This one’s going to be short because I’m on my way to Vancouver soon and I have to pack! Just wanted to let everyone know how the World Championships went in South Korea.
After a year of physical and mental preparation, it was great to see the work pay off in Pyeong Chang. I started off pretty bad on the shooting range in the first race, the 10km Sprint, but my skiing was faster than it had been all year and I was able to just squeak into the Pursuit (top 60 qualify) in 56th place. The next race was different. The conditions were very gusty and I was able to hit 16 of 20 targets, moving up to 22nd Place. I would say this is my best performance of the year so far and definitely the farthest – “place-wise” – that I have moved in a Pursuit all year.
After the Pursuit, we moved on to the Individual. I felt great all week up until the morning of the race, when I woke up feeling nauseous and dizzy. But, it’s World Championships! This is the most important race series of the year. So I decided, even with the upset stomach, that I would start the race and see how it went. As it so happens, I did feel awful on the tracks, but I was able to move up in the standings with better-than-average shooting. I missed two on the day and placed… yes… you guessed it, 22nd!
So after three races, I had two respectable finishes under my belt and now the prospect of qualifying for the Mass Start competition became a real possibility. During the rest of the year, the 30-competitor Mass Start field is filled with the top thirty ranked athletes based on the overall World Cup score for the season. However, at World Champs, the Mass Start field is filled with: 1st – Medal winners from the Sprint, Pursuit, and Individual, 2nd – those athletes ranked 15th or higher in the overall that were not medal winners, and 3rd – they backfill the with the top-30 ranked athletes bases solely on rankings determined by the first three races at World Champs. With my two 22nds, I qualified for the 29th bib!
Racing in the Mass Start at W. Champs has been my goal (I even wrote it down) since the beginning of the year so seeing it come to fruition was for me the most satisfying point of the season… so far! I had a mediocre race, but since there are only 30 athletes allowed to race, you can’t be worse than 30th place! I finished in 18th with 5 penalties. I was satisfied with my performance but I know I can do better… just need to qualify for more Mass Start opportunities.
So, now, after a brief training block at home in Lake Placid, I am about to head for Vancouver for the start of the Spring World Cup’s (the last three World Cup’s in the 08/09 Season). We head first to Canada, then Trondheim, Norway, then Khanty Mansiysk, Russia for the World Cup finals. After three weeks of intense racing and travel, I fly home to Lake Placid on March 31st. I’m really excited for the last three race series! Hope this post finds everyone well and enjoying Spring skiing (or fishing/running/ swimming) wherever you are!