Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Hey's Italy"

So as the season has moved along my ability to sit down and write updates has fatigued. I started to write over a week ago and never finished it or got started again. I am now in Lahti, Finland a week removed from the end of the World Championships. Like many who were apart of the circus that is two weeks of championship competitions, along with many many late nights I caught my second cold of the season. The Val di Fiemme championships ended in incredible fashion with back to back days of +15C warmth and sunshine. On the final day we were treated to arguably the greatest single performance in a men's 50km race since the mass start format was introduced. Sweden's Johan Olsson skied away from the field with 37 km to go. The biggest complaint about mass start 50km's at this level is that for 48km it's a recreational ski with a 2 km final sprint...usually won by Norway's Petter Northug Jr. I was in the mix zone after the race when Olsson was overcome with cramps in his legs and had to stop his interview to recover. I can't express in words how deep he went for that win and it was amazing to see in person. This has been such an eye opening winter and I truly need to write things down everyday to possibly keep up with all that I have seen and experienced. Below is a post I started along with pics from the past few weeks. Started March 1.... "Now a few days removed from Kikkan's win in the team sprint and becoming World Champion with teammate Jessie Diggins the rest of the stay here in Val di Fiemme is on cruise control. Sunshine returned today, and we were treated to a great day of racing. This is the most time I have spent in duration in Italy. It is a fascinating place. Not knowing many words in Italian I am completely lost in all conversations and have yet to sort out the difference between when the conversation is polite and friendly or angry. Honestly for all I know the conversation could be going something like "It's great to see you and thank you for the beautiful flowers..." or "You bastard you drove over my cat and I will kill you". The hand gestures and volume used in the conversation are indistinguishable." Didn't capture the trees as they looked in really life but it was a great moment when a bit of sun poked through. Our humble accommodations in Cavalese, Italy. Shared the place with the King of Sweden. Incredibly no heavy security. Celebrating Kikk's World Championship gold with the Czech ski team support staff. Of course they brought their own keg of Pilsner! A good use for the wax box The calzone Mom ordered was a bit more than she was expecting. The final ceremony for the men's 50km. So much sunshine! Love this view from the other side of the valley of the small town of Tesoro. Eric the Great! One of the FIS MAG guys entertaining in traditional Austrian garb. Great group of guys and bloody hard workers. The view from the hotel in the morning View from my hotel room as the sun sets over Cavalese. Robert, J├╝ssi and Marco and I celebrating the end of the Championships at the volunteers party. Love that Italian wine. Now in Lahti, Finland. Might as well be Orillia, Ontario or anywhere in the Muskoka's. First time on the snowboard in 15 years. Been in the alps for two months and my first and only alpine day of the entire winter is on a 110m high slope...still worth every second. Such an icon Nordic look. Great to be back in Scandinavia (I know Finland technically doesn't count). Went to my first evening ski jumping competition. Twice the crowd that cross-country had.