Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3rd at Planoiras Swissloppet. Super shape this year!

3rd at Planoiras Swissloppet. I could not even expect a better result taking into account the very high level of participants including the current suisse national team Toni Livers and former suisse national team Gion Andrea Bundi plus all the best racers in Suisseloppet. But it seems as this year I should have bigger expectations than last year, since my level became a lot higher (I hope it's not just a temporal shape).
Fortunately, I did not loose anything this time :)

I am number 35
When we came to Lenzerheide, the air temperature was -16. Like back in Russia :) I picked up Atomic hard track skis, because the track was hard and cold. When we came to the start, the sun went out and the sky was blue without any cloud. It was a super pleasant and beautiful race in the full of sun valley surrounded by snowy mountains! I even got some suntan on my face :)
The start of the 25km race was quite fast and the speed was high from the beginning. The group started to break from the first kilometer due to the high tempo of Toni Livers. So after few kilometers we left four people in a leading group. But in few kms, the tempo was too high for us as well and Toni went forward and we went in a group of three: Gion Andrea, Matthias Inniger and me. We went together untill 10km before the finish. Then I went forward before the downhill. By the way, the Atomic skis were quite good. Not faster then those of other people, but at least not slower. So once again, I am very happy with Atomic skis this year!!! After the downhill we had not very steep uphills followed by downhills. I felt strong there and Matthias and Gion Andrea could not keep up. I think I had 10-15 seconds of advantage in front of Gion Andrea before the last uphill (the second hump at the elevation graph here), Matthias stayed even further. However, on this last uphill which was quite long I ran out of gas and Gion Andrea reached me by the end of it and attacked. I could not keep up and lost the contact. On the final part he increased the advantage to 22 seconds. So I finally reached the finish line third and was actually very happy and proud!

My race info, including a warmup and a cooldown.

Full results list

Some photos from news
Other news 

Monday, January 9, 2012

My first ever Swissloppet win: Attraverso Campra

First of all, this is probably my best personal skiing achievement.

Swissloppet Cup consists of 10 races. Campra opens the season: it is the first race in the series. I am actually very happy and super satisfied with my result. Especially, with 2 minutes of advantage to the best guys in the Swissloppet Cup 2011.

Well, before the race my perspectives were not that good. So let's start from the beginning.

I won 3 regional races in Switzerland in a row. Then did a very good race in La Clusaz. Then we had a skiing camp with friends in Praz de Lys (France) from 24-dec to 7-jan. We trained a lot, it was cool, and the plan was to go to Campra on 7th. My friend Reto was supposed to pick me up at the train station. We skied in the morning in Praz de Lys and went to Lausanne to get the train to Luzern. I had around 1h-1h30min, but because of the traffic jams in France the drive back home took longer and I had 25 minutes to prepare some food and get to the train station. With the help of Pernilla I managed to get on time to the train station and ate my lunch (pasta) already on the train.

Then the adventures started. In Luzern I had to change the train to the platform 11B. I found the platform 11 and went to the train. It turned out there are two trains on that platform: one in front of the other and I had to take the one in front. I did not have a clue that there is another train in front, so the one I took was wrong. I realized that I m in the wrong train after few stops. I quickly went out and jumped into train going back to Luzern. Then called Reto to arrange new meeting location. He suggested to go to another place by bus. That was I did. In the bus I realized that I don't have my bug (with skiing shoes, racing suit, gloves, glasses, everything ...). Once I arrived at the meeting point, I gave skis to Reto and went back to Luzern (1h on bus) to try to find my bag. Nobody saw it in Luzern. I waited for few trains coming from the direction where I lost my bag. None of them had my bag. I went to the destination of my train (1h from Luzern) to check if somebody found the bag there. Everything was closed there already. So I went back to Luzern and went to Olivone (which is in 15min drive from the race start). I departed from Luzern at 22:15 and arrived to hotel in Olivone at 1:10. I called at 22:00 to the hotel to reserve a room, since it was too late for my friends to pick me up in Olivone. Reto (thanks a lot for you help) sent me thousands of sms to help with hotel, found his friend who could pick me up in Olivone on Sunday morning before the race.

So I finally went to sleep around 1:20 and got up next morning at 7:20, had a breakfast and went with Reto's friend to the race start. All I had was my skis and poles, that I managed not to loose. Reto gave me his spare pair of boots and Fabian gave me his old racing suit. A hat I got as a present to all registered for the race people.  This way I was able to race.

The race I started from the second line. Felt very sleepy just before the start and managed to fall down on the first uphill. But then I went back to the leading group and 9 of us separated from the others. The race consisted of 3 laps, each - 7km. I noticed a very good ski glide on the first lap. Then the first lap we went together. The speed was very slow for me and I decided to attack in the beginning of the second lap (the lap had several uphills in the beginning and then relatively flat). Some other guys decided to attack as well :) So on the top of the hill we were 4-5 people and lost others. On the downhill, I was third in the beginning but then I passed everybody (my Atomic skis were super fast). On the flat area I continued to have a rather high tempo, and, to my surprise nobody was able to keep up. One pursuer reached me and when I suggested to change he let me know that it was hard for him. So I continued to go in front and soon he stayed behind. The gap was increasing and soon I was not able to see them anymore. The second half of the second lap and the whole third lap I was going alone and finished first in isolation. The second skier lost 1min55seconds to me.

Again, I did not expect such a result and I am very happy. Last year, in the same race I was 6th and I lost 2 minutes to two of the guys that participated this year again. The last year's winners of Swissloppet Cup were left behind with a large margin. I should really thank the Atomic guys. I run for Atomic team and I am really happy with Atomic skis this year. In 4 races out of 7, I was very satisfied with skis performance. In this race, even though I felt very strong, the skis were a big part of my winning. The other competitors were asking after the race what skis did I run on and how did I prepare them. Well, it was the new Atomic skis (soft track). I used hard track in another race before and was also very satisfied.

Here are full results

My lost bag was found by SBB. Now I am completely happy!