December 3, 2013

Finally, Racing!

I started my season this past weekend at the Ruka Triple World Cup outside on Kuusamo, Finland at a resort village called Ruka. It is very close to the Arctic circle and also very close to the Russian border. The Ruka Triple is a mini tour which consists of 3 races: a sprint, a 5k classic individual start, and lastly a pursuit start 10k skate. The pursuit start means that you start based off of your combined time back from the previous 2 races so the first person across the line is the overall tour winner.

The weekend was far from what I was hoping for, I placed between 67-77 in all three races. However, the good news is that each race felt a little better. I believe that my preparations for coming over here were less than ideal and that I am just now starting to be in the place I wanted to be in 2 weeks ago. Of course, it never helps to think retroactively and regret the things I did, but it is also important to acknowledge them and move forward, so here I go, forward!

There were some great results from the rest of the team however, my Anchorage roomie, Sadie, had her best weekend ever, getting some top 10s and hanging tough with the big guns. Kikkan got her best ever classic sprint result, Noah had the fastest time of the day in the skate pursuit, and the other girls scored some top 10s in the skate. Go USA!

I enjoyed Ruka a lot. It was very wintery, snowy, and had lots of skiing. It is unique in that we stay in little condos by the race course so we have our own space with a mini kitchen, personal sauna, and wood stove. It was a World Cup so we do get a meal plan so we didn't use our kitchens other than to fix the occasional snack, instead we climbed up a big hill to the dinning hall with all the other teams. Despite the fact that it is a large hill, I enjoyed getting out and walking 3x a day; it helps to not get cabin fever. Ruka is also know for being very cold and while I will say it was cold, we lucked out and it never got below zero and I don't even think we raced in below 10F temps.

We did some team disco bowling, it's a good thing we are skiers, not bowlers...
Mikey, looking fine. 
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Wintery, dark Ruka. The sun rose about 10AM and set about 2PM and I thought Anchorage was dark. 

We celebrated Hanukkah. Noah made us latkes and they were delicious!

Our personal saunas, so nice after a cold race.

We celebrated Andy Newell's 30th birthday party with homemade bolle from our wax tech Peter's wife.
Some of the Norwegian girls team came to sing to Andy and deliver some gifts!

Ida gave me an advent calendar with a chocolate for everyday! I am excited to countdown til home, family, and xmas!

Back in Europe, where the weekend consists of watching skiing on TV instead of Football...Love it!

We have moved on to Lillehammer, Norway, where snow is scarce, but the sun is shinning a little more and the food is superb.