behind the team. Our women's relay team after their 4th place finish.
My championships started on a high note with the classic sprint. Skate sprinting has always been stronger for me and with my elbow injuries this year, that was especially the case. I qualified 21st in the classic sprint and moved through the quarter finals and into the semis where I ended up 10th overall. I was thrilled with a top 10, but even more thrilled with the fact that I felt great! Like I said before, we qualified six in the top 30 and some other highlights of the day were Simi placing 12th and Dakota qualifying for his first World Cup sprint.
Steve Fuller photo from my classic sprint qualifier

A screen shot from my cousin Anya watching live from home!
Sodie fist bump before the qualifier

After the classic sprint I was told that I would be doing the skate team sprint with Jessie. My initial reaction was pure joy and excitement and about a day later that excitement transformed into nerves. I pride myself on being a pretty level-headed skier and I can usually turn nerves into excitement and perform my best when I'm nervous. I'm not sure what got into me, but this was nervous to a new level. It was hard for me to sleep, eat, and really just function in general. Maybe it was the fact that it was World Champs, maybe it was the fact that we were wearing the defending World Champs bibs, or maybe it was the fact that I wasn't as confident in my distance skiing this year. Everyone did a really nice job of reminding me that Jessie and I were a new pair and there were no expectations, but man did I have the jitters. The day of the team sprint is a bit of a blur. Jessie was an amazing partner. She skied so well and was a great friend through it all, but I don't feel that I skied to my potential or had a great day. I was a little disappointed after, but also a little relieved to take a deep breath. We made it into the finals, which was a big goal of ours and we skied our best, which I'm really proud of. Being able to toe the start line in a defending World Champion bib is also pretty freaking cool. To be on a team with Jessie was an honor and I hope that some day we can try it again.

Team sprint day. Check out that bib! And those socks! And that crowd!

A kiss from my amazing relay partner
Soon after the sprint relay was the day of the 10k skate, which was hands down the most exciting day of the championships for our team. I was cheering with my parents in the middle of the huge crowd in the stadium. As the race started, a light snow started to fall. Then it started to fall a little harder and a little harder. It was a crazy race in a lot of ways. The snow affected the race and it was a disadvantage to be a late starter, but that's part of ski racing and our girls did an amazing job of taking an opportunity to ski their hearts out. I'm really proud of both Jessie and Caitlin who had amazing races and proud of our service team who produced some damn good skis. It was also really inspiring to see Liz, who was one of the latest starters, ski a race that could have arguably also been a podium result had she not been skiing through the fresh snow. Two americans on the podium is something special. It made history and being a part of the team that got there is an honor.
Women's world champs team 

Heading out to cheer for the relay with Ides

Proud of this girl
After my last race, I took a few days to wake up and do whatever I wanted that day. A couple days involved skiing, every day involved spending time with my parents, and a lot of activities were taking a break from skiing. It was so nice to have my parents here. I was reminded that they're always going to be there for a hug after a good race and there for a hug after a bad race with a smile on their faces. We took a field trip to the local copper mine, checked out the museum filled with Swedish artwork, and enjoyed some tasty food outside of the hotel. It was fun to experience World Championships as a fan in the crowd and by the time I got back to training, I basically stuck to the tourist trails which remind me a lot of skiing back in Vermont. It's been a whirlwind of a championships and I've really enjoyed being part of such an incredible team. Our team packs up to head to Lahti, Finland on Tuesday for another weekend of World Cup races. After that I have one more race in Drammen before flying home. That's 11 days I will be back in the U.S. of A! Time flies when you're having fun :)
Mom and dad time

Outfitted for the mine!

Taking a ride on the signature Falun horse

The Dario Fan Club

How psyched are we about a double podium? This psyched.

America deserves some champagne

Liz and me with our wax tech, Oleg. He's not a man of many words, but his words warm our hearts and his hands make some speedy skis.

Our smiley PTs Ana and Zuzana

Simi and me enjoying some maple syrup fuel on a ski

Thank you to all of our volunteers who took their time to come over here and be a huge part of our team.
See you soon, Dad!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sophie! Good read and nice pictures. I hope you've had an awesome time in Sweden and at the WC. Looks like it. I'm happy for your teams success and hope both you and your team will be fighting for the podium places years to come. As a Swede myself it might seems strange, I love our Swedish team but first of all, I love USA as I visit often, second of all, it's good for the sport with more countries in the top. I wouldn't say it's boring now, far from, but the sport would need more countries to fight in the top. Third and most, since a couple of years I have really started to like the US team. You seem to have an amazing team spirit and I admire you move overseas for 5 months to travel all around Europe to race. I will definetely follow your blog from now on. Really interesting to read. Safe travel to Finland and good luck in Lahtis.