Monday, March 25, 2013

Finally.... Finals in Falun!

This only means one thing... that is: SPRING IS NEAR! (or here?)

We just did THIS:
.... our last World Cup of the season... 

The dust has settled and the 2013-2013 World Cup season has come to a rest.  It's been a marathon - with the culmination here in Falun, Sweden.  World Cup Finals began with a city sprint circumnavigating the Royal Palace in downtown Stockholm -very cool indeed. After the race we jumped on a tour bus (un-showered) and drove three hours north to Falun, home to the 2015 Nordic World Championships.  Here we raced three races - although we almost raced no races due to the threat of an athlete strike.  After training on the courses there was significant concern about the safety of the athletes on one of the course's downhills, especially for the classic mass start race.  In Eldar Ronning's words: "This is cross country, not skier cross."  Thus, the athletes organized and held 3 "emergency" meetings in the span of 17 short hours; even one the morning of the first race.  It was great to see skiers from Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Ukraine and more band together for a unified cause.  Our action ultimately resulted in a revised course, one that the athletes and FIS agreed on together.  I am certainly glad we raced because the start gave me the opportunity to have the second best result of my season, a 7th place in the 2.5k skate prologue!!!!  

 Germans and Americans cheering on the men! (Nordic Focus photo) 

 Liz, post race with old school camera and tutu! (Nordic Focus photo) 

 Drinking hot blueberry soup, a Swedish tradition at the royal palace sprint! 

 Hoff mixing it up in the men's 15k classic mass start

Rosie, Maria Grafnings & Me! 

 A tribute to my "Farmor" (or grandmas in Swedish... I am 1/4 Swedish after all!) 

I got a new suit for my international collection! A great trade with French skier, Aurora Jean! 

Time to wear something other than spandex! 

Liz & Newell 

It's been a milestone year, one where most people on the team have had a "personal best" moment.  Since November I've raced 30 World Cups in 8 or 9 different countries.  I've been away from home, without a single step in the US for going on 5 months now. We've previewed the 2014 Olympic courses in Sochi, suffered through another Alpes Cermis, dined on fondue in France, and danced underneath the stars in Italy. It's been a long season and I've learned a ton; both what works for me as a professional athlete and for me as a person.  I can't wait to initiate some new ideas into my training for next year.  This afternoon the USST ladies are staying to help out with Fast and Female Sweden. Then, Tuesday morning, flights to the great US of A! It's safe to say I'm exhausted and really looking forward to some well deserved R&R! 

Apparently we aren't the only tired ones.... Justyna opted to watch the last race rather than participate... (Nordic Focus photo)

Thanks to everyone for their support, encouragement & enthusiasm! 
Holly :) 

Thanks to Cory, my world cup wax tech for a great year... and to Bryan Fish who helped me with skis for Falun! 

Falun skate prologue!