The Long Distance
Much of the course was on the tiny scooter trails which you can't really skate on so you end up getting a massive arm workout.
On Friday we had had a nice rest day, eating lots of Swedish food, waxing skis and hanging out at Hotel Tanndalen. We also went out for a nice cruisey ski on the trails right outside our cabin with our friendly Canadian room mates Nick and Robbie.
The weather was still pretty bad with snow and wind as we drove up to the hotel in the morning. We had all sorted out various systems for attaching energy gels onto our ski suits for some extra fuel out on the course. It was a mass start race, so we set off in a big pack of girls all racing hard - I was quickly out the back but there was still a little bunch around me - Japanese, British and Spanish skiers mostly.
The course started with a huge climb, then a huge descent followed by another climb then down to the map change...and repeat all over again! After 2.07 hours out there I came in - I made a few mistakes on the last loop because I was pretty tired, but I finished up in 37th place which was my best for the whole competition and got me some real world ranking points! (-:
Chris had a good race too, but found it pretty tough to concentrate the whole way through as well. He finished in place 43 in 2.18, but was only 1/3 slower than the winner which is impressive!
We were all a bit pooped after the race, so we blobbed around at the hotel and got the nice buffet dinner. It was fun to hang out with our Wing club mates Marte, Lars and Helen as well as lots of the other competitors. Marte had won the bronze medal in the long race that day!
We were unable to have a proper relay team because we needed 3 skiers, but we were allowed to enter the first leg of the relay anyway, so I raced the first leg of the womens relay and Chris the first leg of the mens. Robbie from Canada was also in the same boat so he and Chris having their own little one man relay race. Robbie had beaten Chris by a couple of minutes each day, so Chris was keen to put the youngster in his place (-:
It was another mass start, and the course took us out for a loop over the flat area before crossing the ski bridge and climbing up the hill we had raced on in the long. We then torpedoed down a rather terrifying downhill into the finish. I made a mistake on this last part and lost my Japanese competition, but it was a really fun race anyway. I enjoyed the course length and the relative technicality compared to the grunt of the long the previous day.
Chris did a really good time and managed to beat Robbie by a minute into the finish, he was excited. Helen did an awesome job on the second leg for the British team, and they ended up finishing in 11th place.
Sadly after all that excitement it was time to pack our things and head home. We missed the post race banquet on Sunday night, because work commitments in Trondheim were calling us home, but we had our own kind of banquet round at Helen's thanks to Tim and Ally who cooked us a yummy curry on our return.
Trondheim had also been having lots of snowfall while we were away, so we came back to a new meter high pile outside our front door. Lots of people at work are sad because they thought spring was on its way - we are pretty excited because the skiing is on again! Powder lines to be had everywhere, winter's not quite over, but the days are getting really long again, so it's a really nice time.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences at Ski WOC 2011, we are quite excited to instill some ski o enthusiasm into New Zealand orienteering when we return.