I was hoping to have some pictures to post of the racing so far, but I forgot to bring the cable to connect my camera to my computer, so I guess not. Anyway, here’s a little update from Maine, pre-sprint.
Ten of us, plus Pepa, are crowded into a five-bedroom house. There’s a lot of room-sharing, and I am living on a futon mattress in the laundry room, which turns out to be unheated (leave the door to the rest of the house open, or else your water bottle will freeze overnight like mine did). We have no internet and no cell phone reception, so we’ve been doing a lot of reading and watching terrible TV. My favorite show that we’ve found so far is “Ninja Warrior” and its accompaniment, “Unbeatable Banzuke”, which are Japanese and basically entail making contestants complete obstacle courses by running on logs, jumping on things, climbing ladders, etc. Usually they fall into a pool of water or have spectacular crashes on unicycles or stilts. It’s kind of funny to watch and makes me think that Japan might be a really strange place…
Luckily all of the lodges at the ski venues have internet, and we spend a lot of time there. For instance: this morning we arrived at the venue at 7:30. The sprint starts at 10. I’m pretty sure our whole team was here before most teams’ coaches even arrived! With ten of us to wax skis for, though, Pepa stays really busy and we need to give her plenty of time and help out with testing. So far we’ve all had great skis, which is quite impressive for a one-woman coaching staff – that’s probably part of the reason that Pepa was just named NENSA coach of the year!
I didn’t race the marathon on Wednesday, opting instead to help Pepa test skis and do the feeds. It was fun to watch and cheer for everyone – marathons can be pretty crazy and a lot can change over 30 or 50 kilometers. I learned that there is a definite technique to handing out feeds, and by the end I think I was doing a pretty good job of holding the bottles by the top so there was the least amount of spilling. It was interesting to see people’s different strategies: a few of the CXC guys even ate bananas out there! We stuck to various mixes of gatorade, flat coke, and coffee – the skiers never knew exactly what they were getting.
I think it was good I sat out the marathon because yesterday I felt terrible in the 7.5k. As has happened so many times this season, I felt okay in the beginning of the race (I even managed to avoid getting tangled in at least 3 crashes that happened in front of me), and then it was remarkable how quickly things turned bad. By 2.5k I was somehow completely bonked and most of the field had streamed by me. I dropped out of a race for the first time in my life, ever. While I had known that I probably wouldn’t do great in these races, I wanted to do them for fun – and yesterday, I was NOT having fun. It was frustrating but I’m trying to stay positive that at least one of the next two races might be fun.
The silver lining here, though, was that I got to see my teammates finish! Ida’s second-place finish was absolutely incredible and so exciting to watch! Go Ida! And then to see Hannah in 13th with a great race of her own, and Lauren and Kaitlynn in 37th and 39th, wow. I might have had a pretty bad day but they all did great. It was very cool.
We’re all excited for more racing on the fast, icy course today. I should probably go test my skis again so Pepa doesn’t yell at me!