Yesterday was one tough day! The course was certainly a double pole course, however it’s amazing the difference in attitudes between Swedes and Estonians! The TD (Technical Delegate) came up to us before the start as we were powdering up our skate skis and said it would be impossible to Double Pole and certainly be slower. He then gave us the clear message that if there was any mistakes made in the form of not keeping the skis parallel when the tracks were set we would be disqualified. His words – we have 5 cameras and you WILL be caught…. Anyway, we took his information on board, quickly dismissed it and the three of us Aussie boys were the only ones to choose to double pole the course.
It was the right decision, but we just didn’t have the wax support to make it pay off. You chose to DP because the grip wax that you need to diagonal stride with slows the skis dramatically compared with a clean Classic ski, or a skate ski. This is therefore a huge advantage when the skis are good – the time you lose on the steep climbs grinding away in a double pole is quickly made up on the flats and downs. The only issue is, due to limited wax support, we didn’t have competitive skis.
The skis showed good speed on the first lap, and both Phil and I were right up there with the leader’s after 2 laps. After that though, the skis slowed dramatically to the point where people on Classic skis began to go past us on the down hills. This therefore meant we had no advantage what so ever…. Phil and I held very similar lap times and finished just 7 seconds apart! Phil in 9th and me in 13th (quite a tight field). So the strength and at least we showed it was possible.
Not bad results, but a little disappointing as they could have been so much better. At least it was a torturous but good workout and really feel good about my double pole strength at this point in the season
As recovery, local hero Peter Kummel invited us for dinner and a sauna. I’m still so amazed at the kindness of the Estonian people! What a friendly culture they have going here. Today Jacko and I will fly back to Falun and prepare for the big races coming up while Phil jets off for a sprint race in Czech.