It sure was a week full of great emotions here in Italy. After the sprint race of Wednesday was one of our favorite event of all, the individual race. This is where the stronger racers of each country battle over a course of around 1300m of vertical gain for the women and 1500m for the men. The race usually starts with a longer first climb and has at least 3 descents and a bootpack section. Well this race was no exception. We woke up on Thursday to perfect weather for our individual race. We warmed up going to the start line skinning about 300m…then we all warmed up to a faster pace, trying to focus on the job ahead and not get intimidated by one another. The men started at 10am and right from the beginning, carbon poles were braking, bindings were exploding, bodies were stumped over…it was war!!! Then, 10 minutes later the ladies took position on the start line. We had to go up on a logging road for about 200m before merging in the forest on a double track, which finally broke in the open where a crowd was awaiting cheering with large cowbells at the first transition point. A quick 100m descent/skate took us to the second transition. From there, a steeper climb with switchbacks took us to flatter terrain. We then gained the alpine and traversed a meadow. We could see the transition point from afar but it just seemed at that point in time that it kept on being further and further away… At that point, team Canada supporters were really encouraging and helped keeping the focus. A nice descent in the meadows and bumps took us to the 3rd transition point. From there, 130 m of climbing took us to the bootpack section and ridge walk, We then had to down climb a ladder attached on a fix rope and ran for a while in deep facet. We put the skis back on of another 190m of climbing… wow, that section felt long. The men kept going for an extra 100m to the top of the ridge as the women course turned around just before an additional bootpack. The last descent was a pure blast. We were zigzagging in thetrees, moguls, sharp corners. We then met with a long logging road that was just line a bobsled track…. SO FAST and so narrow!!!
Our Nation was well represented with Reiner taking the 30th place, then Andrew right at his tale was 36th. Then James and Alex finished 59th and 60th respectively. On the ladies side, the race was close till the end as I managed to pass an Austrian girl on the skating part just before the finish line to end up in 10th position. As for Julie, she took the 24th place. Big congrats to Janelle from the USA who had a great race finishing in 9th place.
Following the individual was the relay race. We unfortunately did not compete in the race since we needed a 3rd woman. The men (Reiner, Andrew, Stano and James) did very well with an 11th place. The battle was hard with a really fast field. It was amazing to watch! We took a day to catch up on some sleep and relax a bit then took the rode to Martello, a beautiful valley in Italy close to the Austrian border. We have been enjoying some of the culture while spending 2 day in an alpine hut at 2610m and climbing up the local peaks.We are resting before the next event, the Marmotta Trophy this coming Sunday!