Our day started at 5:40 this morning with Lorris' phone serenading us with "Sunday Morning." As soon as we got outside we could tell that things had changed significantly. Snow had fallen again overnight, but this time it was classic BC snow... wet and heavy. Driving to the race site we were feeling confident about the setup of our test skis and things were looking promising.
The morning went fully according to plan. Testing was relatively straightforward and it didn't take us long to settle on a race wax and top coat. There is another skate race tomorrow and potentially another one here next weekend (more on that later), so I'm not going to give away all our secrets just yet :)
Madeleine finished 22nd in the qualifying round, 11.0 seconds off the pace. Although this was a little surprising based on what we saw on the race course, that time gap is about the norm. As a true all around racer, Madeleine's strength is that she typically gets stronger during the heats and we were ready for things to improve as the day wore own.
That brings me back to the title... sometimes in sprint racing, it really is all about luck. Madeleine skied brilliantly in her heat; comfortably in second place during the entire race. She looked super relaxed, had amazing technique and tempo on the uphills, and sat in the draft on the downhill; exactly where she need to be.
Unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be today. Sometimes in sprinting it truly is all about luck. As the racers entered the stadium it was clear that Madeleine's heat was very close. There is a short uphill into the stadium and she was still in second and looking amazing. As the race neared the finish line the pace quickened and the sprint was on. Madeleine was positioned well and I was convinced that she was moving on to the semi-finals. Milaine was in the lead and Kristina Strandberg was making a nice move in third but it looked like we were going to be ok. Then, at the last second, Milaine stumbled forcing Madeleine to take a very wide line into the finish. Kristina was able to ski straight through and in a super close finish took second in the heat. Our day was done but that is the nature of sprint racing.
Despite being eliminated in the quarter finals, there were a number of positive outcomes to today's race. Coming off a bout of illness, Madeleine hasn't done intensity in a couple of weeks so it was good to get in a quality speed session. Also, because of the lack of intensity of late we were not expecting Madeleine to have full access to her top gear, but she clearly showed that overall fitness is excellent.
Tomorrow's race is looking promising and Madeleine has the prime starting position. The race is two laps of a 5km course that is tough. As Jack said, "there is no lack of uphills or downhills on that course!"
Full results from today race - results
Tomorrow's start list - start list