It feels great to have the first race weekend down in the books. I was trying my best to hide it, but the truth is, I was quite nervous the last month or so leading into this season starting. I had almost no idea of where my fitness was at after a less than ideal summer of training (injuries). The races in Gällivare didn't have a super deep field but there were at least 5 guys with World Championship medals competing, plus another 20 or so guys with World Cup experience. It's just the beginning, but I got a good taste of what's possible this winter.
We had two races, a classic sprint and a skate 15km. The atmosphere was pretty chill which was a nice way to start off the season. I think everyone was pinning it and giving it their all, but doing it with a little less stress. I felt really good in the classic sprint and finished 8th. I made a few tactical errors early in the semi finals that I think costed me from moving onto the finals and a shot at the podium. The distance race wasn't quite as good. It was an individual start 15km skate, I had a nice fast start but lost the drive I needed for the middle 5km. I didn't meet up with any other racers on the course, which made for a long race. I still finished 10th, which was a surprise. I felt strong and efficient, the small technique adjustments I've been working on seem to be paying off. I think I'm just in need of some more hard efforts to get the engine running at full capacity. I'll have plenty of opportunities coming up soon.
Now we're on the road again. Road trips are fun but my legs are feeling a little stiff after being in the car all day post race weekend. Either way it's pretty sweet to be able to road trip in northern Scandanavia. I spent the first few hours talking with my buddy Bird, more formally known as Kris Freeman :) .. He's an awesome dude. He's been on the World Cup circuit for the most part of the last 15 years and has been in the top 10 countless times. I can learn a lot from an experienced old buck like him. His stories plus the good view makes for another fun day. It's -6 Fahrenheit and pretty clear, but there is only 6 or so hours of light up here so if you blink you might miss your chance at seeing the sun.
Next stop is Ruka, Finland. This weekend is the opening weekend of the World Cup. We have three races; a classic sprint, a 10k skate, and a 15km classic. This will be my second time racing in Ruka. I'm not quite as experienced as Bird or the other World Cup veterans, but it's always an advantage to have experience racing a course. A lot of the venues I will be racing at this year will be ones I have raced on before. Most of the guys that are getting podiums have lots of experience at all of these venues. I'm not an expert on this sport but it seems like the more you train, the more you race, and the more experience you get- the better your results get...
Thanks for reading, and as always, THANKS for the support!