I’m the last American athlete in the Whistler Olympic Village. It’s a little hard to believe that what in all likelihood are my last Olympics are done. Any athlete spend so much time, energy, sweat, and money to get to the Olympics and now that is over it is a little surreal. Fortunately I don’t have much time to dwell on it. Racing continues in a big way with World Cups the next two weeks. Next Saturday a 30k pursuit and the following weekend a 50k skate in Oslo, site of the 2011 World Championships.
So yesterdays 50k was by far my best race of the Games. I settled in early and didn’t try to force my way up, instead picked up places where it was easy too. Taking the inside track on long sweeping corners and working the tops of hills and fast lines to avoid bottlenecks on downhills. Before long I was right up front cycling forward and back in the pack as will happen in mass starts. 20k in, I made my first ski change with about 15 others and by the top of the second climb we had caught the pack again and was back near the front without too much effort by 27k. My second pair wasn’t quite as good as my first and I really wanted to get back on the first pair that was kicking easier and were a little faster so I made a switch at 30k with a handful of others. That was where I lost the pack. Of the people who switched when I did only one made it back to the group. I was so close to getting back up to them, only 4 or 5 seconds by the top of the course before we descended and hit a long gradual section and they were gone… I have to say I’m a little annoyed with myself for the decision to change when I did… A Czech skier and I battle the rest of the way until 2k to go when I made a little surge on a climb and dropped him and I came across the line in 28th. My best international result of my career. I left the race happy that I was able to do that but wondering “what if”… Unlike most years I get two more great chances to race these guys. Can’t wait!
Thank you to everyone who has helped me out over the years and all those who have been cheering me on the last few weeks. So many people have played a roll in getting me to this point and I so grateful to each of you. It has been an awesome experience!