March 20, 2015

World Cup End

We had less than a week from the time we finished the 30km at World Championships until the World Cup Tour resumed in Lahti, Finland. I had done well enough at U.S. Nationals back in January that I maintained my lead in the SuperTour granting me starts rights for the last two weeks of World Cups so my travels through Europe continued. After feeling great doing race prep the day before the sprint, I woke up on race day with a cold. It was baffling because I felt like I had taken good care of myself, I had felt great the day before, I hadn't been overly exhausted or anything. I was incredibly frustrated and unsure of what my next move should be. It's important not to spread illness so I was quarantined in my room, feeling sad, lonely, and ready to book a ticket home. Luckily, I have this awesome friend, Sadie. We went for a walk after the weekend of races was over and she told me that I am never going to get healthy if I can't be happy and that I can absolutely recover over the next week and race again if I believe that I can. So off I went to Oslo for the last few races of the year.

We found the sun in Oslo. I hadn't seen more than a day or two of sun since I left Utah in December. We also found waffles, brown cheese, salmon, a beach, the ocean, great skiing and suddenly, I started feeling a lot better. Wednesday came around quickly, and I didn't feel great still so I sat out one more race in hopes of putting together a good race over the weekend, the Holmenkollen.

Holmenkollen, the venue in Oslo, is a big deal. There are thousands of fans that camp all weekend along all parts of the 8km loop to cheer everyone on. The King of Norway even attends the race. About 3km into our 30km race, I was descending and suddenly, I stopped turning even though I was trying to pick of my skis and step them around the turn. I looked down to see that someone had skied between my skis, preventing both of us from being able to maneuver. As a fence came closer and closer, I decided my best option was to sit down and try to slow down before hitting the fence. A few of us became tangled as we smashed into the fence and equipment broke. Unsure of what I had broken or how my body had fared, I got up slowly, checking the damaged. Everything seemed fine so I started skiing again, however, I was now the last person... My pole ended up breaking a few km later, but a coach was right there to get me a new one. I worked hard to move back up in the field, but I just couldn't find the focus I needed to fight. I was really disappointed in myself because I wanted to fight and I wanted to be in the mix, but for whatever reason, it just wasn't in the cards. I decided that I wanted to finish the race anyhow so I just relaxed a bit, tried to focus on my technique and skied the remainder of the race. The amazing part is, the entire time, people were chanting my name as I skied past even though I was quite a ways back from the leaders.

Check out this video to see just how crazy Holmenkollen is! 
Morning walks on the beach are one of the best parts of Oslo and a good way to get over a cold.

We had some beautiful weather!

It's amazing to me to be racing on snow and be at the beach in the same day!

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One day, it was nice enough, we decided to go for a quick dip in the ocean

Liz took charge and jumped in first

Sand feels amazing after a winter in ski boots. 


Skiing with Liz, Jessie, and Lina, a young girl from Park City who came to watch us!
Sunbathing with Sadzarue
As I got on the plane headed back to the U.S. I couldn't help but feel disappointed that my last two weeks on the World Cup had been more or less a disaster. I have had to remind myself, that just 6 months ago I wasn't even sure if I would race this season and when I left for Europe, I thought I would only be spending two weeks there. I am very happy to have conquered a lot, figured out how to race World Cups, made it to World Championships and had some success to boot. It's been a wild season, that's for sure. 

And it's not over just yet...we have four more races in Sun Valley to complete the season. It's warm, sunny, and sure to be a good time!