My first Cross Country World Cup done and dusted! This was new for me starting the season with a XC World Cup and not a Biathlon IBU Cup. One thing is for sure, I enjoyed every bit of not carrying a 4kg rifle on my back! The World Cup was supposed to be held in Beitostolen but it was moved to Sjusjoen, 20km north of Lillehammer. We arrived to Lillehammer on the 16th. Athletes were only allowed to ski on the track from the 17th so we arrived at a perfect time. The track was well made with a 3.75 km loop of artificial snow. Weather conditions were the weirdest I have ever seen – on the 19th it was raining at -4 deg, and in the morning it was a bit of a mission to get up the stadium in our van!
The race was won by Johan Olsson (Swe) with Peter Northug (Nor) taking the silver 30 sec behind, 3rd was Roland Clara (Ita) loosing 0.2 to Northug. I was satisfied with my race finishing 4.38 behind the leader and 113 fis points. Norway had 4 of their best biathletes racing that were supposed to be all favorites but they didn’t quite perform to their expectations – the best was Lars Berger in 8th place.
I started out steady, then after 1km started to get shin and arch pains, I guess that is from the lack of skiing I’ve had this season and that the track was icy and unstable. After 7km I began to get lactic in my legs and couldn’t push out the power with the unstable icy snow conditions. After 12km I started to feel my lower back cramping up, but I managed to finish the race without it affecting my race. All up it was a good first race of the season and I enjoyed it.
I know I still need to do a lot of work and get my form up to shape, and that is exactly what I will be working on this week coming. The track was prepared well by the organisers, and I enjoyed staying in Lillehammer. Tomorrow is the relay, it would be great one day if Australia could enter a World Cup Relay Team and I could participate. Also I would love try out my strength again in a Cross Country World Cup when I have good form. Travelling to Ostersund in Sweden tomorrow, for the first IBU Cup and World Cup. I will be preparing for a week to get my race form, and working on my back problem. Stay tuned to my new blogs to come on my results and where I am up too.