Sometimes there are those races that beg the question “why not?” As I have starts for every world cup for the rest of this season and there was relatively little drawback to racing, the Drammen city sprint fit into this category. There were also a few benefits in that I would get some good mid-week intensity and build up a little more world cup experience.
As expected, my racing experience for the day was over in two minutes and fifty seconds. That time represents over eighteen seconds back from the first place qualifier, twelve seconds from qualifying for the heats, and two seconds faster than the fastest woman. In other words, I wasn’t exactly close. However, I did still get to go through the process of selecting skis on the world cup, deciding to go with classic or double pole (classic), and familiarizing myself with working with my tech. Overall it was a fun day and a good learning experience.
The race itself was interesting. I was seeded second to last and got to watch quite a few of the early racers cruise around the course. Relative to them, I was bleeding time with every movement. My power just isn’t at the level of a world cup sprinter. In addition, I slipped a couple times on the steepest hill and did not take a couple of the corners as well as I should have. More lessons, but really I just need to be faster.
Once my race was over, the real excitement of the day was just beginning. The US had four athletes make it in. I joined a few other non-qualifiers in screaming from the sides along with taking pictures and videos. After watching so many races on TV, it is quite exciting to be right alongside the course as Northug, Falla, Caldwell, Diggins, Bjornsen, Hamilton and all the other star sprinters charge past in search of the glory on the day. While I have always been a distance skier, part of me wants to spend time crushing weights and short accelerations in order to be up there. So along with all the distance goals, maybe it is time to add another: qualify for a sprint world cup (but only if it doesn’t cost me for distance racing).