Today I felt like I was thrown into the big leagues and it was scary….but fun! It felt too good to be true when I heard 5th place announced after my name as I hung over my poles in an exhausted state after today’s qualifier. Really 5th… my goal had just been to qualify. Today’s skate sprint in Munio featured lots of the big names and big teams and we had joked that it was almost a World Cup. So then I spent the rest of the day with my eyes wide open, just taking it all in. At one point while I was skiing around between heats Arianna Follis and Petra Madjic were standing in the middle of the trail, loudly discussing the format of today’s sprint race. Neither of them knew whether there would be B finals or not so I very meekly and quickly added, “No B final” to their conversation as I double-poled around them off the side of the trail, making sure to give them and their conversation as wide of a berth as possible. Then I sped up to ski away quickly, just feeling out of place. Then as I lined up for my semi-final, my heart rate skyrocketed. Petra Madjic and Justina Kowalczyk, two woman I had watched on TV last winter during the Olympics ewere both standing next to me along with some other people who also seemed really big and fast. Then the gun went off and we were off. I knew I didn’t want to lead again after seeing the effects of the draft in my quarterfinal so I settled into 2nd. The pace seemed fast but not that fast so when I saw Madjic coming up on my left side I tried to jump in behind her. But then from behind I heard the scariest combination of a loud bark, yell, hup, and I’m not sure what else coming from Kowalczyk who was also going for that same line. I didn’t know what to do but I knew I didn’t want to get in her way so I just stopped skiing for a moment, just long enough for my chance to disappear. I tried to get by people a few more times as Madjic and Kowalczyk were skiing away but I couldn’t muster enough aggression to really make a move and get by. It may have been my most the terrifying race but I can’t wait to get out there again! The heats in Europe are a lot more intense than in the US so I’m psyched to get more experience with the tough competition! It was also very exciting to see Kikkan throw down the hammer for the win. The fun continues this weekend with distance classic and skate races, tomorrow and Sunday. Thanks to Dick and Pepa for the ski waxing and thanks to the team for lots of great cheering! All these pics are courtesy of Judy!
My quarterfinal heat
Tim with a great race face!
No caption necessary for this one