With three straight days of racing in the only the second weekend of the World Cup, there were plenty of comments to go around. Here’s a look at what didn’t make it into the Ruka-Triple recaps from Kuusamo, Finland.
(Note: It’s pretty heavy on the men’s side, especially with the Canadians, probably because they were chatty about their performances on Sunday.)
On why athletes shouldn’t get too worked up about sub-par performances:
“If you really put too much emphasis and weight on these races you can get burned,” said Justin Wadsworth, head coach of the Canadian national cross-country ski team. “And OK, Northug wins, he wins. To get really good results, you need to peak a little bit; not just peak, but fine-tune it. I think our big goal of the year is still the Tour de Ski and the overall World Cup.”
“I wasn’t a happy camper for a long time … I was probably pretty miserable to be around, no that’s not true, our team’s great,” said Canadian Devon Kershaw after placing 20th overall, a weekend-best, in Sunday’s pursuit. “I wouldn’t call it a great race, but it was solid for sure.”
Teammate Chandra Crawford tweeted on Sunday: “Did what I could and went all out, finished the Ruka triple in 54th but stayed positive and pushed it the whole way. #goingforit”
“Perianne (Jones) … definitely she’s had a good summer of training, she just overanalyzed her racing in the sprints and just missed (qualifying) by a couple seconds,” said Canadian coach Eric de Nys. “If you have one bad day, it doesn’t dictate the rest of your season.”
“The result this weekend wasn’t what I was looking for but the season is still young and I’m still getting into the swing of things,” said American Andy Newell, who finished 72nd overall. “As a team we’re still off to a great start … it’s so much more fun to have a big group of US racers on the World Cup so we can always feed of each others’ success.”
“I was tempted to lie and said I crashed but the fact is those boys are fast.” — U.S. skier Tad Elliott, on finishing 122nd in Friday’s sprint.
“Goal (is to) move up, why not? (The pursuit is) a classic race. I don’t ski that sticky stuff on the bottoms of my skis well. I have worked on it and will give it hell.” — Elliott before Sunday’s 15 k classic pursit, in which he was 95th.
On keeping their heads straight:
“Team is in good spirits. The ladies are wrecking shop. So that’s fun for team (morale). The attitude is good and happy we get to get out of the dark Monday.” — Elliott.
“The team is doing great. We are all super excited for our women’s team and their success!” — Noah Hoffman, USST.
“I’m pretty easygoing, especially around race time. I knew what I had to do, try to catch a ride and stay with as many guys as I could (in the pursuit). I wasn’t feeling too much pressure, just ski my own race and it ended up OK.” — Lenny Valjas, CCC
“Lenny is just such a chilled out guy and has an amazing attitude 365 days a year.” — Kershaw.
On Kuusamo’s course and conditions:
“The course is very difficult with a massive amount of steep hills.” — Kris Freeman, USST.
“(Saturday) it was wet (raining/humid) and insanely windy out there as well — for an individual start, those are tough conditions to ski through — especially if you end up not seeing anyone out there.” — Kershaw.
“I’m looking forward to the 15km (Sunday). It is a much harder course — should be a blast.” — Graham Nishikawa (CAN) before the pursuit, in which he finished 81st.
“Everybody dealt with changing conditions (Saturday). I think the race was very fair, a hard course, and well organized.” — Hoffman.
On pre-race routines:
“I woke up late (Saturday around 9:30 a.m.), go for a short 10-15 min “wake up” run/walk … I eat, and other than that it’s a pretty chill scene. I lay around a bit, put my feet up, play some guitar, listen to music. … I’ve been trying to warm up a little longer/harder too than usual.” — Kershaw.
On why Sunday’s pursuit suited Canada’s Alex Harvey (11th) and Devon Kershaw (20th):
Note: They posted the seventh- and eighth-fastest 15 k times in the classic race, respectively.
“They’re both good classic skiers … when they get in a classic race where it’s a mass start or kind of group situation, they’re both very savvy and they ski very well in those situations. (Earlier in the year) when we saw the schedule had gotten changed to classic on the last day, we were all pretty excited.” — Wadsworth.
Kershaw tweeted on Sunday: “Good confirmation today that I’m not a complete bum. Laps 4 & 5 we pretty rough after a fast start, but definitely satisfied #finally”
On pacing in the jam-packed pursuit:
“Guys were just going bananas, like, really, really hard pace and you have to try to ski as smooth as you can and you can’t die. If you die it’s game over, and I kind of died. I had a bit of a half-die in there for a couple laps.” — Kershaw, 20th overall.
“You need to just start really fast from the gun … it might screw up your pacing a bit, but if you’re able to catch a couple guys, like 10 of 15 seconds ahead of you, then you can just sit on them and it gets easier. I was trying to do that, but the problem is, the guys that you’re trying to catch are 10 seconds ahead of you and are also trying to catch other guys 10 seconds ahead of them.” — Harvey, 11th overall.
On leaving it all out on the course:
“At the end, Devon was asking me if I was OK. I was really pale. When we went back into the wax room, I was just sitting on the chair, having a recovery drink, and our two coaches were wondering if I was OK, if I was going to pass out. I got really beat (Sunday), but I think it was good to finish the weekend like that.” — Harvey.
On Team Canada cutting it close after Sunday’s pursuit:
Note: The men’s race finished at about 1:45 p.m. in Kuusamo, then the athletes had to cool down before the bus left at 3:30 for the airport (they flew to Helsinki that evening).
“I don’t know what was harder, the race or packing the bus in time to get to the airport. … It’s pretty crazy what we can get done after a race. It’s pretty frantic.” — Eric de Nys.
On leaving the darkness of northern Finland:
Note: The Canadians were headed to Italy to train at altitude.
“Thinking about the Tour de Ski, because it’s coming fairly fast already, so just get some altitude in, some good weather, get our psychology up to 100 percent because after the first couple weekends of training in Scandinavia in November, it’s so dark. It’s pretty hard on the head.” — Harvey
Drew Goldsack tweeted on Sunday: “Now: Helsinki, FIN. Tomorrow: Zurich and on to Davos, SUI! #GetMeToTheSun”
“Kuusamo is a nice place to spend a couple of days, but we are all looking forward to the sunshine of the Alps.” — Hoffman.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.