The last couple weeks really have flown by- I am at the airport in Prague waiting for a flight to Stockholm wondering how its already February. A lot of pretty awesome things have happened since my last update:
Kat and I spent a romantic weekend in Ramsau while the rest of the team traveled to races in Lackenhof. We went on some absolutely gorgeous skis and finished almost the entire first season of the OC (#teamsummer).
We also got our arts and crafts on and turned hats into headbands. The leftover pieces will double as a bikini I can wear on my April beach vacation in Perth (as modeled by the lovely KatyP herself):
Before leaving Ramsau I got to catch up with one of my best friends, Johanna, who I lived and trained with for the last four years in Bozeman. She is from Austria and is now working as a professional ski bum- living the absolute dream (unfortunately not forever though, she is starting grad school in Vienna in a couple months). It was so fun to catch up with her in her home country!
On the 22nd, Jackson, Anna, and I drove to Strbske Pleso, Slovakia, to compete at World University Games.
We met our teammates Phil and Cal there- along with our wax techs Randy & Rado and team physio Clare. We stayed at the FIS Hotel and could walk to the ski trails which was quite the novelty. Stbrske Pleso was absolutely gorgeous, everyone was really friendly, the food had lots of color, and the courses were great (hard uphills, easy downhills)! Here are some snaps from the opening ceremonies, where we got to march into the stadium first. Yay Australia! (With the last name Yeaton, being first on any list is a novelty.)
(the whole crew- looking in various directions…)
Our first race was a skate sprint, which was definitely the highlight of the week for me. I qualified 11th and actually moved up in the heats – finishing 8th place overall! I wasn’t sure what to expect at Uni Games- but it certainly wasn’t a top 10 in my first race- so I was pretty psyched. I think the best part was finishing 2nd in my quarter final- it feels REALLY great to not have to wait around and find out if you’re going to be lucky loser or not. Up until this year I haven’t really had a chance to ski past the quarterfinals; its awesome practice competing in another round, and I feel like its definitely helping me make improvements in my sprinting. My teammate Phil also finished 8th after a killer 5th place qualifier; it was a great day for AUSXC!
The very next day Phil and I teamed up for a classic sprint. We had really hoped to make the final (top ten) but ended up finishing 13th overall. I was totally unprepared for how hard it was going to be, having never done a team sprint before. Its basically intervals- but the HARDEST intervals you will ever do. As awesome as it would have been to make the final, I was so tired after the qualifier I was ok with being done 🙂 Instead, we took a photo with the goat mascot and went out for pizza:
We had one day off before the classic 5k race, which turned out to be a bit of a suffer fest for me. I didn’t realize how much two days of sprinting back-to- back would take it out of me! To refuel, we found a place that makes the BEST hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was literally melted chocolate, and I had mine over ice cream. #caloriebomb!!!!!!
After the classic race we had a couple days to relax before the 15k skate. We did a bit of exploring and found some pretty exciting stuff, like this happy man:
& fur. everywhere:
there was even an accordion concert at the hotel:
& last but certainly not least, lots of snow and beautiful scenery:
While I was definitely hoping for more in the 15k skate race, it was still a solid effort (I ended up 24th). It was one of the hardest courses I’ve ever skied on through a lot of new, slow, snow. I wasn’t feeling my absolute best after a long week of racing, but am hoping to kick it into gear again in Sweden! We had rocket skis all week thanks to our great support staff Randy and Rado. Racing fast wouldn’t be possible without great wax techs, so we were incredibly lucky to have these guys with us!
I am now headed to Gronklitt, a town about 30k outside of Mora, for a pre-camp before World Champs with the team. I will race the World Cups in Ostersund next weekend (14th and 15th) before heading to Falun for World Champs, which kicks off on the 19th. I am super excited to see a new country and catch up with some of my APU teammies racing for the USA!
Meanwhile, the rest of the APU contingency is headed to Europa cup races next week. Unfortunately, the cost for the trip is pretty steep, so they have started a fundraising platform to help cover some of the expenses. It is an amazing opportunity and they have worked so hard, so if you have a moment please check them out and contribute or share the link with your friends!
This post is officially going live somewhere between Czech and Sweden; I am using the free wifi on Norweigan Air. There might not be free meals (or even drinks) on planes these days, but at least we can surf the web!
Thanks for reading 🙂