Monday, 16 February 2015

U23 World Championships Recap: 20th in the Classic Sprint

I have the morning off today after a weekend of racing and a volume training block. As I sit here looking out the window of our hotel in Vietalva Latvia, sun shinning in on me, a rare occurrence in the normally cloudy country of Latvia. I finally have the chance to reflect on the past month and a half of racing. It has not gone perfectly as I had hoped but nor has it been a complete disappointment.  After all I am still here in Europe preparing to race a series of Scandinavian Cup races next weekend against some of the fastest skier is Scandinavia and hopefully my first European World Cup in Lahti Finland after that, fingers crossed.
Annah Hanthorn(left) and I doing a pre-race interview for CCC. Photo: Raphael Couturier 
View from the top of the course in Almaty

U23 ladies!

The big focus for me this past month were the U23 World Championships in Almaty Kazakhstan. I had some good races at the Western Canadian Championships with two third place finishes a good lead up to departing for Asia.  Kazakhstan was like nothing I have ever experience before, a time change of 13 hours, racing in a city of 2 million people with probably the poorest air quality I have ever encountered, I can't say it was your typical ski race. The culture was very cool and I did learn a good number of Russian phrases but when it came to race prep and adjusting to the food and the smog I had some hiccups. I was so thankful to have my stash of Rancho Vignola dried fruit and and nuts to supplement my meals! After arriving I was not 100% healthy the first two days which did not give me the best lead up into the first race. All the same I qualified for the heats in the sprint and was able to put together a strong quarter final to move myself up to 20th place in the classic sprint.this is my first year as a U23  so I was please to be able to be fighting for the first and second spots in my quarter final right until the last 100 meters. I came up a bit short of moving on to the semis but was very happy all the same with my 20th place, also the top North American on the day!! 

After the Sprint I was really looking forward to the two distance races unfortunately the race course had other plans for me. In the 10km skate my body was not quite feeling as good as I had hoped and at the 2.5km mark my ski caught a rock, which were scattered all around the course like land mines, that tore off a large chunk of the base of my ski, leaving a nice little hook to pick up snow and hinder my glide. Those factors combined it was a disappointing finish in 30th place. 
Falling victim to a stomach bug the day before the last race I tried to start the Skiathlon with not food or energy reserves in my system. At 2.5km I was in the lead group sitting around 17th place but as I hit the 3km mark my body began to feel my dehydration and started to shut down. At the point where my vision started to blur and my body was shaking I had to make the hard decision to drop out of the race. As an athlete you always want to finish and anything short feels like failure but the hard decisions are the right ones. I was very disappointing to end my U23 championships on this note but I know that there will be many more races to come in my career. My body has already rebounded well and this past Saturday I raced the Latvian Championships in Vietalva. I was happy to see that my body is back on form after I won the sprint qualifier by 3.65 seconds and came a close second in the final. 
Start of the final in Vietalva, I am bid #1

Canadian podium at Lativan Champs, left to right: me, Alysson and Andrea

Next Saturday we will be racing in Madona Latvia, the first of 4 races in 5 days. I am really looking forward to the classic distance race on saturday, one of my favourite events. 
The sun is still shinning bright as I look up from my computer once more. Thanks for reading and for all of your support! That's all for now as I am going to go take advantage of the lovely day outside, I don't know when i will see the sun again, after all it is a rare sight in this parts of the world. Stay tuned for a Scando cup update from Madona and Joulumae mid next week!! 

Happy trails
Dahria