So again I find myself in the back seat of a car as we drive back from a race weekend. This weekend was the second set of NorAm races for the year, two 15km distance races in SilverStar, BC.
So winding back the clock a few days. Wednesday the whole team jetted off to Quebec for their first World Cup of the season (which went great so make sure you check out the blogs! two PB’s by the boys!). I stayed one more day and did intervals and then the next day was picked up by Andy Pohl a New Zealand lad that spends most of time in Canada racing and another Canmore local, Betsy. We had a somewhat slow start leaving an hour later than we had hoped and then we were slow down by Rogers pass. A section of road which is one of the worst to travel in winter due to heavy snow falls and avalanches blocking the road.
After around 6 hours of driving we arrived in SilverStar and the others dropped me off at Peter and Benita Carter’s apartment, a local Mt Beauty family that trip across most winter to SilverStar for a few months. The Carters have looked after me amazing this weekend so I really can’t thank them enough for their generosity and help!!!
Saturday didn’t start well. Firstly the race was at 1:00pm which makes eating and race prep a huge pain, you have quite a few hours to kill in the morning. So after twiddling my thumbs for a few hours, at 11:15am I headed out to the road where I was going get picked up by the Swedish National team, Courtesy of Maria Grafnigns and the Head Coach. However Maria wasn’t with the men in the car to remind them or maybe they just missed me, but 11:30am ticked by and I was still standing there. Well at 11:45am I decided to take things into my own hands and I stuck my thumb out and waited for a ride. Luckily after a few minutes a snow-mobiler in a huge truck picked me and took me to the race venue.
Saturday was a 15km classic mass start. I haven’t done a mass start FIS race in almost two years so I was a little rusty and unsure how to approach it.
So in retrospect I should of gone out easy and tried to work my way to the front. Instead I went for more of a raging bull approach. I was ranked 61st out of 80 so a fair way back on the starting grid. The course is on a 5km World Cup loop and 300 meters out of the stadium it kicks into a long brutal 1km climb. Halfway up this climb due to the bull charge I found myself sitting in roughly 10th but out to the side not in the pack getting a slipstream. By the top of the hill the bull had run out of puff, I realised my amateur mistake and tried to settle myself back down and let a few people pass as I tried to find a slot in the main pack. Eventually I got in and I just really tried to relax and calm down a bit… Yep it didn’t work, I had solidly cooked the goose and really began to hurt on the second lap. By last lap I was burnt to a crisp and crawled over the line in 51st. Not a great day at all.
For the rest of Saturday afternoon I tried to recover as much as possible, legs up and recovery tights on. Sunday morning came and as I went out for the pre breakfast jog I was firstly greeted with a chilly -12 but more worrying it was snowing solidly and my legs already were feeling beaten up!
Sunday was a 15km skate individual start, that morning I’d organised a ride with Andy and Betsy so they picked me up perfectly on time and we headed to the trails. I was ranked 56th out of 80 so I started very early on in the race. Normally the time between each racer is 30 seconds in a distance race but for some reason it was 15 on Sunday. This meant it was super easy to catch racers but also to be caught by other racers making for more congested racing.
I started off solid but made sure I didn’t do a repeat of the day before! I caught the skier in front fairly quickly but found I couldn’t ski off him, for the entire race he and I shared the lead and worked very well with each other, dragging each other through various sections of the course. In the end he beat me to the line but on paper I skied the race faster. I was really happy with how the race went. I ended up 36th with 117 FIS points so its great to get a solid race down on paper! I tried to pace the race a lot better, on the first lap skier 26th zoomed past me and I was thinking “shit I must be skiing slow…” I found him around the next corner bent over his poles coughing up a lung. I was glad that wasn’t me and it made me feel a lot better!
Andy, Betsy and I crawled into Canmore at 1:00am after driving back straight after the races so its good to be back but I’m fairly tired! I have now been told I am starting the sprint at the Canmore World Cup this weekend, so I’m pretty psyched with that news! All week we’ll be focusing on that 3 minutes of racing on Saturday but it should be great! I’m very excited!
Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment!
P.s. Sorry there aren’t many photos kicking about. Being by yourself makes it hard!