Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winter Games

Well, the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games have come and gone. What a great two weeks! This was New Zealands second winter games, and it was fantastic. Being the largest gathering of winter sports outside the Olympics, it is a great event to have here, and even better to be a part of it!

The 10km Classic race was one of the first competitions of the winter games. Now, let me tell you I am  not a classic master, but I do enjoy it, and as there were no other Kiwi women in, I decided to go for it. Not much competition, you know, only the 2010 Olympics gold medalist in the cross-country 30km. Nothing to worry about really. So naturally, I put my goal as to be in front by 2 minutes...Not. My goal was not to be last. There were 6 women, with 3 from Korea, one from Japan, myself, and Justyna Kowalczyk. It was a gorgeous day and I felt surprisingly good on my skis.

I ended up in 4th place, which I was smitten with, and spent the rest of the morning watching the glorious men in spandex do their thing. There were two Kiwi boys (Andy Pohl and Nils Koons) in the race, along with both the American and Canadian national team men (Just a couple World Champs and Olympic medalists). It was a great race and the boys did great.

The next day was the Sprint race and I thought it would be a good idea to do that one as well. The shortest race I ever compete in with biathlon is 7.5km, so the 1km loop was a bit of a wake-up call for my poor muscles. It was a bit of a miserable day compared to the classic day, with blizzardy type conditions, but it was still great once you got out there. Justyna Kowalczyk was once again racing, along with a couple Russian cross-country skiers, with one of them also having an Olympic medal.
Racing in the qualifier
 Since there were 9 women, 8 moved on to the semifinals. I qualified 6th, so in the semifinals I was partnered up with Justyna and another Russian women. It was great. I had fun, and I tried my hardest, but unfortunately I did not have my gold medal legs on today. It was still great to be out racing with some pretty fast chicks.

That's me in the back!
The next race was on Tuesday. I was excited for this one as it was the 5km skate, which is a bit more to my liking. Well, on the morning of the race it was awful weather and the wind was howling like madness. The organizers had to make a decision and decided to cancel the race. And that was it for the cross-country portion of the winter games! It was a great time and I am looking forward for the next ones in 2013 where we are REALLY looking forward to hopefully have biathlon in there!

Smile! :)


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