Monday, November 28, 2011

The Ruka Triple

The World Cup has officially begun again and we have just finished our second weekend of racing with the second annual Ruka Triple, otherwise known as the Kuusamo mini tour. It is a stage race, three races in three days, all accumulative on one another. The first day this year was a classic sprint, the second, a 5K skate race, and yesterday, the final day, a 10K classic. The last day is a pursuit start, meaning they start the person leading the race from the previous two days first and the send the rest of the field respectively, based on how far back they are to the leader. So, for example, I started 48th, 2 minutes and 18 seconds behind Marit Bjorgen, the leader from the previous two days. It makes the whole race really exciting, not matter where you start, as if you start first you have the whole field chasing you and if you start last, you have the whole field to chase! It is like the best game of tag that I can imagine, so, as I had some chasing to do, I thought of myself as the “IT” person and went to work. At the end of the day I ended up 35th, just out of the points (top 30) and with the 36th best classic leg of the day, which is my best classic result on the World Cup ever, so I was satisfied and really proud of my teammates who all had great races at some point over the weekend.

Last weekend we opened the World Cup season with two races in Sjuesen, Norway. The first was a 10K skate race, in which I tied my best ever World Cup result with an 18th, and then we had an awesome relay the next day finishing in a pack of 5 teams, but ending up 9th. It is really fun to be able to see some real improvements as a country and team on the World Cup, and the stoke is high, momentum is building and we’re fired up for the rest of the season.

As for the rest of my life besides racing, I am doing really well. I am traveling with a great group of people and I am stoked to be in Europe for the whole season this year. It has been really fun getting to see all of our Swedish friends from this summer, especially Anna Haag and Charlotte Kalla. We have actually been going on team jogs with our two girls teams! I cooled down with some of the Italians after the race yesterday as well and am really enjoying getting to know people on other teams, which I hadn’t taken advantage of in past years on the World Cup. So, that’s been a highlight of the season so far.

Today we leave Kuusamo to go to Davos, Switzerland, probably the most relaxing and one of the most beautiful stops on the World Cup. This year, however, we will be leaving a 5K manmade loop here for a 1.4K manmade loop in Davos! Hopefully it will snow next week so I can ski some of my favorite trails! Mary, Chris and Maia Stone will be at the World Cup that will be held there in 2 weeks, so I will get to see some really good friends and am really hoping to be able to take them on a long ski up one of the pretty valley’s here! SNOW DANCE!!!

Below are a few pictures from our travels, but there are not as many as I was envisioning! Guess I need to actually get the camera out a bit more often instead of just taking mental images! More soon.

Guys relay team in Sjuesen

Girls on relay day!

We have had a lot of Birthdays this trip and here is Sadie on her night

I got to sit in the leaders chair for a while in the first race of the year, as I had an early bib number, so that was really fun. I can see why people want to win, they hook you up with furs and a comfy chair to sit in, it's pretty awesome!

A photo Max Cobb (USA Biathlon) sent me from the Sjuesen weekend.