My distance points aren't very good right now and I was ranked 30th and started in the 5th row of the mass start. The first couple kilometers I just skied as relaxed as possible and tried to keep out of trouble. I managed to have a clean start but I lost contact with the group in front that would have been nice to stick with. I felt good but I struggled with grip on the steeper sections and lost some time because of that (completely my fault because I tested my skis too early and it got sunny and warmed up before my start). I ended up skiing with a group at around 20th spot for the classic portion.
My exchanges are usually clean and I have never had any problems before but it went horribly wrong this time. I was relaxed going into my box but I had trouble getting my boots out of both bindings and I had to do up then undo the bindings again before I could get them off. Feeling flustered, I hurriedly skied out of my box and my pole nicked one of my classic skis. I looked back to see my ski sliding backwards across the race trail. I considered going back and trying to retrieve the ski but made a split-second decision to let it go and deal with the consequences later. I probably would have caused more chaos trying to retrieve it and I would have lost a lot of time. Pushing thoughts of the ski into the back of my mind I skied off and focused on the skate leg.
I felt really good skating and managed to make up a few places. I was in a group of 4 coming into the finish and I was able to finish at the front of the group, putting me in 19th place. Checking the results later I was very happy to see that I was still on the results list and there was no DSQ in front of my name! My runaway ski must not have caused any problems because I didn't even get a reprimand from the incident.
Overall I was happy with my race. The classic portion was a bit disappointing due to starting so far back and fighting with grip. My exchange was a mess but I feel like I skied the skate section really well and I had good energy overall.
|Start of the 2nd skate lap Photo: Fasterskier.com|
The men's pursuit was the last race of the day and it ended in the best possible way: Alex Harvey standing on the top of the podium with Oh Canada playing throughout the stadium and the Maple Leaf at the top of the flag pole!! It was a fun race to watch! The other U23 boys did well with Kevin overcoming a broken pole to place 24th, Graeme was 31st and Michael 40th. Emily was 25th, Sara 28th and Erin 32nd in the girls. The junior relays also went well with the girls finishing 11th and boys finishing 9th.
|Alex showing off his gold medal!|
We drove to Helsinki after the pursuit and flew out on Tuesday, arriving back in Canmore Wednesday morning at 3:30. I am still tired from the travel and jetlag but it is great to sleep in my own bed and cook for myself. No potatoes, pork or cabbage for a while!
A big thank you to all the coaches and wax techs that made the week possible - 7 races in 6 days is a crazy schedule and we had great skis all week!