Saturday, 2 February 2013

U23 World Champs

So After the Tour De Ski i had a few weeks at home training.  It was a good few weeks although the temperature was cold and made training a bit of a pain. It was too cold to train down in Lillehammer so i had to travel up to sjusjøen quite often.
I also got my Russian Visa sorted for coming to Sochi for the world cup on next years Olympic trails.
After training and preparing for the U23 world champs i flew to the Czech Republic two days before my first competition there. This year was my first year in the U23 category, so i was a bit unsure what to expect. At this level there are a lot of top world cup skiers that can turn up, such as Belov and Ustigov from Russia, both of whom have top 10's from world cup level racing.
The first race, a classic sprint, went well.  I qualified in 29th, although originally 30th i was promoted as a russian was disqualified for skating. A fine line everybody pushes in classic sprinting.  To quote a Norwegian Sprinter "classic sprinting is skating as much as possible, without getting caught".  The course in Liberec was however a "kicking" course. Meaning we had to go with kick wax. We couldnt just use skate skis and double pole, as is so often the case now with classic sprints.
My quarter final was the quickest quarter final. I didnt start well but the long course brought be back into contention on the final climb.  I got blocked and ended up settling for 5th and 25th overall.
The day after was a day off from racing as the juniors raced.  I had a short ski and tested skate skis for the following days 15k skate time trial.  In the evening we played laser tag with some American and Swiss skiers.  The swiss guy that one later admitted he took off his vest, hid it behind a wall and the shot people.  I came almost last!!
Fortunately i'm a little better at skiing than i am at laser tag.  The next day i posted another solid race to finish 26th in the 15k time trial.
Another day off, with another short ski session and ski testing followed.  The final day of the competition was quite hectic. With four guys racing for GBR in the 30k skiathlon it required lots of ski testing and preparing for our small service team. The service team then had to double as coaches on the course giving out drinks.
The pack skied to together the first 10k or so, and i stuck well in the middle of the pack.  This was good and bad. Good that i was well placed and relaxed, bad because we came through the drinks stations so fast that our team couldn't see us hidden by other skiers.  I missed a couple of early on drinks, and then i got a frozen drink like slush puppy.
Just after 10k the Russians attacked and field split apart.  I was left in a small chase group coming into the ski exchange.  I switched over to skate skis and suddenly i was on my own. I skied on my own hunting down a small group in front of me for the next 10k.  But in the last 5k of the race i was tired and a group behind me caught and passed me.  I ended up 23rd, another solid result.
That evening we flew to Zurich to get the flight to sochi the next day. We got to sochi late after a long and tedious travel.  I lost my bag and so couldnt ski the first day, then i got ill the  second day.  I was getting better and got well enough to ski for an hour yesterday, so at least i have tried the olympic trails! But today i was worse again so there is no chance of me racing here in sochi this weekend.  It's a shame but it happens.
My next race should be the Swiss national champs next weekend, assuming we get our stuff back off the flight and assuming im healthy again.
After the Swiss champs i should compete at the Davos world cup right before the world champs in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Hopefully everything will go to plan.

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