Saturday, December 28, 2013

Asiago Classic Sprinting

Last weekend was a double classic sprint weekend in Asiago, Italy with an individual sprint on Saturday and a team sprint on Sunday.  Asiago was my first new venue this season which is always really exciting to travel somewhere new, explore a different area, and race on a different course.  Unfortunately warm weather in Italy at the beginning of the winter left the organizers scrambling but they amazingly pulled off a fun course in a park in the center of town.  

One of the main streets in Asiago.  It was lit up with lots of Christmas lights at night for a festive feel even if there wasn't any snow on the ground and the temperatures were not particularly wintery.

A WWI monument on the edge of town.  There was a major battle of WWI which took place in the fields surrounding Asiago and this memorial houses the remains of 50,000 Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers

The town square with a Christmas market set up.  In the evenings these booths were open selling food, drink, crafts, and local foods.  

A little shop in town selling jams and marmalades, fruits, mushrooms, pasta, and more.  The food in Italy is always some of the best with lots of great pizza and pasta. 

Looking down on Asiago and the surrounding hills.  It was pretty cloudy the whole time we were there so we were not able to see many of the surrounding mountains.  

Training on the course on Friday, the day before the races.  Usually this involves a lap of the whole course at L3 or threshold, a lap at L4 and then some pickups on different parts of the course.  This is a fun way to practice pacing the course and skiing the faster and in a group.  We do these workouts together as a team and it is fun to ski together around the course in a pack, a fast train of black and pink (Austin Caldwell photo).

Testing skis on the course with Matt, who as well as being a coach, is also my wax tech.  I travel with close to 30 pairs of Fischer skis so that I'm prepared for all snow conditions and race types but having that many skis can be confusing sometimes to pick the best ones.  Matt does an awesome job keeping the testing process simple and straight forward.  We have an awesome team of hard working techs.  They were up at 4:45am each day this weekend testing wax and preparing fast boards for the tricky snow conditions and we had great skis all weekend despite the dirty slushy snow (Eli Brown photo). 

Qualfication on Saturday's individual sprint.  It was a pretty flat course so about half of the top women double poled the course on skate skis.  I opted for classic skis and was happy with that decision qualifying tied for  20th.  I still have not ever double poled a classic sprint and it would probably have to be pancake flat for me to confidently forgo striding.  I was a bit tempted to try in Asiago but the World Cup is so competitive that it's not a great place to test new things and gamble with seconds (National Nordic Foundation photo)

The start of my quarterfinal.  I'm on the far right of the photo next to the boards.  The quarterfinal was really fun although I got out double poled at the line by Katja Visnar from Slovenia in the fluorescent suit.  She was on skate skis so I got an advantage on the uphill but I couldn't quite hold her off on the downhill and into the finish when she had the upper hand lacking klister on her skis.  I still qualified for the semifinals and had a bit of a bobble at the start with one of the Finns in my heat and ended up 5th in my heat for 10th overall, my first top 10 of the season!  

The start of Sunday's team sprint final with a view of the stadium

Both the US teams were in the same semifinal in the team sprint but we were able to work together along with Finland break away from the rest of the field.  Sophie and I finished second in our semifinal behind the Finns with Sadie and Kikkan right behind us.

Sadie and I skied together for basically every second of every leg.  Sadie is an incredibly strong classic skier so it was fun to ski with her.

Here are Sadie and I wearing our relay socks in the mix in the final.  It was an incredibly tight and competitive race and one of the most aggressive races in which I've ever skied.  Game on from the sound of the gun and the twisty narrow course made it very exciting with lots of elbows being rubbed.

Sophie and Kikkan hang over their poles after a strong finish.  This time we finished 8th just seconds behind Kikkan and Sadie in 5th and not too far from the podium either.  

Big hugs after the race!  Sophie and I grew up skiing together in VT and on the New England JO team and then were teammates at Dartmouth so it was really fun to race at World Cup team sprint final together!

1 comment:

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