Sprint races run with a prologue first where skiers start at 15 second intervals. The times from the prologue determine who advances to the next round as well as who earns World Cup points. For today, the top 16 would move on to the heats, from which eight would move onto the semis and then the top four would move on to the final. My objective was to make the top 16, meaning I would get World Cup points.
Andrea and raced really well. I finished our prologue feeling like we couldn't have done much different to ski it better, other than getting closer to each other but that takes time, and you can never be disappointed with a performance like that. The bonus was we did in fact make the top 16! I was so happy! First time ever in my ski career that I have finished high enough to get World Cup points in a skate race!
Andrea and I agreed to follow the same race plan for the heats, but this time we started with four other three other athletes all at the same time. We stayed with them up the first big bill, but they gradually kept pulling away from us. A couple of athletes have commented how it is hard to stay motivated to keep going hard when that happens, but Andrea and I had agreed that we wanted to put together two solid races back to back. It might not matter in the results, but it is always good to show the coaching staff we can go hard in more than just one round. Instead of slowing down, I focused more on technique and really maximizing as much glide as I could. Again, other than needing to ski a little closer to each other, we followed our race plan and were happy with the outcome. Turns out we were 35 seconds faster in the heats than in the prologue, which would have put me 10th overall based on the prologue results and not too many skiers went faster after the prologue! So I think I learned a valuable lesson today - don't worry so much about chasing down other skiers, just focus on technique and the times will get faster. So much easier said than done, but now I really understand. Now I just must follow my own advice...
Anyway, I think tonight will be a quiet one with the focal point being a Bananagrams tourney. Anybody got a dictionary handy? And I will post photos tomorrow of us racing when I can get them off of Harris' camera. The photo here is of Andrea and I just checking out the sprint course in the afternoon of the short biathlon races.
Oh, and Manninagh, a salle de fartage is a room where you can wax your skis and has nothing to do with eating too much Beaufort cheese! ;-) For those of you who are going "Huh?", check out the picture of George and me in front of the lodge...do you see the sign now?