Monday, February 18, 2013

World Championships and XC World Cup

One of the great perks of being an athlete it being able to travel to new countries and meet new people. I had never been to the Czech Republic before and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The stadium in Nove Mesto was absolutely magnificent- it was HUGE! Here's a aerial of it:

Photo: Autor + foto© - Jan Vondra,
It was such an amazing atmosphere in the stadium, but I could also feel how much more tense all the athletes and coaches were. Me? I think I was less tense! I was very lucky to have Richard Boruta with me for these races, so I had less work and less worries than usual. It was such a treat.

Photo: Foto Jan KodeŇ°The first race was the 10km sprint and I was a little stressed. I think this came through in my skiing as I had a very slow last lap. I hit all 5 targets in prone, but missed 2 in standing, leaving me with 8/10 and not a very happy athlete at the end. The course here was very tough. Up, up, up and then a lot of down. If you didn't ski smart, you would totally blow you
r legs up (not literally- that would be messy and I think humanly impossible).

In between races was great as I was living at the same hotel as my old Canadian teammates (not in the age sense, although I did have a birthday and am now on the dark side of my twenties). We would eat together and when some of us did not qualify for the pursuit, we were able to enjoy some glasses of apple juice and play charades- just like back in the day when there was no internet. It was lovely.

Thanks Glen Crawford for the amazing photo!
The next race for the women was the 15km individual. I really was not looking forward to this race as I have not been feeling strong on my skis. But I went out, starter number 18, and really tried to ski smart and controlled. First prone I missed one, as well as in my first standing. Half way through the race and I was feeling...actually quite alright. I was enjoying my time on the trails and just focused on the task at hand. And then came 2nd prone- the wind was so strong that I clicked a total of 6 to the left....3 misses! Ah crap. (After the race my coach would inform me I should have clicked 8 or 9 to the left!). For my last standing I went into lane 24 (as this was my last race as a 24 year old) and missed 2- 24 sucked anyways (not really- written sarcasm doesn't always come through properly). So...7 misses, 7 minutes added on...not a good shooting race. But the skiing...well, for me...felt great. I thoroughly enjoyed this race.
Right before the race...This is what a focused Murphy looks like. Thanks Glen Crawford for the amazing photos!
The next day I was off at 7 am...back to the Russian embassy in Prague. But no worries, all I had to do was pick up my passport and be on my way with my new Russian visa. Successful and organized- who am I? After a short flight from Prague to Milano and a long train ride, I made it back to little S-chanf, Switzerland! Two sleeps later I found myself in Davos, Switzerland preparing for my first ever cross-country world cup race- 10 km skate.
Photo: New Zealand wax room in Davos...what a happening place...

I found the cross-country atmosphere very different to biathlon. It was not as organized as biathlon, but I will say the staff and coaches cheered a lot more for every athlete, not just their own. It was a really nice experience. Thank you very much to the Canadians for waxing my skis- they were super! And the race? Well, it was hard. I found it a lot harder than any biathlon race I have done this season. I think it is very beneficial for me to now do some xc races, not just for my speed, but also mentally to have to keep pushing through the whole race. I was last. the very end. And far behind. But someone just told me it can only get better from that is a positive :)

Thank you again to everyone for the amazing support! Even though I was last, I am still feeling the love from everyone :) xxxxx Here's to things getting better and better and 25 more years of fun and excitement:) 

NORMA ammunition