American skier Carl Swenson placed 11th and 12th in the Kuusamo, Finland individual start classic and skate World Cup races this weekend. A great World Cup start for Carl! I got a chance to ask him some post race questions on the phone Sunday night.
Sunday night 11 PM European time:
Hey Carl I hope I didn’t wake you up?
– Hey Tor, no problem, I’m still in the car driving back from the race.
Do you have time to talk about this weekend’s World Cup races?
-Yeah, it’s good that you called, it might help me stay awake.
Where are you?
– I’m driving from Kuusamo, Finland to Tromso Norway. It’s a 10-hour drive and I’m about 200-kilometer from Tromso right now. This is (as you know) way north and it has been pitch dark since 3.30 this afternoon.
How was your post-race recovery, warm down and such?
– Not the best, but could have been worse. The post-race doping test was kind of slow and set my departure back an hour or so. The cool down was jogging back and forth to gather my skis and gear before I started the drive back to Tromso. I checked out of the hotel before I went to the race at 10.30 this morning for the 12.30 start. I’m still in my wind-briefs so I’ll shower tomorrow.
So this was really the old â€œcrank up the heat in the carâ€ warm-down?
– I guess you can say so.
What’s next on the agenda?
– I’m flying to Canada on Tuesday to do the World Cup races at Sovereign Lakes and in Canmore.
What can you tell us about the surprising 11th place in Saturday’s 15-kilometer classic World Cup race; did you have any performance indications that this was possible?
– The classic result was a surprise for me too. I have never felt this good in a classic race before. The only thing that changed last year was that instead of me always skiing faster in skating than in classic, I started having the same results in classic as in skating. No one noticed this however since I pretty much skied slow all season.
Did you have any support staff/waxing help or such?
– I had a parking pass and went to the coaches meetings on my own to get the necessary information. I hope that this was the beginning of the end of my coaching career. I got great waxing help from Norwegian Hallgeir Lundemo from Fischer. The conditions were a mix of new and man-made snow at -4 Celsius. Klister covered with hard wax. I had great skis, but it’s a lot more fun to have the teammates and coaching staff around. I talked to Trond (Nystad) a couple times and he was very excited.
Did you know during the race that you were skiing fast?
– I started early but I started to understand that I was skiing fast when Veerpalu (who ended up 5th) caught me at the beginning of my third lap after he had just started. He got a 5-10 second gap on me, but I was able to keep him right in sight at the same short distance for the entire third lap. I skied with Marcus Hassler (26th place) for the middle part.
What about today’s 15-kilometer freestyle race where you placed 12th?
– I had high expectations for today’s skate race. I was happy with the result, but had hoped for even better. I was now seeded among the top 30, which is the first time for me. I had bib # 78 out of 90. The World Cup leader starts last. Everyone in the Red group are skiing fast and I skied by myself. I had an idea that it was going well since I almost caught Lukas Bauer who started 30-seconds ahead of me.
Are you skiing better this early since you didn’t bike race this summer and fall and did ski specific training like rollerskiing instead?
– That might definitely be a part of it. Work hard at anything and it comes together at some point.
Were these your best ever back-to-back World Cup results?
– I was 5th in the 50-k freestyle and 11th in the pursuit at the 2003 Worlds in Val di Fiemme, so I guess this was close.
Did this race mean anything for you financially?
– Not really. FIS pays for top ten so I just missed that.
Which races are you planning on racing in the Canadian December World Cup races?
– The three distance races. I’ll skip the sprints.
What was the most important about these two races?
– To get confirmed that I’m doing the right thing and that I’m on track with my training.
What are your plans after the Canadian World Cup races?
– I’ll be training in Park City, Utah and participate in the US Nationals at Soldier Hollow in early January.
Thanks Carl, stay awake and watch out for reindeer and local snowmobile gangs.
– Yeah, OK