My World Championships experience has been pretty wild so far. Not only are these races the biggest and most important races of the year for the whole World Cup field, but they are my first races at this high of a level. It’s crazy coming over here and having my first World Cup experience in a race of this magnitude. I generally like to pride myself on being able to keep a cool head and not getting too caught up in the whirlwind but damn–the level of everything here is raised.
Individual athlete support, waxing support and product support here are all raised to a level that I’ve never experienced. Sure, my coaches at home and on other trips take care of me as well as I could imagine but I feel extra spoiled at this level. I’ve been getting hooked up with new poles and race fleet skis without having to raise a finger. Most of the thanks for all this on-site support has to go the wax techs who organize and facilitate all equipment and race-day needs. I haven’t touched the base of a ski this week and have had everything I could possibly need whether I was training, testing, or racing. Special shout out to my individual tech Patrick Moore for dealing with a guy who knows basically nothing about his skis and helping me make decisions I would struggle with on my own.
The other thing I tried and failed not to get worked up about was the level of competition here. For the past ten years, I’ve honestly been a pretty big geek about Nordic skiing and have watched my fair share of World Cup skiing online. I grew up through skiing as a junior watching sweet hype videos of Petter Northug and getting fired up on the sport. So yesterday when I was warming up and heading to the start with guys I’ve been watching on Eurosport for years I naturally got a little shook.
That’s kind of been the story of the week for me, trying to get on a mental level where I can even dream of competing with these guys. I wanted to be the cool guy who came to the World Cup and wasn’t fazed by the level, but it’s harder than it looks to do that. Obviously, I’m not quite close enough physically to be right in the mix with the best, but I think a lot of my struggle yesterday came from getting too wired before the start.
I always hate to have a bad race, but there’s some real value to be taken from getting a start under my belt with the absolute highest level of competition, stress, and excitement there is. In the end, I’m mostly just psyched to get this opportunity to giv’er a shot at this level.
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