Hello from Italy,
Just wanted to let you know how things are going at the 2006 World Ski Mountaineering Championships in Italy!
First, my flight to Milan went well. I tried to get some sleep on the flights (with some help from Ambian) but I was not very successful. All my luggage made it too, so that is good. Had a few days battling jet lag but getting the upper hand now. I had a rough morning before the races and threw up, but feeling good now. I do not think it effected my performance.
The whole event started with an opening ceremony and a parade of nations down the main street of Cuneo. It was awesome and I got a few warm fuzzy feelings inside too! Everyone (including the Frenchies) are very nice and anxious to talk with us Americans. I am trying to keep a low profile…but it is tough for me!!
So far we have had two races. The first was a vertical race (up only) with over 3000 ft of climbing. Basically a sprint…and under 1hr. I came in 44th out of about 90 racers, so I am staying in the top 50%. Good for me!!!
The second race was a team event yesterday with over 6000 feet of climbing. This seems like the most important of the event since it simulates how we all travel in the mountains…with a partner. I partnered up with Pete Swenson (also on Team USA) and we did well…22nd out of about 50. We finished just ahead of our teammates Chris Kroger and Cary Smith. Also, very good for us.
We are racing in all four events unlike most of the big nations that are into this sport (Spain, France, Italy, Swiss). Most of these countries have people that only race in specific events…their specialty. I think Spain even have a world champion trail runner for the vertical race that could not even ski. I think Norway had an Olympic nordic skier as well. All in all, we (the team, the men) are doing very well, placing ahead of all the none World Cup nations. Sweet!!!! Jeannie is having a tough time, but Monique Merrill did well in the vertical race.
The weather has been very nice (sunny) and the races very cool! There are helicopters flying around televising the event and running logistics for the organizers. Today is a much needed rest day, and my hamstrings are a bit tight! Our next race is the individual race tomorrow. We are required to have a harness and crampons for it, so it should very exciting!! We get briefed on the course tonight. These briefings are cool too, with translators, like a UN meeting.
I am very excited for the week of free skiing as well. Not sure where we are headed yet…La Grave, Verbier, Chamonix, Cortina. We will probably follow the good weather so we can see the terrain and where we are going. I heard five people died in avalanches in La Grave last week, so it might not be the best choice right now…we will see.
Chow for now and I will try to send another update when it is all said and done!!!