One weekend of racing in the books! While our European contingent had their first World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland, the domestic contingent took on the opening Super Tour races in West Yellowstone, MT. Overall the analysis of the weekend was everyone was solid, but with some room for improvement. On the US side, Annie Pokorny had a really great skate sprint qualifier racing into 2nd place, with Annie Hart, Erika, and Katherine all qualifying for the rounds. Ben qualified 1st in the sprints, and Paddy Caldwell qualified for his first open heats…EVER.
Across the pond both Andy and Simi qualified for the classic heats, with Jessie taking an unlucky spill on the Kuusamo hills and Sophie cheering on while her elbow continues to (very nicely I might add) heal. The second day brought a standout performance for junior Katharine Ogden, who absolutely dominated and flew into second place in Montana (and also an auto qualify for World Juniors). Ben Saxton demonstrated that he isn’t just a sprinter, matching his 11th place on the sprint day on the distance day (woohoo!). Finally, Andy celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday! So if you haven’t already, be sure to send him a belated happy happy!
Here are some notes and quotes from some of my speedy and attractive teammates, and keep on checking in as our season continues.
It’s always a bit of a toss up to know exactly how the World Cup season is going to start, at least for me. Kuusamo always hosts a really tough field of skiers, and if you’re off of your race fitness or speed by even just a little bit, it really shows. But having qualified decently well in last weekend’s classic sprint, I’m fairly happy with how the season started. I know that it’s a very long road to the World Champs in Falun and I’m really looking forward to skiing faster and feeling even better as the season progresses. Over here in Europe, we’re missing our SMS T2 teammates dearly, but we’re cheering loud from 8,000 miles away and can’t wait to see how these next string of early winter races unfolds for all of them!
West should be looked at as a win-win situation. If you do really well, you have good confidence and a great start going into the season. If you totally blow it, you have an entire season to pick yourself up, and the motivation to do so. If you ask me, this weekend at west I won twice, but in two different ways. On Friday, I made it farther into the heats than I ever had (B final…which I didn’t even know we still did) and surprised myself with every round. On Saturday, I surprised myself with how hard I could go while also not going as fast as I wanted. I finished well, but have the fire in my belly to want to finish better. I’m proud of the team and can’t wait until next weekend!
It was a disappointing weekend result wise, Kuusamo has some of the more challenging courses we race all year so it can be a rude awakening back to the World Cup. We also faced some pretty tricky waxing conditions especially on sprint day so it left me wanting much more in the heats. It’s good to get some of these hard weekends out of the way early in the season and I think we only get better from week to week so we are looking forward to another sprint in Lillehammer
This weekend was a good reminder to keep things in perspective. Although not everyone had the results they were looking for we did see a few awesome finishes with KO skiing to 2nd in the skate distance and Annie P racing to her best sprint finish to date. We also enjoyed some fun skiing in West Yellowstone, soaked up some Western sunshine, got those first race butterflies out of the way, celebrated an incredibly tasty Thanksgiving thanks to some very generous and talented parents.
This past weekend was good, I was very happy with the sprint qualifier (Ben qualified 1st!) and there were a lot of positives to take away from how I skied the races, even if I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results. I’m feeling good for the upcoming weekend, I was dealing with a cold leading up to West, so having my full health heading up to the Bozeman races gets me excited.
As for me, I wrote about my race experience on my blog Annie-Hart.com. Head on over to check it out!
Goob out! xoxo