Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lahti, Finland

As fast as the Championships began, they are now over and I am in Lahti, Finland. Well, actually Callum and I (Ewan joins us Wednesday) are at the Vaerumaki Sports Institute/resort about 20 km from Lahti. There are a number of teams here, including the Canadian team, which helps me ask questions about what I need to do as Team Captain for this weekend's races.

Sunday's 50km race to end the Championships lived up to the hype. Many of the World's best skiers stayed together in a pack until the final 5 km or so and then things began to spread out. I was out at the 3km mark (on a 8.3 km loop) on the course at a feed station and was able to get updates from our attaché as she had a live radio feed through the phone somehow. I have pictures to go up eventually but I haven't unpacked everything yet. When Petter Northug won the race you could hear the roar from the stadium all the way out where we were, and subsequently the tens of thousands that were around the course cheered as well. It was quite a scene.

After the race we packed up quickly and headed back to hotel where everyone tried to summons the energy to go back out for the athlete party at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was organized by Astrid Jacobsen the 2007 World Sprint champion. Many of the best skiers were there. I was able to speak with Czech great Lucas Bauer for about 5 mins, as well as a dance with Marit Bjoergen. Kikkan was quite tired after the championships and wisely opted to stay home for the night and rest up for the final two weekends of racing. She comes into Sunday's classic sprint race as the World's #1 ranked sprinter. Northug arrived late in the evening and appeared to have been celebrating since the 50km ended.....

Callum and I traveled to Finland yesterday and stayed at the resort today and skied in the area. The trails are 50m from our accommodations. Callum's brother Ewan arrives tomorrow. Callum and I will head into Lahti tomorrow for a ski and I will set up the wax cabin and do whatever it is I have to do now as team captain.

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