Two weeks ago, I left Anchorage and headed for Pyeong Chang, South Korea- the location of the next winter Olympic Games. It wad pretty cool to venture somewhere entirely new; as awesome as Europe and Canada are, I was really excited to trade in sauerkraut for kimchi and experience a different culture. Although it was a quick trip, it turned out to be one of the best experiences – both racing wise and culturally- that I’ve had in a long time. Here are some highlights:
Going from average height to B.F.G. status. Sinks literally at knee height in public restrooms.
Sunshine!!!!! Although the first half of the season brought lots of snow- by the time I got to Korea I felt like it had been an eternity since I saw the sun. The Vitamin d was much appreciated. And now I look much less like Casper the friendly ghost.
World Cup points! A lot of World Cup skiers decided not to attend the races in Korea due to the long travel; as a result, the field was very weak (perhaps the weakest World Cup field in the history of ever). BUT lucky for me, a World Cup is a World Cup- and I scored not one, but seven points! The coolest part of this was getting the chance to race in the sprint heats after qualifying in lucky number 30. Of course, I made some mistakes (couldn’t decide if my poles should be inside or outside of the start wand- had to look at everyone else to figure this out which you can see here, skied outside of the v boards while going Mach 10 on a tricky downhill corner- convinced I would get DQed before even finishing the race, the list goes on…) but overall it was an awesome experience that helped me realize some of the areas I need to work on in classic skiing. Luckily, the lovely Liz Stephen was in the lane next to me and was able to inform me that the camera was on me (on tv is always seems so obvious!)- or else the following photo of me smiling wouldn’t exist. Way to help a sister out.
The classic sprint was followed by a 15k skiathlon and a skate team sprint- making for three super intense, tiring days of racing. This was especially true because next year’s Olympic courses are super tough; they have done an awesome job with the trails and I hope to get the chance to return next year! Especially so I can search for my lululemon vest- perhaps the most perfect item of clothing I have ever owned- that was stolen / lost / abducted / blown away. Meanwhile, I hope whosever arms it blew into is appreciating it even half as much as I did. Tear.
After another time zone, or two, or three (but it’s ok cause I got upgraded to bussiness class for my flight), I am now in Oteppa, Estonia preparing for the last world cups before world championships start in Lahti, Finland next week. I raced in Estonian national championships this past weekend, which was an awsome opportunity to preview the World Cup course in a speedy manner. I managed to win the sprint qualifier- on a course that I love- so I am feeling pretty fired up about racing next weekend.
Luckily, the next couple days will be pretty relaxing leading up to this weekend’s races; I have my dear friend Kat here to do all the mundane tasks life throws at me-like straighten my hair and push me on the swing. She has also done more heroic things, like save me from potentially rabid one-eyed dogs, which there seem to be an abundance of in Estonia. Kat starts her first ever World Cup this weekend, so wish her luck. She is a total rockstar and will do great!! She also shouldn’t have left this photo on my phone.