Simi goes over the last month of World Cup racing for the SMST2 team.
It’s hard to believe we’ve already been over the pond for almost a month! Time is definitely flying by. It’s been a good start to the ’15-’16 World Cup season. Northern Scandinavia, where we always begin the circuit, had very little snow and abnormally warm temps just before we arrived. Thankfully almost the entire northern region got dumped on the day before we got there. We arrived to great skiing on hard race courses, with cold temps keeping the conditions consistent and solid. Our warm up races in Gallivare, Sweden provided us with a great chance to shake out some of the kinks before hitting the World Cup season full-on. Jessie, Sophie, and Andy all had really solid results, with Jessie notching two wins in the classic sprint and 10 km skate races, and Andy and Sophie each taking 2nd in the classic sprint. I didn’t have my best day in the sprint and felt a bit slow and sluggish, especially in my quarterfinal heat. I had a really hard time adjusting to the time difference this time around, and for the first couple weeks over here I just didn’t have my normal race energy and felt a bit slow. But that happens when you race full time and are constantly hopping trains, planes, and automobiles to far flung places of the world. Our second weekend of racing, and opener for the World Cup season, continued with more great racing by the crew. Andy was the standout of the first day, skiing to a 4th place in the classic sprint with Jessie and Sophie both qualifying for the heats. I made a bad call on skis, choosing to go on zero skis (classic skis with a felt-like material for grip while striding instead of klister skis. It was a frustrating mistake, but I learned a very valuable lesson and left me hungry for more. Two more distance races closed out the mini-tour weekend in Kuusamo, Finland, with Jessie nailing a 16th in the 5 km skate race.
A short plane ride from Finland landed us in Oslo, Norway where we drove north to Lillehammer to find thin snow but loads of sunshine and fast, artificial snow. It’s always rejuvenating spending time in Lillehammer where the food is outstanding, the culture and people are beautiful, and the town boasts an impressive amount of Christmas ornaments hung above the pedestrian mall. The racing at this world class, World Cup venue was incredible last weekend. Some impressive individual performances were capped off with a 3rd place for the U.S. girls in the 4×5 km relays. Most impressive was Jessie’s anchor leg when she caught and passed several of the best skaters in the world and anchored the team home to a 3rd place, skiing the fastest skate leg of the day and smoking Norway’s number three team in the finish stretch to nab the 3rd step on the podium.
This weekend we’re gearing up for a skate weekend in Davos, Switzerland. Tomorrow’s races are the 15 km skate for the girls and the 30 km skate for the guys. Sunday will feature the skate sprint, a staple here in Davos in which we’ve had outstanding performances from SMS athletes over the years. We’re all psyched to be here, catching of plenty of vitamin D in the Swiss Alps when we’re not training or racing, and can’t wait for what will be some great racing by the U.S. crew tomorrow and on Sunday! Thanks for checking in, hope everyone back home is doing well and we’re definitely sending good winter vibes to everyone on the east coast!