As I sit in the Trondheim airport hotel looking back over the past 3 weeks I can only help but shake my head in regards to my pre-Christmas racing and the period I just had here in Europe. Since leaving Trondheim just 7 days ago I have had 2 flights, taken a 3 hour train ride and two days later jumped into a car for a drive 4hr from Sonthofen to Lindberg, Ger. Two days after that I was back in the car again for 5 hrs to Lienz, Aut where within an hour of arriving was the start of the street sprint. After the sprint I painted the town red until 3 am with a bunch of 20 year old German skiers, and 48 hrs later I am on the podium in third place in the 25km Dolomiten Lauf World Loppet race (the best skiers of the day were in the 42 km). Now another 5 hour drive back to Lindberg and an hour to Munich this morning and two flights to Trondheim I have had my best racing of the year?? Who would have thought. Certainly not me. The enjoyment of the past three weeks rivals anything in my athletic career. The 6 months preceding it were easily the most stressful and least enjoyable. It's not as simple as just enjoying the process and not stressing the little things, and great racing will happen...but I don't believe it can be overlooked.
This past week has cleared the fog that has hung around my athletic future. This will be my final year as a focused cross-country skier. Come May my rollerskis will continue to collect dust and will probably do so until September. However, I will be dusting off my running shoes, track spikes, mountain bike, baseball glove and whatever activity I can participate in. When I was most successful in sport I was not a single sport athlete. That formula may not work for everyone, but in my experience change is good. The body (and my mind) thrives when forced to adapt and I wouldn't be surprised to post some of my best results next winter on snow. I will for sure come back to Europe.
For now it is off to Calgary tomorrow where I will meet up with Kikkan in Canmore Wednesday and then off to Silver Star, BC to begin my stint with the Australian team in their prep for the Canmore World Cups and then the Olympics. Can't wait.
Below are some pictures from yesterdays race. My friend Thomas took third in the 42km event. We started with those guys and through 20km I was able to match the pace but lost 30 seconds or so over the next 5km. Thomas missed second by a boot length to World Cup veteran Tobias Angerer of the German National team. I had the pleasure of skiing the first 20 km with Axel Teichman another WC veteran.