(Classic prelim - photo courtesy of Fasterskier)
Yesterday was my second World Cup and my first World Cup sprint. Both races here in Canmore this weekend, (10k individual skate and classic sprint) are the first two races at the Olympics so it's great to get a tune up and test the field.
(Sun coming up over the Canadian Rockies as we waited for the shuttle that never came)
Before I started the race, one of the coaches, Travis, said to me, "Holly, you may be the only skier out there that has scored World Cup points in every World Cup start!" After my prelim, I walked back to the waxing table and told him that I continued my trend! Of my 2 World Cup starts, I've collected WC points in both!
The course suited me very well - it was long and had lots of striding uphills - plus we're at altitude and I usually preform well racing up in the mountains. My prelim time was ranked 21st, overall. I was ecstatic! When I looked at the results I also realized that I was "sandwiched" between the defending sprint champion from World Champs in Liberec, Arianna Follis, and my teammate, defending Silver medalist in the sprint, Kikkan Randall. I was among good company which made me even happy with the preliminary result!
For those that are interested, FIS just released a new website for the Olympics. It's awesome - you can look up skiers and check out full bios of all the World Cup regulars. (It's almost better than google stalking but not quite as complete as facebook stalking!) Check out Follis' bio here or check this link for the "team" page.
It will tell you if skiers like meat or veggies, ferrari or porche, etc, etc. Kind of fun!
(Arianna Follis - Italy/defending sprint World Champion)
(Shot of the finish line)
Katie, Kikkan, and Holly
My quarterfinal didn't go so well but I am satisfied with the overall day. It was a good day for North Americans in general - Kikkan finished 10th, Torin Koos finished 11th after qualifying 2nd... seven Americans all together qualified for the heats, 2 women and five men. Hometown favorite, Sara Renner ended up 3rd place with a bronze medal. And - it was an awesome day. Skiing doesn't get much better than a full-shine day in Canmore watching and competing with the best skiers in the world!
Speaking of the best skiers, Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk continued her domination by literally destroying the field. It was impressive to watch. She had tons of screaming Polish fans at the race too. They got a picture with her afterwards... I snuck in too:
Here is the female podium for the day:
Also, here are a bunch of youtube links from the weekend if you're interested.
Here I am skiing in the 10k - this hill was BIG and we had to do it twice:
Check out this promo for the Canmore Nordic Center. It gives you a really good idea of what the area look like. It also shows their snow-making and paved roller ski trails:
Here is a Eurosport video of the women's A final:
Phil Bowen, professional photography (philsgood.com), has a gallery of shots from the classic sprint here:
We're in Canmore for another day before making our way to Vancouver Tuesday morning....