The normality of the World Championship trip so far has been remarkable. Normal by comparison to other racing trips I’ve done in the past. The travel from Thunder Bay, through Toronto and Montreal to Munich went smoothly, as did the drive from Germany’s second largest airport to Seefeld, Austria.
Less could be said with the week of Eastern’s and lead up to my departure for Europe. During the two weeks after Trials in Thunder Bay we put in an aerobic training block, logging some longer skis and double days. This, combined with the increasing load of school heading into midterm’s, put a significant load on my system; but the greater evil was the stress I burdened myself with over it.
Despite having a mind weighted with inherent stress, I still found my racing head for 2 of the 3 races at Eastern’s last weekend. On the Friday I sprinted to third in qualification, then moved up (despite a self-inflicted face plant and subsequent push-up session) to second in the heats. My second-second place sprint finish and third podium this season!
The 10k skate on Saturday was a forgettable race;;; (to be continued… seeking some serious redemption next time)
Sunday’s 15k classic mass start was much better. I wound up just a few second shy of the podium in fourth place; granted, those seconds all went out when the racing got serious in the last 3k. (Results)
The race for the top 5 was still intact at the top of the Powerline hill, just before the steep herringbone hill (for those familiar with the course), but broke up through the back section. I got dropped pretty hard and lost fight until I came back around to the last kilometre of the course where I smartened up, refocussed, and made a big push for the closing section of the race to pick up fourth and pull back quite a bit of time on second and third.
All in all, a good weekend of racing.
Following Eastern’s I found myself pretty run down with the stress of the race weekend, the travel back to Thunder Bay being a bit haywire, cramming for midterms, panic writing lab reports, and last-minute packing for the next month and a half of racing on the fly.
Now, having arrived in Europe and the consensual focus being on preparing to race fast, I feel like I’m recovering from the life stress and travel reasonably well. I’ll still be keeping things on the light side until I’m 100% that I’m ready to go. More training or faster training isn’t going to make me much, if any faster next week. The deck has already been shuffled, now it’s just a matter of not messing up the deal.
Since arriving in Seefeld we’ve had a couple easy training outings. Yesterday afternoon we set out for a shake out run from our lodgings – zum Gourmet, the National Team frequently stays for training camps here and are part of the photo hall of fame in the entrance way.
Today we went for a short ski. The trails wind right around the town so we were able to walk to them from the hotel.
Most of the group skated today, but a few, including myself and Scott, opted to classic. Scott was here for pre-World Champs training in 2014 as well and had a pretty good sense of the trail systems so we were able to find some nice tracks. There were hundreds of people out skiing today. It was the weekend, so I’m not sure there will be so many tomorrow. Seeing so many recreational skiers out enjoying the trails was amazing, this would be a pretty sweet place to live, the ski culture is fantastic.
We will be training here in Seefeld until Thursday when we head back to Munich and fly to Bucharest, Romania then trek up to Rasnov. I haven’t heard much about the facilities there, but I have heard that the skiathlon races will be modified to skate mass starts… If that is any indication, I don’t think the conditions are great. We will see, there’s still time for winter to make an appearance and freshen the trails up with snowfall.