This is the thought that ran through my head as I neared the top of the biggest climb on the Altenberg Sprint course for the final time. I had received a split saying I was 20 seconds behind one of my teammates after the final shooting and was determined to make up some of that margin. When this thought flashed in my mind, it was quickly followed by the other half of my brain screaming, "no it won't! You've trained hard and done tougher intervals than this-1.5K left, GO FOR IT!" It might be tough to understand how quickly these thoughts come and go in a race, and how ridiculous your mind sounds when you look back at what you were thinking, but if you've ever done a really tough race, or just pushed yourself to that limit, you know what I'm talking about.
The one sunny day in Altenberg-the day of our Time Trial!
In the end, I made up all but 6 seconds on my teammate and finished 26th overall. It was a decent race: good skiing and some tough shooting conditions put me in 3rd for US finishers. We were all pretty close though, which makes a big difference with the point system since it's based on your percent back from the winner, not your place. I was solidly in the lead for Olympic qualifying, and that, coupled with my win in the time trial, made all the difference since the final qualification race was canceled because of fog. When not all the races are held, the team is selected by first the winner of each race and then a discretionary pick for the final spot. So all that internal babble paid off-I reached my goal of making the Olympic Team!
Susan and I looking for the targets during zero for the Pursuit-the race was canceled because of visibility problems (an understatement?).
Back to the present, we are in Ruhpolding, Germany for the second to last World Cup before the Olympics. I had an alright sprint race, but coming off a couple of hard races and a very stressful week of trials, I felt ok about it. Today we have the relay-the first relay the US women will do this season. We are all pretty excited to see how we stack up. I'm leading off, which should be really exciting in front of so many fans (I've heard estimates of 15,000 or more!). It will be a great experience for me, and I'm psyched to see how things go.
Next, we'll be off to Antholz, Italy for the final Pre-Olympic World Cup. Antholz is in the Italian Alps, and is a beautiful place to ski, so we're all looking forward to being there for the week. I probably won't have internet for the next couple of days, but check back early next week for a post on the relay competition!