Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kuusamo!....Actually we're in Ruka, Finland

After a 6 hour bus ride Monday I arrived in Ruka, Finland. A small resort town about 20km outside of Kuusamo. This is a big weekend for competitions. It is known as the Ruka Triple on the World Cup calendar. Along with the three cross-country race days starting Friday, there will also be World Cup Nordic Combined (NC) and Ski Jumping. The Finn's love their ski jumping so the atmosphere should be amazing. I think we are still above the arctic circle or at least close to it, but there is not much snow. However, the entire 2.5km race loop has great depth but icy due to recent cold temps and lot's of snow making. It was clear today but with the sun just above the horizon we never felt it's warmth.
Most of the World Cup teams have arrived now. I followed Kikkan and the US team to do strength tonight and we shared the weight room with the German, Swiss, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Polish, Japanese (NC), Russian (NC) teams. It was a full house and a great way to pick up some new training exercises! I was at first just a bystander but got the itch and jumped in on some power cleans with the US guys and will now be sore for most of what remains of this week. I had a great ski with Kikkan this morning around the course with a GoPro camera on (It will be up on the FIS cross-country website tomorrow). Fortunately, the camera was always pointed to where I was looking and not at me as I started to flail when my under trained arms started to fall apart. It was a humbling experience to not be able to hang with Kikk in a double pole sprint! However it was great to be active again after a previous week of zero exercise. The rest of the FIS team comes in tomorrow evening so I will fit in one more ski tomorrow morning and then it will be back to the craziness that is the World Cup. Here is a picture of the Ruka Mtn base village. I am staying in the race hotel with mostly the Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping teams. It is the large building just left of center. Many of the cross-country teams stay in condo/apartments right at the edge of the ski trails. The trails are a short 5 min walk downhill from my hotel...and the long 5 min walk back up after skiing for 90 min!

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