Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I skied in Europe!

My season has been going very well so far. So well in fact that I had the chance to travel with the National Team to Europe to compete in a bunch of races. I've never had this opportunity before so it was a huge amount of fun mixed in with a lot of learning.

We hit 3 different countries in just over 2 weeks and did a few races in each. The trip started off in Campra, Switzerland where we had some time to explore the trails and adjust to the time change and altitude before competing the weekend's OPA Cup races. (OPA is central Europe's verison of the NorAM series)
Zoe Roy skiing in gorgeous Campra, SUI
The trails were beautiful with challenging climbs and fun descents. I was in absolute paradise skiing every day and hardly able to believe my luck that I was really in Europe to ski and race. As if I wasn't having enough fun already, my good friend Adele came up from Trento, Italy (where she is doing a year of university) to visit. Having not seen Miss Adele since last September it was an incredible treat upon a treat to get a visit in!

Having an afternoon espresso with Adele and Zoe
There were 3 races on the plan for the end of our week in Campra, a classic sprint, a 10k classic and a 10k skate pursuit based on the classic results. Unfortunately, I was having more fun than I could contain and came down with a nasty flash flu/food poisoning the night before the sprint to get some of it out. I missed the sprint but bounced back to race the 10k classic and the 10k skate. The classic was nothing special still being a bit low on energy but I was very excited to have one of my very best races of the season in the 10k skate! I moved up from 18th to 12th and had the 8th fastest time on the day. Another highlight of this weekend was Canadian Phil Widmer beating Dario Cologna in the sprint qualifier - WOW!!

After Switzerland we moved on and up to Latvia, a country nobody on the team had ever been to before. We were all keen to see what it might be like and were very pleasantly surprised. The hotel was spacious and served vegetables at all meals (a rare and hot commidity on euro ski trips I've learned), the trails were fun and the ski lodge was one of the prettiest I've seen. In addition to all this the town had lots of neat shops and things to spend an afternoon strolling around to look at.
15k skate in Medona, Latvia. Thanks to Alysson Marshall for the pic!
There was a skate sprint and a 15k skate mass start on tap for Latvia and both went reasonably well. It was amazing to see the difference in how competitive the Scandanavian Cup races are compared to a Canadian NorAM or even a US SuperTour race. In the sprint for example, I qualified 26th and squeaked ahead of a girl or two in my quarter (but didn't make it through to the semis) to finish 23rd on on the day. I had great energy and skied my technical best and yet was out in the quarters - I'm pretty sure if it was a NorAM it would have been an A final day for me! Although it would have been fun to ski in the semis it wasn't too long ago that I would get knocked out in the quarters at a NorAM so I finished the day feeling like I had simply seen the next level of skiing that's out there and am now out to hunt it down.

After Latvia we hit the road to Estonia for another chance to race before returning to Canada. The route google maps reccommended we take consisted of 10k-50k sections of what I would describe as "ice roads" and would have been more fun to drive in a rally car instead of a 9-seater euro rental van. We made it to Estonia just fine all the same and the drive is now a hard-to-believe-that-even-happened memory. On to more races!
Yes please to all 3! In an Estonian gas station.
I skipped the classic sprint in Estonia to conserve energy for the next day's 10k classic. I was starting to feel the effects of the travel and the 4 other races earlier in the week and so slammed a double nap and went to bed at 9pm. Canadian teammate Alysson Marshall had a great sprint day though! She qualified 3rd in a deep feild and ended the day 7th. Another WOW!

I finished my euro race campaign on a high note with a solid 10k classic. The course was a fun 3x3.3k and I managed to hop in behind a speedy Norwegian girl for a lap and a bit who had started in a later seed. It was fun to follow her and try to mimick what she was doing to see how long I could keep up for. She finished the day in 8th and I finished in 19th, mid pack. Again, the placing might not seem like much but I finished the day very happy, feeling like I had raced my hardest and learned a lot along the way. A perfect end to a fantastic trip!

Big Thanks to Cross Country Canada for making this trip possible!

No comments:

Post a Comment