Yesterday was rough. For whatever reason my body took a good hour to feel normal. I almost didn’t make it that long. The course here is brutal. Pretty much the first 1/3 of the 8.3 k loop we raced is up hill. Then a few more significant hills are mixed in the next 5 k that makes for one of the toughest courses I have seen. I dig it. To add to the abusiveness of that the snow here is pretty tricky. Big variations of dry to wet, firm to mush to ice. I also learned last night that the snow they make here is from lakes so there is a lot of organic material in there that make structure clog up quickly. Very challenging waxing venue and yesterday showed with all the people dropping and guys who are usually on top finishing back in the field. I got hit with a little of that as well. I’ll spare you the details but my #3 pair in testing ended up being my best ones by a bit and it took two ski changes (we were allowed 3) to figure that out. On to my race…
The start was rough and I was in the accordion at the back 3rd of the pack that finally snapped and I just had nothing. People would come up from behind and I could do nothing to stay with them. Just felt like there was no power left in my body. I knew I was in for a really long day and seriously considered pulling out of the race midway into the second lap. Then I started to suck it up and remember that this is Holmenkollen. Who knows if I ever get to race here again and I will not let myself drop out in the biggest race there is. The next ski change I got on a faster pair and my body started to come around. I managed to pick off quite a few guys over the last 30k of the race but by that time any hope of a good result was long up the trail and it was just an inner battle. The crowd out there was unbelievable, all 50,000 of them, and I heard quite a few American voices along the way.
I just now got back from dinner and drinks at the US Embassy here in Oslo following Kikkan getting 2nd in the sprint this afternoon. Pretty awesome.
Tomorrow morning I make my way back to Alaska for 4 days before heading to Maine for the 50k Nationals and SuperTour Finals. Two more weeks and season complete.