A lot of things lead me to where I am today. It has taken hundreds of hours of training, sacrifice, and dedication to end up on the World Cup. On top of that, it takes a support crew, training partners, coaches, and family behind you to make it all come together.
Today's race is one I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. Back in July, I found out that I’d be starting all of the sprints for Period 1 of the World Cup. When I found that out, my determination to improve my classic sprint abilities intensified. I spent a lot of the summer doing drills and speeds focused on double pole speed and classic striding (which is really more of a run these days). After the past week of training here in Ruka, I was feeling ready to race. Everything leading up to the race had gone well and when I woke up yesterday morning, I had a plan and was ready to race fast.
Some of you have probably already watched the sprints here. The start is about 100m of flat double pole followed by a big downhill. So, you can start hard and expect recovery by the bottom of the hill. After that, I definitely feathered it just a touch on the first hill in preparation for the final climb. You need to be able to get up that last climb quickly and accelerate over the top of the hill and into the finishing straight. All that being said though, it only takes two and a half minutes to complete the course, so it's hot from the start and finishes hard.
Despite finishing 32nd today in the sprint qualifier, I feel like things came together. I executed my race plan well and felt warmed up and ready to tear out of the start gate. Am I disappointed that I didn’t finish 0.39 seconds faster to qualify for the heats and finish top 30? Hell yes I am! Knowing though, that I am that close, simply reaffirms that I am where I am meant to be. I have what it takes, and have the right tools at my disposal, to become one of the best sprinters in the world. Now, with another race under my belt, I feel like my shape can be strong enough to qualify next weekend in Lillehammer.
I thank my teammates, family, and friends back home for their words of encouragement. Now, I am excited to watch my teammates race in Silverstar this coming week for the first Supertour races of the season. I wish them the best of luck and hope that they race faster than ever before!