As I mentioned in my previous post, today's races were sprints. the standing skiers' distance was 1 km. The way the sprints work is there is a qualifier in the morning: everyone races the course once individually with 30-second intervals. Then, depending on how many skiers are in the category, a certain number of skiers advances to quarter- or semi-finals. For example, the sitski men had 25 participants today, so the first 16 advanced to the quarter-finals. In my category, which tends to be quite small and is even more so here, we had only 7 participants so all 7 got to advance to semi-finals as long as we got World Cup points (within 130 per cent of the winner's time). I know this sounds a bit complicated but, hopefully, this gives you somewhat of an idea of how the sprints work.
I was last out in my category today and Laurent did his magic on the skis again, they were fast and had awesome grip, even though we had to use Klister (a really sticky liquid grip wax for icy conditions). The course itself was not too complicated, having only one big downhill with a corkscrew turn. I stumbled a bit on he second turn of the corkscrew but stayed up. So I got World Cup points and advanced to the semis.
My semi was at 1 p.m. and I had to warm up for it by running as there was absolutely nowhere to go skiing. I had one of the fastest and the slowest Russian girls in my semi and a German B1, who has become quite fast also. The B1 girl got a 29-second head start and the Russian B2 got a 4-second head start on me and the fast Russian. When it was finally my turn to start, I skied as fast as I could but I could not catch those girls. The weirdest thing happened during that race though. Just as we started the race, this crazy siren went off somewhere. It was super loud and it sounded like an air-raid siren from the old Russian war movies. it scared the heck out of me! I thought we were going to get bombed! It turns out it was a tornado warning siren. I guess it was some kind of test. But talk about ironic timing - it just had to be during the blind race!
Anyway, sprints are really not my thing, and I'm glad they're over. I got World Cup points, and that's good enough.
Tomorrow's race was supposed to be a 15 km but they had mercy on us and reduced it to 12 km for the women standing. They did this because the course is quite difficult: there's nowhere to catch your breath. It only goes up and down and really mostly just up. So it's a kind of course you really have to pace yourself on. In addition, when Brian and I skied it this afternoon, it was like skiing on brown sugar: the snow is sugary and really dirty! My start time tomorrow is 1:04, so it's going to be pretty horrible, and, if it's sunny, also hot. Good thing I just bought a new pair of skis for wet conditions. They're going to come in handy!
Well, that's it for today. One more race and we're home free!
Good night from Minneapolis.
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