Today was a very foggy and soggy day up at the "Laura" cross-country ski venue. The fog was so thick that you couldn't see too much in front of you. When I mentioned to someone that I never got a picture of the foggy conditions for my blog they said "Just take a picture of a white wall; it will look about the same." So that gives you an idea. The snow was very wet and rutted so you were either catching a rut or sinking through. In other words, far from my ideal race conditions.
Phil and I practised our course quite a few times. I was having trouble with the big downhill, which had given me no trouble earlier in the week. Finally, I managed to ski it to our satisfaction. Once the course was closed so the races could begin, there was nowhere left to ski to warm-up so we had to jog on the mushy snow along the snowmobile track where gas fumes were really bad.
Finally, we managed to do some sort of warm-up, triggering a bit of an asthma attack in the process what with the snowmobile fumes and the extremely high humidity, and it was time for the qualifying race.
I started the race relatively well and did the long uphill the way we had planned. The downhill was much more rutted from all the racers that had gone down it befoer me. So I caught a rut and bailed about where it started to come back up a slight hill through which you would normally carry a lot of speed. I got completely turned around in my fall and lost a bit of time getting up. I got up fairly quickly though and continued up the hill. By then I had of course lost all of my speed and therefore didn't make it into the semi-final.
Overall, it was not a great day for me today, but, as I've said before, the first race often doesn't go well for me. So here's hoping for better weather and better racing tomorrow. We're racing the 15 km tomorrow and the forecast is again for snow overnight (which did not materialize last night) and cooler temps of about -3 to -5. So I'm looking forward to seeing what it will be like up there tomorrow!
For now, good night from Sochi.