The above photo is an overview of the Women’s Individual Race Course from the World Championships. The race started and finished in the top left corner where it says ‘Finish’. Green indicates a climbing section, red is a descent and yellow is a boot pack. There were four climbs and descents totaling just over 1500 m elevation.
The start of the race was more narrow than I have typically seen due to the low snow pack. They had to truck in snow to cover the road.
Since it was so narrow, there was some pushing in the first minute while everyone fights for a good position. You have to keep moving and protect your equipment so that nothing knocks your skin off the front of your ski.
After some technical skinning in the forest, over rocks and roots, it quickly became very foggy. I found it challenging to be all alone in the fog for a few reasons: 1) Not being able to see the counter of the ground meant you could not ski downhill fast, 2) limited depth perception meant I got very motion sick and 3) I normally use my competitors to help gauge my speed.
With the limited snow pack we had to boot pack down a section of the course. It was quite an adventure! In this picture you can see my ski tips have separated in my pack from all the bouncing while running downhill. This was a skill I have never done before. I now know what I could do better next time.
This photo shows the main spectator zone of the course. You can see the men skiing downhill as the ladies are going out of the downhill boot pack and into the second last climb. At this moment I happened to be transitioning up as my fellow Canadian Teammate Rob Krar was skiing downhill.
This race allowed athletes to get a re-fuel in the spectator area. It was nice to get some more energy gels and Nuun in a bottle before the last section of the race. It helps to not have to carry that weight the entire race.
The final section of the course I was able to see on the descent! So I held my tuck and got down to the finish as fast as I could despite feeling terrible. I am glad I persevered and was able to complete the race!
At the finish line! As you approach the line, they announce your name to the crowd. It was pretty awesome to hear and know that you are done! Then after you stop moving, you get cold pretty quick. It’s jacket on, cool down the legs, then shower and food!
The experience of racing with the best in the World is truly amazing. I was able to learn a lot about what I personally can improve on technically and physically. I will be sure to pack some anti-nausea medication for any future foggy races. 🙂 There is always more to learn!