Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Let the Races Begin!

After a long, but seamless travel day from Boston to Rovanemi, we hopped in the vans and headed to Gallivare, Sweden for a short camp before the World Cup circuit begins. I had never been to Gallivare before, so I was excited to see a new place and even more excited to be thrown into full blown winter. Gallivare didn't have much snow before we got there, but by the time we arrived the skiing was perfect. In fact, I think we had better skiing last week than we did all winter last year!
Taking off from Boston. Headed to Europe!

Snowy view out our hotel window in Gallivare

Ida and Jess heading over the bridge

Night (afternoon) skiing with Liz
First ski with Sadie and Liz

Psyched to be on snow (Andy photo)
In addition to having awesome skiing, Gallivare is also the home of our former head wax tech and wonderful person, Peter Johansson. It was fun to see Peter and his family in their home town and they even had us over for a delicious Swedish dinner one night! It's no easy feat fitting a team of 22 people in one room for dinner, but they pulled it off and it was an evening to remember.
Kikkan sent us with a barbie version of herself so we wouldn't forget about her. One of our missions was to get a picture of her with Peter. Check!
Speaking of celebrations, we had two important birthdays last week! The first birthday we celebrated was Sadie's 26th and then yesterday was Oleg's 40th birthday. Oleg is the personal wax tech for Liz and me, so we made him a special little card.
Happy Birthday Sadzarue!

And Oleg
After our first week of getting used to being back on snow, we raced in the FIS races Gallivare was hosting over the weekend. There was a classic sprint on Saturday and a skate 10k on Sunday. I only raced the classic sprint and I was happy with how it went. I won the prelim in the morning and battled it out with Jessie in the final where she took first and I took second. Andy also placed 2nd in the sprint so it was pretty neat to see USA taking half the podiums that day. The next day Jessie took the win AGAIN and Caitlin, Liz, and Rosie placed 3-5. Noah and Erik also had great races placing in the top ten. I think it was a good boost of confidence for our team and more importantly, it was a good warm up for the World Cup to get used to being on snow and remembering how to race hard.
Me and Jess battling it out in the A Final of the classic sprint (USSA photo)

Sprint podium!
After my race on Saturday, I used Sunday as a day to do some strength and easy distance. Sadie and I went for a really fun night ski under the lights in Gallivare. When I say night ski, I don't mean skiing at 7pm. We started our ski at 3, but the sun had already set. About half way through the ski there was a glitch in the lighting system and the trails turned pitch black. Neither of us had brought our headlamps because we were relying on the lighting system, but we had a great time finding our way by moonlight. It was the perfect way to end the camp. On Monday morning, we loaded up the vans and made the long drive to Kuusamo, Finland. We will be in Kuusamo for the week preparing for the opening World Cups this weekend. The World Cup kicks off with a mini tour consisting of a classic sprint, skate 5k, and classic 10k. You can watch all of our World Cup races this winter at the following NBC link http://www.nbcsports.com/olympic-sports-schedule. Let the races begin!
Kikkan barbie catching a ride with Sim

Morning ski with Rosie in Kuusamo

Skiing in Gallivare with Sadie

Taking a photo break with coach Matt

Found a little bit of USA in SWE

Posing with Jessie and Caitlin with our selfie on the cover of the Gallivare newspaper


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