Fitness ConfusionAfter a lonely start to the season, I was very excited when I found out a few weeks ago that I had been nominated as the Period 3 World Cup COC leader for the US! This meant that I would receive three weekends of World Cup start spots and that I would get to join my SMS T2 teammates in Europe. I had felt good about my Craftsbury time trials in December and although I dealt with Holiday travel, Vermont quarantine, and a lack of snow, I thought I had done what I could to prepare for these World Cups. I controlled the variables that I could control to the best of my ability. After spending six weeks on the world cup last season, I knew these upcoming races would be challenging; the pace would be hot from the start, competition would be fierce, and conditions would probably be less than ideal. I was expecting all of this. But boy, did I get my world rocked in Lahti, Finland.
View from the high point of the Lahti race course.
After one of my best scrambles ever in a mass start, I got caught up in an epic crash one kilometer into the 15k skiathlon. I tried to get up as fast as possible, shake it off and continue to charge, but once that pack was gone it was tough to make up for lost time. Disappointed in this bad luck, I did my best to accept the consequences of ski racing and move on.
Reflecting at the finish line of the 15k skiathlon (PC: Daily Skier)
We quickly moved on to the next stop on the circuit: Falun, Sweden. I was really looking forward to having two more distance races and a classic sprint, hoping I could pop a good one. Unfortunately, things didn't go as I had hoped. I went out in all my races ready to fight but found myself unable to get gritty with it. I didn't, and still don't, understand why. Am I not as fit as I thought I was? Am I over-trained? Am I under-raced? I felt really fit this fall when training with my teammates, although I hadn't done intervals with other people since mid-November. With such an uncertain season ahead of me, I had put in a lot of work during December. Also, Lahti was my first real race in almost 11 months so maybe I was out of touch with it. I'm still unsure about why I felt so off during these Scandinavian races and am hoping to find clarity soon, but the one pro out of the entire situation is that I finally have teammates again!
SO HAPPY to be skiing with these ladies!
It has been so nice to live in a cabin with my teammates, chat with the other girls during training and to ski in such beautiful places. I'm always happy to be here and to be doing what I love. Despite feeling confused about my own races, it has been so unbelievable to witness some outstanding results by team USA and can't wait to see what the second half of the season has in store for us all. Hope you're all enjoying winter! ;)