Quebec City Sprints in the Bag!

WOW. What an amazing experience Quebec City was.

Not only was it incredible to race in my first World Cup race, but I could not have picked a better race to start with. City sprints are just packed with people, some who know what’s going on, some who just wander by and watch. But regardless, the atmosphere was just wild. Around the entire course, the crowd was at least three or four deep, more in certain places. The noise and energy was deafening, it was like being next to a sub-woofer–just reverb all around. Warming up around the course I had to make sure I kept it easy for the first 30 minutes because it was easy to get excited with everyone around.

IMG_7624Warming up

IMG_7651Back stretch of the course running along the wall of the Old City

I was one of the last starters, with the fastest people going out first and newbies relegated to the end. Because the course was only an 850-meter loop that you had to ski twice, starts were organized in groups of six starting every ten seconds with a two minute break between groups. It’s a good strategy because otherwise it would be too many people on such a narrow course with multiple laps. I was the last person in my group, with Becca and Fitz starting just ahead of me. Becca had such an incredible race that I never saw her in front of me, so I was basically out there by myself.

IMG_7691Racing!
Fritzy1photo Andrew Gardner

quebec-stellaphoto Stella Holt

I felt like I skied a good race. I felt strong and I pushed harder than I have probably ever have. However, the snow had deteriorated over the past two days to the consistency of mashed potatoes, so I still felt a bit unsteady and unable to really get the best push off an even ski. I finished in 55th place, one back from my bib number 54.

The US ladies crushed it, with FIVE girls moving on in the top-30: Kikkan, Sadie, Jessie, Sophie and Becca. Watching the heats was so fun and inspiring. Kikkan dominated to win, for the second day in a row! Sadie, Jessie and Becca each had some bad luck getting tangled but looked awesome regardless. And Sophie skied like she belonged on the World Cup to just miss the semifinals and end up 14th! Andy Newell also had a season-best to finish 5th in the men’s A-final.

IMG_7742Sophie and Sadie mixing it up in the quarterfinals

IMG_7769Kikkan (3) dominating her heats

My dad made the loooong trip out to Quebec to watch me race, and we wandered the Old City and had dinner in a creperie

IMG_7715
There were also tons of people from all over New England that made the trip up to watch the races, so we had the best cheering by far! It was really cool to have so many people that I know so well cheering me on and just getting so psyched. It definitely made me smile a ton and increased the fun factor exponentially. There may have been more American fans than Canadian. Or, at least they were louder!

I haven’t uploaded my pictures from Canmore yet, but the snow here is fantastic–cold, firm and dry and it feels like winter 🙂 More on Canmore tomorrow.

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