With one World Cup under my belt this season, I figured it was time for an update. I'm writing this from my hotel room in Chicoutimi, Quebec, which seems like a different universe than where we were last week, Salt Lake City.
With the first two World Cups being in North America, I think most of the team was expecting, and hoping, that the travel to and from wouldn't be too long or hard. Well we figured wrong. As we found out, Salt Lake and Chicoutimi are not the easiest places to travel between. But more on that in a bit.
Travel to Salt Lake from Montreal was relatively easy though, and despite a 3:30am wake up call, we all arrived in Salt Lake ready for our first World Cup of the season. For me, the week of training leading in the competition went pretty well. As per usual I had some problems in the first few days with the altitude (Salt Lake is around 1300m, Montreal close to sea level). But other than that I was enjoying late season summer weather (seriously do clouds exist in Salt Lake??) and feeling ready to race. I was planning on racing a 1500m and a 1000m, but due to a small registration snafu, I ended doing a 500m instead of a 1000m. Not a big deal since I need practice at 500m anyways.
Friday's qualification rounds went alright, I managed to qualify easily in the 1500, but had to wait and see if my time was good enough in the 500. Luckily it was and I was qualified straight to the rounds in both of my distances.
On Saturday we had the finals of the 1500 and for me it went pretty well. While I didn't end up on the podium (I finished 5th), I am still satisfied with my race as I was well positioned the entire time and I was aggressive from start to finish, something I have been working on.
Sunday brought the 500m finals, and it didn't go quite so well. I was penalized in the quarter finals which meant my day was over individually. Luckily though, we still had to the relay to go. It was one of the more chaotic races I have ever been involved in as there were five teams and I got us off to a bad start by losing the start badly - oops!. Anyways, we managed to make some timely passes and get some good exchanges in while staying on our feet, and eeked out a solid win to finish the weekend.
With that, we wrapped up the first World Cup and got ready to head to Chicoutimi for stop #2. This is where the part about travel comes in. Turns out that traveling between Salt Lake and Chicoutimi is not easy. Actually its probably easier and cheaper to fly to Europe from any major city in Canada than travel between Salt Lake and Chicoutimi. Monday, our travel day, started off with bus to the airport at 6:30am and finished at 12:45am that night. In between that we had a flight to Montreal via Minneapolis, a fight with line ups in customs and traffic jams in Montreal and a five and a half hour bus ride from Montreal to Chicoutimi. An 18 hour travel day, but we made it!
So that brings us to this week. Chicoutimi is a shock from warm and sunny Salt Lake (its about 3 degrees and rainy here), but we are excited for our home World Cup. For those who want to watch, CBC is showing the world cup this weekend all across the country. I'm not sure of the exact times, but I'll try to post the times on my twitter page once I know!