My crazy 6 days in Italy

So I have finished my whirlwind trip to Val Di Fiemme Italy. In and out in just six days but in the last week I have raced over 80kms and in 5 separate starts. I’ll admit I’m including the 30km and sprint World Cup in Davos. Last Monday the team packed up in Davos and the men’s team headed south into Italy and back into Val di Fiemme for the World University Games. We had already missed a few races because we stayed in Davos and the remaining events were all distance, which suited me fine. Europe and realistically most of the world is having a bad winter, so the only snow at the course were two separate 2.5km loops, just a grooming width wide.

Getting geographically embarrassed with the boys between Davos and Italy

Getting geographically embarrassed with the boys between Davos and Italy…

The famous Marcialonga track which is part of the World Loppet series...

The famous Marcialonga track which is part of the World Loppet series…

The Marcialonga just a strip of snow.

The Marcialonga just a strip of snow.

the end of the line for the Marcialonga. each section is being build buy trucks dumping loads of snow and then spreading out.

The end of the line for the Marcialonga. Each section is being built by trucks dumping loads of snow and then spreading it out…

So after arriving on the Monday afternoon and doing a quick ski in the evening to look at the course, we raced a 10km skate on Tuesday, a 4x10km relay on Thursday (which I skated the anchor leg) and to finish off my week of racing, a 30km classic mass start.

So to give you a brief run down on the races, the 10km individual skate went well. My body felt relatively fresh. My first 2km were slow and in the end costly for my overall result, but the other 8kms went really well and I put down a decent race coming in 14th. However the race was possibly one of the tightest distance races I have ever seen. Because of that costly slower first lap, I ended up 2 min behind the winner, which was annoying but not shocking. It ended up being my best FIS Points for Europe so far, but on paper I was relegated back to 73rd, which was frustrating and literally 20 seconds got you 20 places.

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Finishing the 10km individual skate. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

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The 10km. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

The relay was a new experience, I have never done one overseas before, so we were all excited to give it a go. The team was made up of Phillip, Callum, Nick Montgomery (from the U23 team) and myself. We had an alright race, coming 15th. For a while we were hovering around 10 and we thought we might have been able to crack the top ten, but a lot of teams had stacked the back end of their ski teams.

Skiing the final leg of the relay. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

Skiing the final leg of the relay. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

All the races apart from the 10km were on in the evening under lights. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

All the races apart from the 10km were on in the evening under lights. Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

Gearing up again for another 30km race was a bit of a struggle. The format of the games was race one day and then the next off. Because there was only one day between each race we couldn’t really rest, otherwise we would find our bodies shut down too much.  Then gearing up the next day to race is always a struggle. So heading into the 30km I was a little tired already but happy knowing it was classic which is the first time I’ve raced that style this year. The course was 8 laps of 3.75 and it was made up of relatively steep pinches and then flat sections. There wasn’t really any long grinding hills, which I generally prefer.

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A big “thank you” to the coaches and wax techs for the games! August Teague (left) and Ewan Watson.

I had a fairly average race coming 56th. I was fairly exhausted from all the previous racing and I just didn’t have the energy to stay with the good guys. The night before had snowed and then because of the short laps, the course was turned to mush and made waxing really, really hard. There wasn’t a team that had perfect kick and glide. To top it, I chose too soft a skis for the conditions to race on and just suffered trying to make the skis work. In the end I was just super happy to survive the week of racing and I’ll now head to Germany to meet up with my family and have my first family Christmas with them in I think in 5 years. I know I have only had one family Christmas at home since I was 16.

Coming out of the stadium in the 30km.

Coming out of the stadium in the 30km.

I skied most of the 30km race with two Canadians.

I skied most of the 30km race with two Canadians.

Some of the awesome cheer squad.

Some of the awesome cheer squad at the games! Thanks team! Photo credit Andi Stoffel.

Phill found a fury friend.

Phil found a fury friend.

Some old school roller skis i found in a shop in Italy.

Some old school roller skis I found in a ski shop in Italy.

A little montage of classic crappy Italin parking skills.

A little montage of classic crappy Italin parking skills.

So for now I’m off to enjoy a Christmas with family for once.

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment. (And enjoy Christmas!!!)

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