After the Olympics we spent a few days in Munich with our physio Andi before heading onto Finland for the World Cup in Lahti. In this period it was a solid reality check coming out of Sochi and a bit of a depression session too, it seemed that life had come to a screeching stop!
In Lahti we were hoping we could gather together some form to hopefully not make a fool of ourselves but it was proving tough! Having some nights out in Sochi and four days off snow in Munich didn’t help our situation hugely. It was a sprint and a 15km both skate. I was pretty keen for this, hoping I could have another good sprint result but it didn’t quite go to plan. I felt I skied the course pretty well and work as hard as I could on a short fast track but as expected my form was on the downward spiral. It wasn’t a bad result, I was around 70th out of 95 but just not quite where I’d hoped.
The distance the following day was probably even a little worse, although I wasn’t ever really expecting great things. …Well in actual fact it was a terrible race, I tried to work but just had nothing!
It’s a pretty bad feeling when you know you form is disappearing, there isn’t much you can do because it takes so long to build and peak to form that you basically have to ride the downward spiral or finish up racing for the year. But with only two races within the next five days I was keen to finish off and enjoy the end of season.
A few days later it was the World Cup city sprint in Drammen (classic). This is always a tough race because it is a decision between going on grip wax or double poling on skate skis its usually a 50/50 decision. The last 2 years I chose to stride but this year I thought I would man up and double pole! The conditions are never great as its a race down the main street on trucked in snow but the thousands of people who come out to watch make up for it! My race, once again wasn’t super great as I finished in the last few but it was a good step to make, I think, to double pole and I knew this was something I would one day have to do.
At this point I was thinking that I wouldn’t start the 50km classic in Holmenkollen but Callum and our wax tech convinced me to have a go and it’s always been a race that I have wanted to do as it is the toughest race on the World Cup circuit and the crowd there is crazy! Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish off the season in style, I was feeling super rough and couldn’t hold on for very long at the start. I kept going for a while thinking I could ski myself in but it wasn’t going to happen. I was loosing time quickly and pulled out. I actually pride myself as being someone who never pulls out of races but this was not pretty so unfortunately that was how it went.
It really wasn’t the way I was hoping to finish my season off as it has definitely been my best season yet but unfortunately when your form is going that way there is nothing much you can do to stop it!
Once again, slow with the blogs, sorry…
The Olympics were hectic, it was so much more than I ever expected it to be! Right for the start there was so much excitement! I struggled to sleep at all for the first few days because I was so jeed-up! Lucky there was a few days until my first race to get settled in because I needed it! After a while though the hype slowed a little and it got easier to focus back towards racing fast!
I was feeling good leading into the races and everything was going to plan. The snow was super firm and fast which suited me a lot and I was feeling positive towards taking another step after racing well in the World cup prior and World U/23’s before that. Race day came around and came around and despite being pretty nervous I was feeling good in the warm up and ready to go! The snow was less than ideal as it had gone to pure slush the day before unfortunately. I felt I skied pretty well, I paced well, didn’t make any technical mistakes, worked where I wanted to work and gave absolutely everything but in the end I just wasn’t that fast. It was pretty disappointing to do everything possible and have everything go right but still not finish where I would have liked. Some people blamed the skis but I’m not sure that was really the problem for me, I think maybe it just wasn’t my day…
The next race was the 15km classic and we had a few days to rest for it. I didn’t race this one quite as well. I think I might have been trying to force it a bit too much and try to create a result that might not have been there to be had but anyway. I went out hard and unfortunately I popped at around the 7.5km mark. I did all I could to limit the losses over the last half of the race and it was tough! The conditions were once again sloppy and on that hilly as course I suffered pretty badly, was probably one of the toughest races I’ve done, I was absolutely cooked!
The last race for me was the classic team sprint. We raced this race on the Sochi course last year and got absolutely pumped so we weren’t expecting a whole lot from this race but were keen to give it a crack as the team events are so enjoyable! I took the first leg and felt fairly comfortable but unfortuately going around the turn into the first hill a Japanese lad fell right in front of me. He was being a bit stupid trying to track change in a bad spot but thats racing for you. My skis went straight underneith him but somehow I pulled out some legit ballerina skills and managed to not fall down but I had lost all my momentum and ended up falling off the back of the bunch. I worked super hard up the climb and got back in contact but unfortunately nearing the top of the second climb I had to once more let the bunch go to avoid popping. Unfortunately that was basically our race done from there as we couldn’t regain contact and continued to loose time. It was a lot better than the previous year which was pretty good and such a fun atmosphere to be involved in, the crowd was going crackers!
All up the Olympics was an amazing experience for me but the racing was a little disappointing. It’s a bit hard to be proud of a race when you feel it wasn’t your best. I couldn’t have done anything more to prepare and have a good race on each of the days, the stars just didn’t align me.
One thing is for sure, I am stoked to have had my family there to experience it with and to share the whole experience side by side with some of my best mates has been more than I could have asked for!