Some warm-up, down, skiing over from car, up and down the hill...
Ski-O40:19  *** 21c
US Champs Middle + WRE
Well, a pretty good race, but had one mistake just at the end that was pretty painful, almost 1.5 minutes. Still 5 minutes back to the winners, or 3.5 without that mistake though, which is just tons. Looking at the splits, I'm just pretty consistently losing time. When I reran the course, and knew where I was going, was pretty similar, so I think it's probably they're just moving way faster on those little trails, not really route choice or the little map hesitations.
1 - Good, big trail til the little one, was slipping on my non-sharp edges rock skis though.
2 - Pretty confident out of 1 down to 2.
3 - About faced and back up to big trail, the right route choice.
4 - Won this split, woo!! Made a good cut after coming out to the big trail
5 - And not good. Intended to cut out quickly to big trail, kinda failed and was confused when I came out, had to figure out why the junction had 4 trails instead of 3, oh, because I'm *there*!
6 - Went around on big trails, maybe a cut would have been faster?
7 - Fine
8 - Hesitant, then saw control on right.
9 - Uphill
10 - Effectively cut down to the center butterfly control
11 - Oooh, heading into the maze, did ok, although was done 45s faster by Anastasia
12 - Very hesitant, I blame not seeing the trail directly under the red line, ever. So nothing made sense, and I decided just to go to the fence corner, ran into control on the way.
13 - Alex in sight! Chasing up the little trail, then too into chasing her to take the cut to 13, bah
14 - Up hill, chasing down Marie-Cat along the way, Alex still ahead....
15 - More or less right on Alex-tails now, she took the smart route (I tried a different one on re-run, which was slower) of little trails more or less direct. She did one different choice along the way and I got ahead.
16 - And now I'm being chased by Alex. Makes me very focused and I definitely speed up too, trying to get away.
17 - We take different choices, mine worked out better, now a German guy ahead.
18 - Hesitant, missed seeing one little trail junction so became scared.
19 - Ug. Painful! Cruised out to big trail, made first junciton just fine, then was planning rest of my route when I came to the next big trial 4 way junction, and I went the wrong way, thinking the most uphill one was the way I wanted to go, actually, I wanted to sail straight through according to plan.... 1 minute 30s lost here? Still wouldn't have been 3rd, but much much closer
20 - Moment of confusion at junction, didn't cut at all
21 - To the finish, more or less, kept focused
Ski-O38:51 5.82 mi (6:41 / mi) +119m6:17 / mi ahr:164 max:180 21c
And went back out for a re-run. With punching. Wanted to see if I could speed way up knowing where everything is. Turns out, no. The snow was a bit slower for sure, but my times are remarkably even with my first run, except for the original run mistake to 5 and 19 and the rerun mistake (bad route) to 15 and execution to 16.
The fast girls have just got to be doing something faster to move forward on those little trails. Must practice that!
So, after the sprint relay was the World Cup award ceremony. First, happy reflections from both head of ski-o commission and vice pres of IOF on how great it was to have a ski-o WC in North America. So many major props to the folks who have made it all happen here, Greg, Ken, Ed, Tony, our amazingly helpful IOF advisors Marku and Antti and then just absolutely every one else who had pitched in.
Then, there were awards. And they call up the top 6, which meant I got to go up there on stage which was just very cool! Pretty sure I was glowing =)
Here's a picture from going up for the 4th place in the long:
Oooh, chilly morning, started my warm up in my down parka...
Ski-O8:00  9c
WC Sprint Relay - Leg 1
Sprint relays are fun, and this was a blast on little trails/cutting on crust. So lotsa fun times out there. This leg went well, few bobbles, but think I made up some time.
1 - Totally fumbled the map grab off the pole, it was scurrying away from me on the ground and had to go fetch, bah. Maybe two hands is best. After that, big trail and some good cutting using the school fence to guide me.
2,3 - Used little trails.
4 - Used little trails for a bit, then might have cut, kinda forget....
5 - Used little trails.
6 - Ah! mess of little trails. Went in right, but lost confidence, then control was where I wanted it...
7 - Went through the junction I hate, almost went up the wrong trail.
8 - Easy.
9 - Downhill!
WC Sprint Relay - Leg 2
Eh, weakest leg, fine through the beginning then kinda not so good right towards the end...
1 - Stayed on big trail then cut, think it was a pretty good option.
2 - Uphill little trail. Tried to channel uphill narrow trail fiestiness, unsure if I managed.
