The Oberhof, Germany, stages of the 2013 Tour de Ski are a wrap and athletes are already on to the next one in Val Mustair, Switzerland for a training day and freestyle sprint. There were some bits and pieces that didn’t make it into our writeups from the weekend, so while you wait for the action to continue here are a few more notable aspects of the prologue and pursuit races that took place on Saturday and Sunday.
On new pre-race considerations:
“It is kinda funny — when I pack by bags before the race now I have to think, ‘Well I might be on the podium today, better make sure I have dry clothes and my snack and everything I need because I may not get back to the wax cabin for a while.’ That’s kind of been a new thing for me. I used to think about that a little bit on sprint days but now distance days it’s a consideration too.” — Kikkan Randall, after winning the prologue.
On the prologue:
“I never felt like I was moving really fast, but I was just keeping it steady but I felt pretty on it technically on all the parts of the course, up hills, so I think I was just able to not die really at the end, and to the finish is a huge headwind and track is much slower than last year. It’s the exact same course, but I think it’s almost a full minute slower or a solid 30 seconds compared to last year, so yeah, you have to be strong at the finish and I was just able to hold it to the end.” — Alex Harvey
“As usual, like it always is in Oberhof, it was really windy and foggy, so last 300 m there was just a wicked headwind going into the stadium. That’s where everybody struggles coming in to the finish and I think that’s where you lose or gain time. I didn’t feel like I had a great finish so I probably lost a few places right there, that was prob the difference between the top 15 and the top 20.” — Andy Newell
“Today the effort was pretty hard and for about 20 minutes after I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to lose my breakfast. So I was trying to enjoy the podium as much as I could but really I was focused on even breathing and not losing my breakfast.” — Randall
“I was tired at the finish but it wasn’t quite ‘puke-worthy!’ There were a couple of comments from other racers about that!” — Holly Brooks
On good health:
“All my bones are in tact this year so it’s already a step above last year!” — Brooks
On a teammate’s success:
“I am so excited for Kikkan. Wow. This is so fun.” — Liz Stephen after Randall’s prologue win.
On the pursuit:
“The guys started really hard like Cologna especially on the first lap … Hellner blew up a bit and guys just started popping. It was pretty crazy. It’s always hard for me to start that fast. Sometimes I just blow up after the first lap but then if I can make it on the first lap I’m usually OK for the next couple of laps and that’s what I felt today.” — Harvey
“There were some high-speed turns which in a pack were quite exhilarating. It certainly called for good, clear and LOUD communication!” — Brooks
“I was far enough back yesterday that I was out of any traffic. I was basically moving up through people who had gotten blown out the back of the pack, or people who started not too far ahead of me, but for the most part since there were low bib numbers I was going through they were people who’d skied well yestreay and were suffering a little bit today. I didn’t reach the point in the back where there would have been any difficulty to move up.” — Noah Hoffman
On discovering Eurosport didn’t show his crash:
“I’m surprised; I thought they’d do the replays.” — Kris Freeman
On the tough conditions:
“You can lose a lot, especially in deep sugar like that. … It wasn’t as deep as Quebec, it was sugary, but because there was more humidity in the snow. It was a bit more sucky than Quebec, but not as deep so the speed was probably similar. … They were fairly hard conditions, you had to use the upper body a lot [in the skate prologue] and kind of feather it a bit with the legs. If you pushed too hard with the legs you’re just sinking in the snow.” — Harvey
“I was pleased to wake up to pea-soup fog. This meant slower snow which generally plays to my strengths! When I actually got to the track for testing it was 180 degrees different than the day before. The snow was sloppy and dirty — not quite Quebec top-of-the-boot slush but slow.” — Brooks
“They were tough conditions, really soft and nasty out there, but I love those conditions for classic. The nastier the better for me, and that’s another reason why I’m left a bit disappointed. I was struggling a bit to kick my skis for sure, but Alex wasn’t and Babs wasn’t and Len wasn’t so I don’t think it’s the skis , I think it’s the body. I’m missing quite a bit out there and it’s showing so that’s not good.” — Kershaw
“These courses are pretty challenging; it’s just one loop with a few good climbs, and today the snow was slushy for sure. Not the slushiest we’ve ever skied in but still really soft in some places, so you could pick and choose your lines and try to ski where it was harder. A lot of people were trying to ski on the side of the trail by the V- boards to find a little bit faster snow.” — Newell
On the Oberhof venue:
“I am excited to be leaving Oberhof and I’m not the only one. I was speaking with one of the top German girls on the team who was quite excited to leave herself. I’m not quite sure why we start the Tour here every year because I have yet to find someone that likes it here. Switzerland and a brand new racing venue will be a welcome change for everyone!” — Brooks
On pre-Tour prep:
“We arrived in Davos late on Tuesday [Dec. 17]. Then I started training normally on the Wednesday and the first couple days felt a bit rusty from all that rest, but then after that I felt like my legs were coming back and the energy was getting better. My face was really pale, almost green before so the skin tone was getting back, more color and just getting some sun, too, in Davos it just felt like the energy was coming back with the training too. Most of the rest I did in Canmore, but Davos was back to normal training. We took it easy the first couple days then had normal training to get back feeling good.” — Harvey
“When I arrived I really just scaled back the training – mostly training once a day type thing for the first few days back in Europe. From there it was back to ‘normal’ training – two workouts a day, some intervals, etc …” — Kershaw
On the Tour routine:
“We’re driving four hours tonight, spending the night half way and then driving three more tomorrow morning. Racing the Tour also calls for excellence in recovery and logistics! The recovery routine keeps us busy — jogging, ice bath, massage and food every day is important and takes up quite a bit of time.” — Brooks
“We don’t normally do the rush departure after a race but you’ve got no choice here, it’s the Tour. So this evening is the first time it feels like something a little different.” — Hoffman, from the team van to Val Mustair.
“My first tour experience is definitely different than the regular World Cup! You have to be ready to move on to the next race right away and you’re traveling the whole time so we are living out our suitcases even more than usual — I normally unpack in the hotel room but here we have no time. I like it though since you’re always moving on to the next thing. It’s very exciting!” — Jessie Diggins
On New Year’s Eve celebrations:
“We’ll buy some rockets, and [then] it is in bed one minute past twelve.” Trond Nystad, Norwegian coach (via Langrenn)
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.