XCFeedsMore Estonia Musings From Pete Davis

Avatar Sverre CaldwellJanuary 29, 2011

!–StartFragment– p class=”MsoNormal”span style=”font-size:16.0pt”biEASTERN EXPOSURE/i/b/span/p p class=”MsoNormal”Sixty of them make up a minute.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”Over the course of almost four minutes, a single second doesn’t seem like a significant amount of time.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes” /spanAt the Junior World Championships, a fraction of a second recalls the saying that a “imiss is as good as a mile/ispan style=”font-style:normal””.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanTwo of the young guns from the US Team learned that lesson the hard way yesterday, missing the qualifying cut for the round of 30 by less than a second.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/span/p p class=”MsoNormal”Stratton Mountain School Senior, Heather Mooney skied an incredible qualifier, only to miss the cut by a single position.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanShe ended up in 31supst/sup place, missing the cut by a mere fraction of a second.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanSMS PG skier, Skyler Davis suffered a similar fate, missing the hot seat spot by 0.8 seconds.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanIt was agonizing watching his qualifying standing slide from the mid teens, into the twenties and then stall out in the hot seat for about half a dozen racers.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes” /spanSitting in the final, 30supth/sup, span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanqualifying spot “the hot seat” is nerve wracking, especially when a roster of potentially fast Finnish skiers haven’t yet left the start.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanEventually, the axe fell and Davis joined his USA teammates on the sidelines to cheer on the only member of the team, male or female, who made it into the quarterfinals: University of Alaska racer, from Washington state, Erik Bjornsen.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanBjornsen, skied a great qualifier, placing tenth. span style=”mso-spacerun:yes” /spanDespite skiing a great qualifying round, Erik was eliminated in the quarterfinals.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanUnlike many of the races in the USA, including the USA National Championships, the “lucky loser” designation is based on time, not lowest bib number.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanTo the uninitiated, for a few hopeful minutes, it looked like Erik might advance into the semis based on a low bib-lucky loser spot, but when faster heats arrived at the finish, the cards weren’t in his favor. span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanTough break./p p class=”MsoNormal”The depth of the field here in Oteppa is staggeringly deep.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanLess than 14 seconds separated 1supst/sup from 30supth/sup in the qualifying round.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanIn the men’s qualifier, Russia and Norway claimed the first 8 spots.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanFinland, Sweden and Germany peppered racers throughout the top 30 with surprisingly fast results from France, Austria and host nation Estonia.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThe Czech Republic, Japan and Kazackstan (insert BORAT joke here…) all had single skiers whom made the cut to the quarterfinals.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”After two brilliantly sunny days, the first day of sprints featured ominously dark skies, very high humidity, warmer temperatures but a biting wind.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThe chill from the high humidity and wind cut right to the bone.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanWaxing was a challenge.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”When the smoke cleared, there were no surprises on the podium for men or women’s events. /p p class=”MsoNormal”Germany, Norway, Norway for the women.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”Russia, Norway, Russia for the men.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”(iThe top six in the final heat for the men ended up:span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/ispan style=”font-style:normal”o:p/o:p/span/p p class=”MsoNormal”iRussia, Norway, Russia, Norway, Russia, Norway.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanHmmm…anyone see a pattern here?)o:p/o:p/i/p p class=”MsoNormal”iOTHER ESTONIAN OBSERVATIONS:/i/p p class=”MsoNormal”The entire event is broadcast LIVE on Estonian TV, nationwide.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanIt’s pretty cool to watch the events everywhere you go during the day.span style=”mso-spacerun:yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal” All racers are listed by nationality and club.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThe sole exception is Russia.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanNo club affiliations are associated with the athletes.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThey are RUSSIAN!!/p p class=”MsoNormal” Slovenia has the best racing suits (especially if you’re racing in Vermont during deer season).span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanTheir distinctive, fluorescent yellow, neon suits make a real fashion statement!/p p class=”MsoNormal” Many of the powerhouse teams may be found skiing at odd hours on the public trailsspan style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanfound throughout Oteppa.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanIt’s not uncommon to run into packs of Norgwegian, Swiss, Swedish or German skiers out on the public trails at the end of the day./p p class=”MsoNormal” XXXL JUMBO-JUMBO-tron screen in the stadium is impressive.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThe film crews have been doing an amazing job capturing the action and replaying photo finishes in slow motion on a huge viewing screen the size of Rhode Island.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanThe announcing at the events is great with two emcees calling the shots.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”One of the duet patters away in Estonia… (I think?) while the other splits time between the native tongue and English.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal”Standard for all Sprint starts is an eerie, Valkerie-ish kind of chant complete with Big-Ben ticking clock sound effect in the background.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanAs soon as the start pistol is fired, piped in massive crowd-cheering sound effects blast forth from the speakers.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanRowdy fan participation is heartily encouraged!/p p class=”MsoNormal”No “B” finals.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanNo low-bib lucky losers.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanIt’s all about time. /p p class=”MsoNormal”Speaking of which… they run the events with incredible precision.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanNo delays, instant results, confirmed with video and all events are precisely on schedule./p p class=”MsoNormal”Although we haven’t encountered any while skiing around the countryside, Wild Boar may be found on virtually every restaurant’s menu.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spaniPork tare tare/ispan style=”font-style:normal” anyone?/span/p p class=”MsoNormal”The ‘second highest … er, place?’ (ihill, mountain or small Alp would be a stretch/ispan style=”font-style:normal”…) in the Oteppa region is topped off with a massive, wooden viewing tower.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanTrust in Estonian architecture and carpentry skill is a must for those willing to ascend the tower.span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /spanOnce you arrive on the top deck, you are afforded a view of miles and miles of trees, right out to the Estonian horizon./span/p p class=”MsoNormal” /pp class=”MsoNormal”o:p/o:p/p p class=”MsoNormal” o:p/o:p/p p class=”MsoNormal” o:p/o:p/p p class=”MsoNormal”span style=”mso-spacerun: yes” /span/p p class=”MsoNormal” o:p/o:p/p p class=”MsoNormal” o:p/o:p/p !–EndFragment–div class=”blogger-post-footer”img width=’1′ height=’1′ src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4680416899705879324-259149938912724396?l=smsxc.blogspot.com’ alt=” //div

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