Tad Elliot after skiing an awesome anchor leg in the men's 4x10k relay (Thanks to NNF for helping us be here!)
After a week and a half of grey skies the Italian sun finally showed it’s face for arguably the most popular World Championship events; the team relays and the 30 & 50k. These races are possibly the most fun to watch and if you win, the most prestigious medals to have on your awards shelf. This time around I watched the races as a teammate & spectator rather than racing myself. While I prefer to be the one laying down a lung-busting effort sometimes the timing just isn’t right.
We had four super strong girls who laced together an impressive fourth place finish in the relay (huge improvement over the last World Champs where we came in 8th) and a brave crew that took on possibly the hardest courses in history for the long distance events.
With Ida getting my cheer on for the women's relay!
With an Italian fan!
Each race morning I clipped into my skis and had incredibly training sessions with awesome grooming… then I’d change my clothes, drink a couple shots of espresso (thanks Italy!), dawn my cheering attire and watch the races with expectation and excitement. It was fun to be a sports fan… .a Nordic skiing sports fan… the anticipation was palpable and the cheers deafening. This was the Super Bowl of skinny ski skiing, the World Series of the men in tights(!) There was an immense spirit to the crowd and after a bit of rest, watching these events helped re-invigorate my love and passion for the sport.
Steph & Joey
Overall, our team is growing more and more competitive on the World stage. We’ve proved this weekend after weekend on the World Cup and here, at Val di Fiemme, Italy. Personally it hasn’t been the banner week that I had hoped for but I think more good racing is just around the corner. In the meantime, thank you Italy for hosting a fabulous event, thanks to the coaches & staff for working so hard, thanks to my teammates for throwing down news-worthy results and thanks to NNF and the larger North American ski community for your support. We wouldn’t be doing this without you! Next up, Lahti, Finland!
Ciao & Grazie,
Norwegian fan in full reindeer regalia!
Erik Flora, always working hard! (Post men's 50k)