November 21, 2012 (Muonio, Finland) – Well, we made it to Muonio, Finland! And the trails here are awesome, with tons of snow and even more daylight than I thought there’d be (you can see the sun on a clear day from 11:30 – 3:00). There’s a ton of international skiers here: Finland, Russia, Japan, Spain, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting at the moment!
The good news is that they found it and are holding it at the desk, but it’s been a logistical nightmare to get it back since they won’t ship it. I should hopefully have it back sometime in Gallivare, Sweden, and then I promise to update a ton of pictures! Meanwhile the girls have been so nice in letting me borrow their computers to check email everyday.
Some cool things about the trip so far: the airport where we flew in, Rovaniemi, is the official hometown (and airport) of Santa Claus. Don’t believe me? Google that thing! It’s real! Of course, I’m not sure how Cork feels about that being from North Pole, AK…
We also went to visit the local elementary school here in Munio and the kids there could speak amazing English, and some had questions about the US (are there really Polar Bears in Alaska? What’s our favorite hockey team?). They were really nice and it was cool to see a school from another country.
This week has been a pretty hard training week for me with a couple interval sets, a couple strength sessions, and 3 FIS races. So far, I’m one race in and my limbs feel a little like jelly, but I guess that’s to be expected when I’m still shaking out a whole lot of cobwebs and jetlag.
Today was the classic sprint. For me, classic skiing in general and especially sprinting is something I’ve been trying to convince myself is fun. But today felt like a total slap in the face since I fell on the steep herringbone pitch 15 feet from the finish line in the qualifier. I somehow squeaked my way into the rounds in bib #30 and then fell again…in the SAME SPOT. Geez. Wow. Ouch.
But sometimes you learn the most from the races you do the worst in. Even if what you’re learning is how to be mentally kind to yourself! And to not take racing too seriously, and remember that you’re a person, not a machine.
Saturday we have a 5km classic and Sunday is a 10km skate, and then on Monday we drive over to Gallivare, Sweden.
There’s a pretty funny story I’ve heard from 2 years ago when the team vans ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere, in between Munio and Gallivare. They had to stop at a reindeer farm and wait for the farmer to unload 150 reindeer before he could get them gas. Hopefully this year we make it!