In the past couple of weeks, I’ve travelled through the acronyms SLOFINCAN. From OPA tour in Rogla, Slovenia to World Cup in Finland and now in Thunder Bay, Canada for Canadian National Championships. Driving with Swiss Ski from Switzerland to Slovenia, I was expecting to arrive in an eastern block-esque country akin to Russia with fur hats and lots of root vegetables. However, my first experience in Slovenia was quite different. Climbing up the switch back road from the bare valley bottom to just over 1 500m, we arrived at the ski venue of Rogla.
Sprint day in Rogla coincided with my birthday – February 28th. One of the best ways to celebrate is doing one of my favourite things, skate sprinting! The qualifier was less than awesome, but the day got better as the heats progressed. Similar to how I skied in Campra, my semi final was my strongest heat of the day. I definitely had a lucky charm backing me up all day, the birthday luck I guess, that earned me two lucky loser spots from my quarter and semi and eventually into the final. I was pretty gassed by the final, ending 5th for the day but really happy that I was able to turn the day around after a less than prime qualifier.
I raced the 15km classic mass start the following day and although I would love to report that I finally had a good classic race – that would be a dirty rotten lie. Awful pretty much from the beginning but those days are about finding the race within the race. I left my best effort on the course and even though this was minutes off the pace, it was all I could offer.
I headed to Lahti the following weekend and met up with the rest of the Canadian contingency. The conditions were perfectly Finnish from the experiences I’ve had and were primarily slushy, sloppy, slow. Except for sprint day – where the track was salted and the course was closed until race start leaving a super hard track with granular snow on the climbs. I prepared for a different course all together, the skis I selected, the conditions I expected and the way I wanted to ski the course wasn’t accurate what so ever. I know I didn’t have the body to pull off a miraculous result today – but I definitely thought it would be better than 58th place after starting with bib 43. Eeeesh! I don’t consider myself a surfer, but this race felt like I had paddled so hard to catch this one wave, was picked up by the swell and expecting to get pitted (some day…) only to have the nose dive in and I’m completely thrashed underwater and confused as to which way is up. Frustrating and confusing to think you have taken the right steps to a great race, but end up washed up on the beach. There’s no time to sit and linger on a dismal result when the next set is rolling in!
I'll be racing at the Lappe Nordic Centre this week where they do an incredible job of grooming, organizing and welcoming you with a friendly face.