That’s how you say Madona. This little Latvian town was the site of some awesome Scando Cup races yesterday and the day before. If you’re not into too many words, please see my photo album from the trip so far.
We arrived late at night on Sunday, and moved into the hotel Janis. This hotel as quickly become one of my favorite in the world. Here’s why:
It’s just one of the nicest and most comfortable hotels that I get to stay in for ski races. However, Madona isn’t all that way. There are definitely rougher parts of town. Reese, Forrest and I ran by some big old apartment buildings one day:
It’s just a little bit awkward to jog by in your fancy US Team uniform, while traveling internationally and skiing, when people live in places like this. Granted, the apartments could be beautiful on the inside like Hotel Janis, but I am going to guess that they’re more variable than that. At least they have satellite internet!
The venue was pretty sweet though. That’s what I remember from Latvia last year- the roads are a little bumpy and it’s obviously not a rich country, but they have a great set of trails! Madona has done a fantastic job of creating an championship-caliber venue. The trails have some incredible new terrain, there is plenty of snow-making to hold races in low-snow years, and now there is also a wood and glass themed lodge that made me want to move in. In addition to the fun and spacious architecture in the lodge, I personally enjoyed the downhills on the outer loop. They have some of the most fun and well-designed downhill corners that I have encountered.
I was pretty happy with my sprint race there. In my heat I was able to get off the line well and establish my position early, which was key. It was a lot of fun to mix it up with such fast ladies, and a confidence boost to find that it wasn’t impossible to hang with them. The distance race was similar for me, it was a chance to prove that I could ski with girls of my age from other national development teams. I felt pretty good for a lot of it, and I was happy to be in the mix.
Now we’re in Estonia, getting ready to race a classic sprint tomorrow morning. It’s going to be cold again… my specialty! I’ll let you know how it goes!