Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sprint Racing

Sprint racing can be incredibly fun but it also can be incredibly frustrating.  Sometimes it seems like tactics and speed happen effortlessly while other times it feels like this weird combination of being frantically stuck, spinning your wheels without making progress.  My last couple sprints have felt more like that latter.  I've finished sixth in both my quarterfinals and I've crossed the finish line wanting just a little more or feeling like I had more to give.  In a longer race there is always enough distance and time to give your all and leave everything out on the course which isn't always the case in sprinting.  Sprints are fast and exciting but leave less margin for error and sometimes they are over before you're ready.  The competition is tight on the World Cup and often times first through 30th place are within five seconds of or less of each other in qualifying.  Cruising through quarterfinals and semifinals doesn't happen and it's game on from the minute the gun is fired.

Two weekends ago we raced at altitude in Davos, Switzerland.  My legs did not recover from the morning's qualification quite like I had hoped and going over the last hill in my heat my legs flooded and I felt like I was barely able to stand up much less ski well for the last few hundred meters.  This past weekend racing in Toblach, Italy, I felt like I had the opposite problem when my legs felt great but my tactics on the last couple corners were less than stellar.  So I was eliminated each day sooner than I had hoped.  I left the race course wishing for a do over button but I held on tightly to valuable lessons and experience from each day which I will use in a future sprint.  Part of the process is simply standing up to the plate with a bat in a hand and ready to swing with all your might.  With enough tries you will connect and be the one who finds the opening through the pack, has an ounce of extra punch over the top of a hill,  or blazes down the finishing lanes in the lead.  Racing may be over for 2015 but I'll be back at it in 2016 fired up for more races and new opportunities.

Here are a few pictures from Davos and Toblach.  Happy holidays to all!

Caitlin decorated my drink belt!

Our awesome wax staff also happens to play together in a band!  Here are JP, Jessie, Andy, Tim, and Andrew playing a little concert for us at the Hotel Kulm in Davos.

Sprint qualifier in Davos (Marcel Hilger photo)

Pain face grimace (Marcel Hilger photo)

Neither Davos nor Toblach have any natural snow but both venues did a great job providing awesome race courses and great skiing with manmade snow.

Mountains grass and some mamade snow in the stadium in Toblach.  The race course climbs up and over the roof of  building with the flags on the right of this photo.

Evening jog with the ladies on a night before one of the races.  Mama Kikkan came to visit us for the past two weeks!

Some of the hard core Italian fans coming out to cheer

Sprinting in Toblach (Toko US/Nordic Focus photo)

PODIUM! Simi skied so smoothly and powerfully, making the amazing result look easy!  I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more of these results from him this winter!

Without any natural snow I went for a run one day on some of the trails in the valley

The Dolomites!

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