Turkish Delight

Team Canada heading into the Erzurum mall. The locals stared as if we were the traveling circus. Maybe they're right.
Even though the sugar gelatin dessert wasn’t my favourite, Turkey was still delightful.
Emily and Janelle talkin shop in the Heathrow Airport
It took 36 hours to travel from door step to door step (Calgary-Toronto-London-Istanbul-Erzurum)
Turkish pizza man at the wood fired oven in our Hotel dinner buffet. Yummay!
Valentine's day
The Dedeman. Our home for two weeks
Our hotel was located at 2450m and the race site at 1800m
Muslim Emily. You could hear the morning prayer blasting from the mosques near by every morning.
We had 9 days at the site before we began racing, the Canadians were the first team to arrive!
Fitting in some Go Kart racing before the real racing began.
Raph is ready
Sprint qualifier. Who doesn't love watermark?
One of the few racing photos I have. Thanks Annika

The first event was the skate sprint. The race I have been dreaming about all summer, fall and winter. A top 12 result was what I was hunting for and I started off the day with a decent qualifier, coming in 16th position. Warming up in the afternoon I was feeling great and ready to rock some head to head racing. About 25m after starting my quarter final, a Polish skier tried to cut in – but don’t worry I wasn’t going to let her stomp on my turf!  I avoided her self inflicted crash but as I went to stride on my ski for the next push, the smug smile left my face when I realized my binding had come undone and my ski was already behind me. Autopilot mode. Get to ski, click in and hammer. Great attempt, but unfortunately the pack didn’t wait for me to put my ski back on. I don’t know who taught them their manners! Disappointed with 27th overall? Yes. Encouraged that it’s so close? Definitely, that taste is enough to fuel the hunt for next year.

View from our hotel room. Traveled that road many a time. The city of Erzurum below
Turkish men
Working on our team cheer. We sound like a team of loons really.
Warming up the diesel generator, Turkish style
The next two races tested me in every way imaginable. Not only were they a disaster physically, but my confidence and mindset was so wrecked after both the 10km classic and 15km pursuit. However, to obsess and dwell is a waste of energy so I took every possible positive I could squeeze out of those two suffer-fests and moved on. I know I have a few solid training seasons under my belt and now I’m just waiting for the hard work to pay off. No one ever said this sport was easy!
Watching the junior’s race the relay puts all your values of sport back in perspective and reminded me of the pure joy of racing. It was so much fun to watch this event. Not only is it one of the hardest efforts the juniors put forward, it really emphasizes my sense of pride in the team as well as Canada! 
My first U23 World Championships experience was just that, an experience. It has taken me a couple days to debrief and absorb all that has happened, but the phlegm cough I caught while racing in the dry air of the Kindili race site has allowed me plenty of time to rest up. I hope to be back training once I kick this cold and get ready for National Championships in Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec at the end of the month. 
Can you take our photo, please? What? You want us in your photo? Ok. I have no idea who these nice Austrians are. But they sure are keen on photos.
Way to be. Canadian relay team 9th place
Canadian transport vs Norwegian transport
Annika and I out for some Vitamin D

Blue Mosque. No really, it has blue tiles inside. The Canadians wandered the streets and saw some of the many sites of Istanbul before leaving for Canada the next day.
Blue Mosque - Amazing structure and experience

Heading into the Blue Mosque
Yep, it was raining.
17th Century Topkapi Palace - This sultan knew how to roll

Public transportation was a blast. The guy bottom right knows it.

Bartering for handmade Turkish carpets in the Grand Bazaar

Beautiful glass laterns

So spicaaay! Janelle taking it all in at the spice bazaar

So much bling!

Hooka for you?

Grand Bazaar

Bye bye Turkey.
My motherland was calling. Flying over the Swiss Alps.