Racing with the Big Dogs–Quebec City World Cup Sprints

My high school coach, Ja, once told me “Fritzy, if you want to ski with the big dogs, you can’t train with the puppies.”

Well, today I got to train with the biggest dogs in Nordic skiing. The city sprint course here in Quebec City opened for official training today for a few hours. It is a really cool course, twisting and looping 860 meters in the park in front of the Quebec Parliament Building. The race with be two laps around the course. The course skis really fast and should be really exciting, with one little hill, a 30 cm “step-down” that is literally a 90-degree drop-off jump in the middle of the course, and a long gradual uphill finish stretch.

race-prepThe US women’s contingent doing some race prep today (photo from USSA Nordic Facebook page).

Tomorrow is a team sprint–two-person relays where teammates alternate skiing the course for a total of three legs each. Unfortunately, Team USA only gets four teams, so only eight girls get to compete, and I am number 11 in line. So I will only be training and cheering tomorrow. Saturday will be my big day. I’m really excited. I like the course, I feel really good and fast, and I’ll have fresher legs than most.

The past few days have been fun. All the teams are staying in the same hotel right across the street from the course. I look out my sixth-floor window onto the course and the Parliament building.

IMG_7461View from my hotel window onto the course. Parliament building is the one with flag on top at right.

quebec-sprint-aerialView from a bit higher in the hotel (photo from FIS Facebook page)

It’s funny being on the World Cup and seeing all these hot-shot skiers that I’ve only ever seen on TV or in photographs. They seem like such celebrities in the media, but seeing them at meals and hanging out during the day, walking around town, training and jogging, of course you realize that they are just like me. Sure, they are the world’s best skiers, but they’re just people who love to ski just like me. I still have to ask the other US girls who certain people are, but it’s easy to get over being starstruck pretty quick. I mean, I’m here too aren’t I? I’ve been introduced to some of the other national skiers and they are super friendly and cool to talk to and they aren’t scary or intimidating. It will still be awesome to watch them ski in person though.

If you would like to watch any of the races live, here are some links to check out:

www.hahasport.com
www.sportlemon.com       both these sites should have full coverage of the entire races.

www.usskiteam.com         I believe they will show only the team sprint finals and individual sprint heats.

The race schedule is as follows (times are Eastern Standard Time):
Friday Dec.7
12:00  Team Sprint Semifinals
14:00  Team Sprint Finals

Saturday Dec. 8
11:15  Sprint Qualification
13:15  Sprint Finals

Here are a few photos that I took a couple days ago. Fasterskier also has some good pictures from today.

IMG_7443The one hill on the course.

IMG_7445


IMG_7459

IMG_7456Old Quebec City
IMG_7453

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Kikkan and Sylvan took some video preview of the course today too, here are the links to their videos:

Sylvan’s course preview

Kikkan’s course preview (see if you can guess who the skier she come up on is?…)

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