One Athlete's Mind
This trip has been one adventure after another so far, and the first two days of racing continued to keep things interesting. The conditions here had been fairly steady up to that point, and the weather for the first day of racing turned out to be perfect! Blue skies, above the smog here in Almaty so the air was clear, and a fairly hard packed track made for a great day for racing.
Monday saw our first race here in Almaty, with the individual start classic event (men 10km, women 5km). Having known the format of all the races here since the summer, I knew this race would be one of best shots at having a strong result, being a bit more confident and comfortable with my classic technique than my skate these days. The start list had me as the third starter, chasing down a Norwegian starting 30 seconds ahead of me, and an American 1 minute ahead. My game plan was to start out quite hard, trying to put some time into those guys, and then stay strong and fluid once the pain really started to settle in. So I went for it off the start, and to my surprise managed to catch both the Norwegian and the American before the 2km marker, dropping the American right away, and pulling the Norwegian along behind me for a couple kilometers before he cracked just after the 5km mark. It was a lonely race for me after that being at the front of the race, but I managed to keep the pressure on and come in to the finish with a strong final kick. And a perk to having such an early start along with a strong race, I was even at the top of the leader board for a few minutes!
I was on TV!
At the end of the day after all the racers had come through, I ended up finishing 49th. While it would have been nice to be a little higher up in the results, that was my best ever result in an international distance race, and being the top Canadian man on the day made it that much better!
The next day came the 10km Skate Pursuit. I knew from the time I got to the race site that morning that I was not feeling like I had been the day before, and despite getting a good warm up and doing my best to wake myself up and stay positive, it was just not my day. I tried to hang on to the guys who went by me during the race, but with my fatigue coupled with the super soft conditions, I was not skiing well enough to match their speeds.
Fortunately I have a day off racing here to try to recover and get ready for the individual classic sprint event coming up tomorrow (Thursday). I'm very happy to be switching back to classic for the rest of these Games, and I'm looking forward to putting myself into a world of pain and speed in the hopes of qualifying for the heats tomorrow. Over the next few days following that race there will be a couple of relay type races which the coaches will decide who will get to compete. So I'll do another post following tomorrow's race and hopefully by then I'll find out whether or not I'll be racing in the relays!
Sorry about the monotone read today, apparently my writing skills take a bit of a hit when I'm this wiped...
Until next time,
Jordan Cascagnette, Student-Athlete, Ski Coach