So I hope this will the first of three race reports to come from the under 23 World Championships. The sprint is now done and dusted and I’m writing this sitting on the bus heading to the race venue to test skis for tomorrows 15 km interval start. We have a day between each race to recover and retest skis as best we can before the next race.
Yesterday started fairly early for myself and Phil, rising at 6:00 am and heading out for a early morning run to get the body turning over before breakfast and the sprint. For once the transport was fairly organized, only being 5-10 minutes late. When we arrived however it was rather apparent things at the race tracks weren’t so smooth, as smoke and flames were clearly visible at the bottom of the the huge diesel generator that powers all the wax cabins. So feeling a tad nervous that a 60L odd diesel bomb could go off any second we headed to our wax cabin (which is also one of the closest to the generator). In side wax tech/coach Fabian informed us that in fact the Turkish organizers had lit the fire on purpose to heat the diesel because it kept freezing due to the chilly temperatures and instead of putting an anti freeze additive in to the fuel an open flamed fire was concluded to be much more practical…
So warming up I was feeling a little nervous about throwing down against some of the monsters that have come out of the woodwork for the WC (as you’d expect). I was also feeling nervous about the course, especially the first climb out of the stadium which could easily make the last 2 minutes or so of the race absolute miserly if you blew up on it.
Recently I have ha a lot of advice from past skiing legends and coaches on the up coming races and one view they all share is simple.” It’s just another race and I’ve just as good a preparation for these race as the others so go out there and give it your all”.So with these words in mind I calmed down a lot in the start pen and just relaxed and focused on the race. I wasn’t ranked very well at all so I was at the tail end of the starters.
Out of the start gate I kept it fairly calm and controlled, building up as I headed towards the first hill. As the hill started I tried to drop it back a gear an then floor it. It worked surprisingly well. I crested the hill feeling the lactic a little in my legs but they weren’t cooked. The first descent is tough. It’s not technical but you don’t get to rest. You need to keep working all the way to the corner which signals the start to the second climb or your time just blows out. Around the turn and half way up the hill were the Aussie coaches and juniors pumping me up. With this bit of motivation I tried to unleash over the first half of the hill which is also the steepest. It started off well but very very quickly I began to scramble as my legs filled with lactic and my lungs screamed for more oxygen. Over the top of the last hill and around the hairpin that then turned into the descent into the stadium I was deep in the hurt box. The last 500 meters were a lot of pain as I tried to lift my tempo to the finish.
The sprint race was always going to hurt but I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it did. In the end I beat my rank but it could of been a much better race. I have definitely had betters sprint races this season.
I’d like to thank the junior lads for coming out and cheering and as always the wax magicians of J.C and Fabian who gave me rockets for skis! Also a shout out to Phil Bellingham who managed to get the lowest FIS points of his career to date so well done!
Time to get off my phone and test some skis.
P.s Sorry for the lack of race photos Fabian’s camera broke and we didn’t get a replacement in time.
Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment.