American Rosie Brennan earned World Cup start rights by capturing the 2013 SuperTour title. She made her European World Cup debut last season, racing the entire final period, before starting this fall at the top level.
This season she placed 70th in the Kuusamo, Finland mini-tour and finished 54th today, in the 10 k classic in Lillehamar, Norway.
US Ski Team Women’s Coach Matt Whitcomb termed Brennan’s performance “a strong result.”
For her part, Brennan was not entirely satisfied.
“I’m not super psyched with the result, but I did feel a little better than last weekend,” she wrote in an email.
Entering the race, Brennan felt the challenging Lillehamar course suited her strengths as a skier.
Her plan was to start conservatively, but had forgotten lapping skiers would be coming through the stadium as she was starting.
She didn’t want to pass up a good ride, so latched on to German Denise Herrmann, who earned her first World Cup podium last weekend in Kuusamo, and ended the day in 18th.
“It was great for me to feel I could ski with good World Cup skiers, but when I was left on my own heading into the second lap, I started to feel the effects and began second guessing myself,” Brennan wrote.
She said she recovered, but was not able to find the pace she wanted.
Brennan said while she is “less intimidated” by World Cup racing on this trip, she has been struggling to keep her confidence up.
“Racing in the U.S. does not adequately prepare us for racing on the World Cup, and overcoming those shortfalls takes a long time I am learning,” she concluded.
But despite the challenges she is looking forward to competing in Sunday’s relay, an event she did expect to start.
“I am hoping to race with no hesitations and work on building my confidence racing with others,” she wrote.
Brennan will ski the anchor leg for the second U.S. team.
— Alex Matthews contributed reporting
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Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.