Monday, March 19, 2012

World Cup Finals

        I had to ask myself where I was this morning. It was the second time that day the clocks read nine. The weekend was long and a lot happened. I've never made it to the WC finals in Khanty. The racing was a good experience. There was a highlight or two in there while some parts I would rather forget. Just because the field is tired and ready for a break doesn't mean the season won't end with a bang. With the right kind of athletes even the far reaches of Siberia can make for a great time.
       The sprint race was a decent one. Racing at 4:30 in the afternoon almost brought back some memories of high school racing back. I missed my first target in prone. This didn't make the last four hits easy victories, but they went down. Ski speed was a little better on the second loop. I jumped in a good draft behind  German team athlete Benadict Doll. I told myself not to let standing get away from me. For the past month I've been killing it in standing during training and then letting it crash in the races. I took my time and logged a 37 second range time... That's not a good time. I almost made it out with a clean till I missed the last shot... How original. The best part of the race was the last loop. According to the split I got from Armin I was in 48th leaving the stadium. I was with Doll again. We were both passing other racers and I wasn't about to take the lead over too early. I didn't make a move until the second to last climb. It was roughly 800 meters to go. Most of the time I put in on the field was in that last 800 meters. I finish 37th on the day. Just inside the points.
         The pursuit race was a bad race, to make a long story short. The only highlight was the my first prone stage. Clean in 35 is probably my best prone stage this year. After that I went on to miss two in the next two stages. I was moving down, but was still with a group worth racing with. I was certain that I took another two misses in that last stage. So, I naturally did two penalty  loops. The targets in Khanty are technically electronic, but they function similar to a mechanical one. I was off the mat and getting my poles on before the last target went down. I didn't know this and was not thrilled when I found out. On the other hand a 75% day is better for the seasonal average than a 70%. There was nothing great about ski speed and number of factors to blame for it. With the two mediocre races there was no chance of making the mass start on Sunday. For the most part (depending on the snow situation in Craftsbury) my season was over when I crossed the finish line.
         We were limited on staff for this trip and our wax tech told me that I could hang out at the disco as long as I wanted provided I was at the wax cabin my 12:30 the next day. Our wax techs are always claiming that they have it pretty rough. In Gara'a defense it wasn't that easy. I logged about two hours of skiing around on the three km loop. We would switch skis from foot to foot or trade one ski for the other every few minutes. The first round was to find the right grind, the second for wax, and the last was the individual tests with Tim and Lowell. In conclusion there is admittedly a lot of organised effort that goes into the skis you race on that day.
Architecture much? 
         The closing ceremony was nice. They honored the overall point leaders and then put on an impressive display of acrobatics and dancing. The whole field migrated to the disco afterwords. It was nice to have a chance to chat with the other teams while everyone just wined down. That care free "season is over" feeling was ominous at the party. I didn't bother with a cab and ran back to the hotel at five in the morning. A structured sleep schedule is useless in this situation. With the jet lag that was ahead of us it simply doesn't matter when you sleep. Most of the team had flight out of Munich later on that morning. We were optimistic in thinking that we might have a chance at making it. Those chances were shut down before the plane even landed. It's currently 4:30 AM  in Munich as I finish up this article. Lowell and I are both up. I won't have internet for a while so why not?

           I'm so sorely looking forward to being back home in Stockholm. This season has broke a lot of records. One of them being the most time spent on the road. In the back of my head, I was starting to miss home by the end of January but didn't admit it to myself because I wanted to keep the focus on racing well. Now all I can think about is maple syrup and peanut butter on waffles. With in 24 hours from now I'll be back in the 04783 zip code. Awake or asleep is questionable.

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