Friday, February 26, 2016

Gearing up for Canada

Wow, where did I leave off? The last few weeks have flown by and I'm currently back home gearing up for the final period of World Cup races...the Ski Tour of Canada! It's such a treat to be home in February for the first time in a few years. Even though Vermont is lacking snow at the moment, I've loved being home, training with SMS, and being with my family.
Skiing around Stratton with some of the SMS gals this morning

Taking our kitten/borderline cat, Bernie, for a walk in my parents' backyard 
After the races in Norway, we flew to Stockholm, Sweden for another classic city sprint. The only other time I had been to Stockholm was as a junior on the J1 trip. We had a day off during our J1 trip and walked around the city of Stockholm and it was really neat to see the same city this year with a ski track running down the middle of it. The sprint was right in front of the royal palace, so we played kings and queens for the day racing up the palace steps. My sprint qualifier went really well. I qualified 9th and was just over 1.5 seconds out of 1st - arguably my best classic sprint qualifier ever! My quarter final also went well and I finished first in my heat and moved onto the semi finals. In my semi final I was starting to feel pretty tired and I think I also prioritized the kick on my skis a little too much and was kicking up all the hills, but struggling to keep up on the flats and downs. I ended up 11th on the day, but was satisfied with my result. As I've said before, flatter classic sprints have historically been a struggle for me, and I think this race was a big step in the right direction.
Cresting the hill into the finish is my 1/4 final (Matthew Tipple photo)

Finish stretch (Matthew Tipple photo)

Finish lanes up to the Royal Palace

Starting gates (Caitlin Patterson photo)
After Stockholm, we went to Falun for a weekend of distance races. On Saturday there was a 5k classic and on Sunday there was a 10k skate. I raced the 5k classic and had a mediocre race. I took it out a little hot and paid for it later on, but it was awesome to see some of my teammates have great weekends with a lot of personal bests!
Training day in Falun with Sadie
After Falun, we flew to Lahti for our last European World Cup weekend of the season. As racers, many of us have a love/hate relationship with Lahti. It's an awesome venue with amazing trails, but the Lahti weekend often comes right after the Championships of the season, so sometimes we're feeling the "championship blues" and begin to get a little homesick. There were no championships this year and with the Tour of Canada finishing of the season, Lahti came a few weeks earlier than usual. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't getting a little homesick, but I knew that was only because I got to go home in a week. My history of racing in Lahti is pretty hit or miss. Before this year, I had been to Lahti three times. Two of the years I didn't qualify in the sprint and one of the years I qualified and had my first World Cup podium. I made it my goal to focus on qualifying and everything else was going to be icing on the cake. It wasn't just one more race until I got to go home, it was one more race until I got to go home, so I should give it my all. The course in Lahti this year was a new course that was a lot hillier and longer than previous years. This hasn't always been my strength in skate sprints, but I knew I was stronger, fitter, and faster than years past, so I approached it with confidence. I was thrilled to qualify in 6th, see Jess qualify in 2nd, and have four women and Simi all qualify for the heats. In my quarter final, I tucked in behind Ingvild and followed her for as long as I could until getting a little tired on the last uphill and letting a gap form. There was also a small gap between me and third place, but I got sucked up in the finish stretch, placing third in my heat and missing the semi finals. I was bummed to miss the semis, but my day was made a lot better watching Sadie get a top ten and Jessie placing 2nd on the day!
Lahti sunset

Easy training day with the girls in Lahti (Jess photo)

Race prep with Sades (hansi photo)

My wax tech, Oleg :) (Hansi photo)
Racing in my quarter final (Hansi photo)

Jess on the podium! (hansi photo)
 I flew back to the U.S. on Sunday morning after the Lahti sprint. It was a long travel day, but I couldn't have been happier to be in my own bed after over three months on the road. Federico Pelligrino joined us in Vermont a couple days later to have a little extra time in North America before the Canadian Tour. We've been doing some training with the SMS crew and have mostly been enjoying being at home, sitting by the fire, and cooking up some delicious food. I will head up to Canada on Sunday to prepare for the races beginning on Tuesday. It's so cool to see how excited people around here are to come cheer us on in Canada. I can't wait for the final period of racing, and I really can't wait to do it in front of our home crowd. Thanks for following!
Simi, Federico, Bill Koch, and me. As the best skate sprinter in the world, Federico was excited to thank Bill for inventing skate skiing!

Going for an easy ski with Lo and Alex at Mt Tabor

Classic speeds in the rain with the SMS crew

Intervals are a lot easier with buddies!

Gabe catching a ride with Federico this morning

Last intervals before Canada


  1. So glad you had snow at SMS as we have NOTHING in central Vermont! Tots has been cycling with studded snow tires! Can hardly wait to see you next week!!! xoxox

  2. So, since you called your cat Bernie, and given the World Cup win, you're surely a celebrity by now... Should we count that as a celebrity endorsement? ;-)