Saturday’s race was a 1.4km skate sprint. The course went kind of like this: looong uncomfortable uphill (do I one-skate or offset?), left turn, down, short steep uphill, down down, HANGALEFT,NOWHARDRIGHT, small hill, swooping left downhill turn, 100m to finish. It was pretty warm in Rossland, and the snow got really soft and deep on the uphills, especially the first one. In my qualifier, I opted to one-skate that uphill, even though it felt like I was fighting just to keep my skis gliding and my body kept trying to slow down when my focus would waver for one second. It didn’t feel like a powerful peppy one-skate I’m used to in sprint races. The rest of the course felt fairly good, but I couldn’t get over how tough that first hill felt! As I’m walking back to the start to get my jacket and pants, Buff boss Peter walks towards me and goes “Well, that was feckin’ shite!” (Mrs. Brown’s Boys reference, a crazy Irish comedy that I introduced him to that was introduced to me by my Irish room mate!). At hearing this, my heart kind of sinks and I think yep, I guess it was a crappy qualifier. And then Peter proceeds to say “You won the qualifier!” And I go “No way. No way. I don’t believe you.” I’m honestly in disbelief, so I check the live results streaming in on the tv set up in the start area and sure enough my name is right at the top. I’m still thinking ‘these are unofficial results, I wonder if this is right’. Sure enough, my name stayed in the #1 spot, and I had the fastest qualifying time! Woohoo! I credit it to one-skating the first hill where most of the other girls offset. One skating allowed me to have a narrower “V” and kept my skis moving more directly down the trail instead of all the side-to-side that happens in offset.
I was in a great mood heading into the heats that afternoon, I was getting loads of support and encouragement from all my friends back home via facebook and twitter (thanks everyone!), and I was ready to go all the way. I led my quarter final from start to finish, and was reminded how exhausting that first hill really is, so I made the decision to not lead up that hill in the next heats. In my semi final I tucked in behind Amanda on the hill who did all the grunt work, and then finished that heat in second behind Caitlin Gregg. Top 2 automatically advance to the A-final. Woohoo! I think this was my first ever Senior Women A-final! I’m already so happy to have made to the A-final, this was the last race of the day, and I know it’s going to be fun. I was in fairly good position going up the 2nd hill but was stuck behind another skier. After the S turn I was carrying a lot more speed than the person ahead of me but had Emily and Heidi coming up on my right so I had no choice but try to squeeze by on the left; unfortunately there wasn't much room and I lost some time on the first girls there. I pushed really hard around the last corner and I don't know if it was adrenaline or momentum but I started gaining on the girls ahead of me and made it to the line for a photo finish with 2nd! Who knows what could have happened if there were a couple more metres before the line! That's sprinting though, and both 1st and 2nd were well deserved! Emily led from start to finish! If I could go back and race the final again, I think I'd pick a different line on the second to last uphill and make my move a little earlier to put me in a better position for the finish!
After crossing the finish line there is always that part of you that wants more, but I was pretty pumped about my race and getting to take a step up onto the senior women podium for the first time!
Sunday was a classic 10k and the waxing was tricky. I picked my softest pair of skis for this race because I wanted to have really easy kick for all those big steep uphills. It was around zero degrees and we were struggling to nail the kick. I kept asking for more grip in warmup because again, I wanted to have perfect grip for this race. My skis ended up icing up pretty badly and I could never kick the ice completely away, so I was lurching forward when trying to glide. Of course I think amost everyone’s skis were icing up to a certain degree, and I think I also could have pushed harder around the course. Not a stellar race, but I finished 13th overall and 2nd U23. Shout out to the Ninjas for some speedy racing! Ninja-Marr and Ninja-Zo killed it!
Thanks Madshus, LaCordée, Buff, and everyone else who has helped me along the way! I'm going into World U23 trials races in January with good chances of qualifying and I can't say enough about the support I'm feeling as a I prepare for these races! Getting pumped!
Skate Sprint qualifier results
Skate sprint heats results
Classic 10km results