After 2 days of straight traveling I arrived in Spain for the Telemark World Championships. Finally!! We are staying in this small village down in this valley with gasping mountains surrounding us. I can not imagine more then 500 people living here full time. The food….amazing! Our dinners are 4 courses, candlelight might I add.
Race day!! Today was the classic. (the classic is the event that has the longer skate section) I have been skiing very well as of lately and felt confident. The atmosphere here is definitely of that of a World Championship venue. All the athletes are just touch more focused and you can feel the intensity among them. I really thought there was going to be more athletes competing but apparently countries like Norway decided to only bring their top racers. Not sure what their thinking is there but it makes for a tough field of competition. In todays classic due to the fact that you had to prequalify there were just under 40 male racers that started. I do expect more guys to race tomorrow since nobody has to prequalify.
The goal today was to be in the top 20. 2 years ago at the Worlds in Norway I finished in the 50s. OK Race Time! It is just amazing the small details that go into ski racing. Down to your set routine that consists of…eating, peeing, stretching, eating, hydrating, peeing again, cleaning your goggles, visualizing the course, visualizing the course again, drinking more water, stretching, getting your heart rate up, bla bla and all this takes place up at the start. It is quite nerv racking actually! My turn came to race and I was quite excited, nervous, and anxious. I ripped out of the gate and quickly got into a good grove. Felt really good on the top section of the course. I actually felt smooth for a change. Up next came the jump. The line was set quite a ways down the hill. It was my game plan to jump for the fences. I knew that the line was set far down the hill and I had to avoid that 3 second penalty. So I did what I planned and jumped as far as I could. Yep, easily cleared the line and over shot the landing. Whooops….I jumped so far it took me two gates to recovery and ended up taking two penalties for not making clean telemark turns. Well, in hindsight it was still the right call…2 seconds is better then 3 seconds. After the jump was the steep section of the course. I skied it pretty conservatively but overall solid. Coming off the steep we had a flat section of 8 gates that led us to the wrap. The wrap is nothing like we train in the US. The wraps over here in Europe are huge. I remember going into the flat section and the wrap telling myself to take my foot off the gas so that I can tear through the skate section. Skied the wrap solid and off into the skate section. There was uphill skate section that was a killer. This was my main focus…to save just enough energy to be able to crush it. I knew this was going to be a key section of the course. Well…the unexpected happened. I skied solid to this point thus far but on the uphill section of the skate I stepped on my own pole and fell. Ahhhh just thinking about it makes me cringe. But yes I fell in the skate. Not good one bit. I got up, poled up hill from a dead stop and finished the rest of the skate section. I crossed the finish line in disbelief. Who falls in the skate section? Apparently it was my turn to take a digger. BUT…that is ok! I am still happy! My result…..25th. hmmmmph not too bad considering a fall in the skate section. To be honest I am satisfied with that result. Clean that up in the next few days and hopefully I can break that top 20 mark.
Tomorrow we have the qualifiers for the parallel. Basically every competitor races by themselves and the top 16 advance to the actual parallel on Thursday. It is going to be tough to make it through the qualifiers but is it obtainable, YES. I am glad that I got up after my little dramatic spill today and finished strong. It shows me that I am right in there with the top guys. I need to ski my best to have a shot of being in the top 16. The plan…. #charging.