Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sprint Qualification...

Okay, this photo is deceiving because the day of the sprints, it was anything but sunny! It was actually raining, but this photo, taken by Joan, is so fabulous, I had to post it!

So the snow gods took pity on my and it did snow a little bit last night and with the rain this morning, the course has softened up a bit, which my left hip is really happy about because it have the most colourful bruise going on right now because of yesterday's many wipeouts on that one corner.

Anyway, Andrea and I, to try and stay warm, actually wore the geeky plastic ponchos we were giving Robert such a bad time about when we went looking for Rick Mercer, but it worked for the most part in keeping us dry. We went out and skied the course a few times and things were looking good! Even better, I had friends and family in the crowd including three uncles, one aunt, my parents plus Jaden, my friend Sara (we've been buddies since grade 5) and others, which was awesome! Never before have I had such a big contingent cheering me on and that doesn't even include all the people that came to see Andrea!

The way the sprints were organized today is that everyone was to ski in the prologue, which means skiers go out in 30 second intervals, with the fastest eight skiers based on time advance to the semi-finals. The top two finishers from each semi-final then advances to the final. In the heats, the times are calculated as per usual with percentages being applied based on the level of vision. In the semi-finals and final though, they do what is called a hunting start where the athletes with the least vision (B1 category) get a pre-determined head start on the B2 athletes who get a head start on the B3 athletes. This way, athletes know exactly where they are in the race in relation to their competition. Okay, the GUIDES have an idea where they are at and pass along the info to the athletes, but that's just semantics.....

Our race in the prologue was awesome - couldn't have done anything different to make it better given my current skills as a skier. We were only 10 seconds slower than Verena Bentele from Germany, who has won all the races so far. To only be down 10 seconds to her over 1.2km is fantastic considering in the 5km, with her time percentage adjustment she was a minute faster per kilometre. When we crossed the finish line, I was 6th, but by the time all the athletes crossed the line, we ended up 9th - just one spot out of qualifying. We were 10 seconds out of 8th place and Andrea and I both agreed that there was no way we could have made up 10 seconds on that course so we actually weren't all that disappointed with our 9th place finish. That was where we finished at the classic sprint in Oberried for the World Cup races, but this was a bigger field than in Oberried!

Anyway, we got thumbs up from our wax tech Michael who complimented us on our ski and confirmed with us that we were indeed 9th overall. None of our team advanced so our wax techs got the okay to go and get some lunch while myself, Andrea, Margarita (who finished right behind me in tenth, accomplishing her goal of making the top ten - way to go Margarita!!!), and Robert went for a cool-down ski out past the ski jump area. We headed out on a trail past the ski jump chairlift until it started to do some serious climbing and Robert suggested we head back. I was a little bit disappointed in that this was going to be my last ski with these guys and wasn't too excited about cutting it short, but we still had a long day ahead of us. We still had to clean all our skis to remove all of the klister, travel wax them all and then pack them up (remember, between Andrea and I, we had 13 pairs to look after!), help tidy up the wax room, get home and shower, attend a Team Canada special event, go to closing ceremonies...... Anyway, to make a long story short, we didn't really have enough time to be out touring so we headed back to the wax hut. We were all so happy with how our races had gone, which was a fabulous way to finish off the games. Or was it??

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