Yesterday I competed in my second World Championship Sprint Race! It was an exciting day lining up with the top Ski Mountaineering athletes and going full out up and down the Sprint Course!
In this type of race, each racer does the course once by themselves to get a qualifying time. The top 30 fastest athletes then get put into heats and do rounds eliminating each other until the final six go for the medals. It’s pretty fun discipline to race and to watch! Every second matters. Each transition, any slip on the way up or a faster line choice in the descent can make a big difference.
The course started with a swooping skintrack that led to 3 diamond shapes you have to go around, followed by a straight section, 2 more diamonds, a boot pack, and a final steeper swooping track. At the top platform you take your skins off and descend through gates. The first gates were wide apart on groomed snow, then we did a jump down onto ungroomed snow, a quick turn up a jump and down, a final sharp turn and then the final skate to the finish!
Conditions today were challenging (slush, slippery spots on the climb and rutted descent) due to all the rain the mountain has been getting this week. You have to be ready for anything!
My time put me in 32nd today, missing the top 30 by 2 seconds. I am happy overall with my race. I didn’t have my best transitions today and had a near crash in the descent. I do feel great that I pushed the hardest I have done in a Sprint race to date and really improved versus the last World Championships, where I missed the top 30 spot by over 20 seconds. I am glad to see progress. Of course I am disappointed to not get the experience of racing in the heats, but I know that I need to keep working on my fitness. It’s a journey! These ladies are fast on the climb!
Great job to the organizers for putting on a great event!