3 - Don't think I cut this, maybe would have been a good idea?
4 - Easy
5 - Eep, skied to far on the solid trail, relocated via big boulder, not a good route at all!
6 - Uphill narrow trail again!
7 - Real bad. Went down wrong trail, came out and saw a control, not mine. Figure I'm on the trail to the left, so look right, don't see a control, hmmmm then where in the world am I? Back track, go find a trail, oh, it was right there where I looked, I blame the control being in the shadow, really no good. As I'm fiddling with punching, Alex comes, and I nearly stab her with my pole.
8 - Headless chicken, I attempted to go to the goal control first. Alex passes me, because headless chickens are not fast at ski-o.
9 - Trying to catch up lost time skiing fast...
Ski-O race 8:00 
WC Sprint Relay - Leg 3
And the guys stayed in more or less the same order, so I started 20 seconds behind Alex, time to chase!
So, was chasing 1-2-3, then we had different routes to 4, basically punched right behind her there. Right on Alex tails to 5, and then 6, was kinda contemplating when I might try to pass, when she turned down the wrong trail, ok, time to go!
From 6, we both took different routes to 7, I went around to left, Alex cut, around to left was a bit faster, it was uphill and kinda tree-y I think. Then we both didn't cut to 8 and should have, based on Sonne's report later, but managed fine and then did cut to 9 although was slightly off right at the end.
Fiestely sprinted in through 10 and 11 from there. With DQ's we came in 11th, but there were a fair few DQs, you have to punch right on relays!!
Warm up and down, back and forth, back and forth. Stressed a smidge about ski choice, but went with ski-o skis that are allowed to get scratched, cover was reported to be thin. Melted some fluoros in after Alex had an emergency chat with CSU's head waxing guru. Glad we did, conditions were certainly abrasive out there!!
Ski-O race 47:23*** 18c
World Cup Middle @ Tahoe XC
And 5th with a good race behind Tove A. (SWE), Josefine E. (SWE), Milka L. (FIN) and Anastaysiya S. (RUS). I'm happy I did pretty well on a more technical, less physical course. There were lots of small trails and they were icy and fast, so hard to negotiate even if you weren't also trying to look at your map. Since the snow level is low, the small trails also didn't stand out much and you had to be looking hard for them all the time.
Wasn't a perfectly clean race for me, but today's errors were in route choice as opposed to execution, which is a better feeling. I had two 30s mistakes when I chose to cut and it wasn't a good idea, and then maybe one 20s mistake not opting to go around on the big trail.
I skied rather cautiously after yesterday's junction issue, and did always maintain good contact, even though it meant coming to a full stop at least 5 times or so. Also did some serious map-grabbing with the right hand on the small detailed stuff. Unsure how you are supposed to remain not-falling-over and read the map at the same time, but the top girls just must be!!
So that's the last individual World Cup out here, but the sprint relay is tomorrow, I'll be paired with Adrian and Alex with Nikolay. Carl Fey and Chelsea F. will be USA Team #3, with an unofficial team of John Owens and Sonne too.
Also, I think we had 3 F21s come within ~1 minute on the US Champs long course: Kseniya, Yekaterina, Stina, very cool to have other women out and about doing some good ski-oing!
Loops of warm up around the allowed area before quarantine. Felt fine!
Ski-O14:39  *** 9c
Sprint World Cup @ Auburn Ski Club
Oooh, that's a bit painful. Was doing quite well through the beginning- in 3rd place at control #6, and then mega-mistake. Ended up on the wrong trail out of a junction and then complete confusion ensued, had to relocate by how far away I was from the road.
I immediately knew that it was a race-ending mistake, so heart sank, but then time to figure it out, and finish the gosh-darn race. So I did, although in the process, didn't give enough respect to #8 and took the blatantly wrong route choice, maybe only slightly longer distance, but 2 extra contours, no good.
A good thing- on the hardest uphill leg, only 1 second behind Tove A., race winner of both today and the long. I have the ski speed, just gotta but the ski and the o together a bit better...
Ok, so that's that, tomorrow's another day, and this stuff is fun, glad we have 4 more races!
Ski-O (Middle) 55:04 8.49 mi (6:29 / mi) +286m5:52 / mi ahr:145 max:161
North American Champs Middle @ Royal Gorge
The goal of today was really to get just a smidge more map time, most importantly to not get super tired because the next 3 days are 3 World Cups in a row- yikes! So I went easy, focusing on trying to take sensible routes, experimenting with cutting quite a bit, and trying to punch more effectively than yesterday (switched SI from 4th to index finger, a bit better, still awkward with pole).
