Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day one

Day one of the 2011 World Championships begins tomorrow, at least for the Aussie team it does. Tomorrow is the qualification races for those that do not have the points to begin the 10/15 km classic races. In order to be eligible to start the 10/15km classic races later in the Championship competitors tomorrow must finish in the top 10. This is a race for mostly small ski nations, or developing ski nations as some call it. We have four athletes competing tomorrow. So for us the racing begins. However, the official start for most will be Thursday with the men's and women's sprint takes place, when Kikkan will take her shot at becoming World Champion!

Our wax crew is complete now with the arrival of Marcus from Davos, Switzerland and Duane (the Aussie) from Geilo, Norway. That brings our total to 4 techs, a manager and a head coach. Lot's of ski testing for me today as the guys were sorting out what skis to race on tomorrow. Falling snow was in the air for most of the morning which saw the classic tracks change from special violet grip to blue grip wax by mid day, even though the air temp was -11 c when we arrived and it warmed up towards early afternoon to -9c. Tomorrow's forecast is for - 16c overnight and clear skies with snow coming by mid afternoon so nothing tricky for us wax wise. We will be dividing and conquering in the morning with different techs working on glide wax, grip wax, and powders, along with testing with the athletes. It will be a busy day but that makes the time go much faster.

Temporarily the plan for the early early morning, is to take advantage of my prolonged jet lag that has me awake by 6 am each morning and go to a local gym with Duane for a workout....we'll see if that happens! These are the hardest courses I have ever skied. The climbs are steep and long with very few sections of flat trail. They will truly put technique and fitness to the test for all. We pre-skied a 6.3 km loop yesterday and already there were dozens of large tents that look like huge Tee Pees (how do you spell that word?). Many had cook fired sending smoke out the centers. There is a long tradition here at the Holmenkollen race venue of camping out for days before races. The sites are set up much like a local campground with garbage cans (actually split into recycables), port-a-potties, and signs for the different campground names. People have shovel walk ways 2 ft down in the snow from the race trail to the tents, and in more prime locations have cut in "snow" bench seating, that will be covered with moose, elk, or reindeer hides. I won't forget to take my camera with me on an afternoon ski again.

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