January 27, 2010

Sprinting in Fog

Our first race was yesterday, the skate sprint! It was basically raining when we showed up, almost like I never left New England, except it turns out if was POURING there.....Fortunately the rain let up but the fog stayed in making it so you couldn't even see across the stadium. It made the snow pretty fast because even though it was raining, it was cold so it made a nice frozen layer on top of the snow. I had a decent qualifying round, finishing in 16th which was the number I started so I guess FIS points aren't totally bullshit. The course was so fast and short, it was hard for me to get going, I like the more grueling courses as I tend to get faster as the day goes on. I had some serious nerves on the line of my quarterfinal as every racer has a laser in front of them, but you can't see it and if you break it, its a false start and you get DQed. They don't use these in the US or even on the World Cup so it was nerve racking and the girl next to me false started our heat and had to just walk away from the start line leaving just 5 in my heat. Despite all this, I actually managed to get off the line pretty quick but the trail is so wide, its hard to tell what position you are in going up the first hill and unfortunately by the time we started up the next hill I was in the back. Knowing that hill was the last good place to make a big move, I pushed a little harder and passed a few girls. Then comes this twisty turny finishing section that makes it a challenge to pass people. I was duking it out for third with this Norweigen girl and she snuck around me on the last curve, but i hung on her and swung wide into the finish and manage to pass her in the finishing lanes, finishing 3rd in my heat. The top 2 automatically move on to the semis and 2 of the 3rd place finishers to based on their heat time. My time wasn't quite fast enough so my day ended there and I finished in 15th. I was pleased with that and it may have been a blessing in disguise as my knee was very sore after the aggressive skiing required in sprint heats. It was a very exciting day though as Ida was racing great and made it to the A-final, finishing in 4th! It was exciting to cheer her on through the rest of the heats.

My quarterfinal heat. I'm on the far left, Canadian Kate Brennan (of no relation) is next to me, a norweigen next to her, another norweigen is behind me and a slovenian next to her.

We returned to the hotel to learn that they had turned the internet off because too many people were downloading illegally. As that is my only form of communication, I was devastated! Fortunately, they just decided to put a password on the browser so things not directly connected to the browser (Blitzmail, skype) worked so I was at least able to check my email this morning and skype with people. Ida then figured out how to hack into the internet so now its our little secret! Tomorrow is the 10k Classic race, which is my favorite event so I am looking forward to that, although the weather looks like it could be quite the adventure tomorrow.....