Anyways, was a fun race, although was initially freaked out by the report that the Red course was 13k. Turns out, it was, or at least I skied 13.6 k, but it did end a lot downhill of the start, so times on the course weren't totally ridiculous for a middle.
I really enjoyed the opportunities to cut, so cool to just be dashing through the woods, on a mission, and then pop out on the trail you intended to!
Felt better wrt the altitude than yesterday, and think I succeeded in not skiing too hard. I won for North Am Champs, just a bit over Sonne and then Marta, and was 3rd overall to some women that must have been putting out at least a bit more effort than I was...
XC skiing18:49 1.9 mi (9:54 / mi) +88m8:39 / mi ahr:126 max:146
Super-slow waddle back to the lodge with Marta and Mike. Nice to meet Marta!
Alrighty, so the race. This was the long, at Tahoe Donner XC. 20 controls, 17k least distance. Going in, I was ranked 13th, so just barely got to start on the first women's line, way on the outside right. But I was way better at getting my map in this time, happy about that!
1 - Figured out a route, was a bit nervous if I was on the right trail leaving the 2nd little groomed area, but yep. Saw a bunch of women in front of me, decided I should move up a bit, so passed a bunch when the trail widened before turning onto a narrow little up. Long narrow up, I was pretty happy going the pace of the Norwegian in front of me, no need to bury myself at the beginning for a race at altitude!
2 - Russian woman off in the distance, checking about where I was going, more or less took her route, but comparing with Alex, would have been faster to cut more- snow was reasonably firm in this area.
3 - Stayed on wee trails til big trail, again, would have been faster to cut more.
4 - I had the further control, and took a different, probably not awesomest route, but it was safe in, so actually ended up punching just after the Russian who had been further ahead.
5 - Map change #1 in the stadium, easy to find.
6- And back up. Ugliest control, right on a bear spot that involved some rock.
7- Was catching some other gals, including Alex. Was a bit confused, because wasn't sure how they had passed me, turned out I had the longer second fork on the first lap. Was in a bit of a pack for this one, with Russian (I think Polina), and a Norweigian and Czech.
8 - Still in mini-pack, I was skiing faster on the big trail, but then kinda messed up the cut down to the control, lost maybe 10 seconds.
9 - An ugly up under the powerline, then down on narrow trails, exciting times. =)
10 - Short fork this time, around on the big trail then in.
11 - Map change #2, oops, inelegant fall not turning quick enough on the big trail at bottom of a little one going straight down. Had to extract skis from a bushy thing. But got told I was in 4th coming through control, nice!
12 - Bah, big mistake. Did not read contours enough, and decided to take the upper route which involved 1) more climb and 2) a nasty narrow-trail descent. I was trailing, actually caught up to Josephina E on the up, then trying to read my map let her go a bit on the down. She opted to take her skis off first, I tried for a bit on skis, but no go, too steep/icy!!! Probably a minute lost??
13 - Flatish ski-o, although the form lines made it look steeper than it was. Double pole times!
14 - Most nerve-wracking of the bunch, trails were a bit worrying in here but I kept going the right direction, was happy to see the first 3 ladies exiting on my way, confidence boost.
15 - Men coming at me during this one, also included jumping over a mini-stream, I might have yelped =)
16 - Loooong climb back out of Euer Valley. Kept it going, but then I for some confused reason though I was going to get to go down, but nope it was still up... ready, change mental picture! But fine into control
17 - Same as #1 on second loop, opted to come in from the bottom, I remembered it was fine to skate up.
18 - Exited from the top of the nastiness at 17, cut to big trail, into spectator, still in 4th.... ok, time to not loose it!
19 - Back up the hill, I took right route, unsure what was fastest...
20 - Nervous, little trails everywhere, kinda went off big trail corner....
21 - Flying down time!
22 - And across to the finish. Think there were decent gaps before and after me, maybe ~ 1 min? But definitely very happy! Is sneaking onto the podium in one of these races possible? Just maybe, will have to take the best routes and ski fast!
Chatted a bit with Tove and Josephina at the finish, regretting with Josephina the high route choice. Tove did something neat, cut across the downhill slope saving some distance, wonder if she had the top split on that.
And then warm-down, warm enough out I didn't need to suit up immediately.
1) Wax testing at the base of Northstar. B ski won.
2) Wax testing at the xc area (which is halfway up alpine mountain, bizarre and a pain to get to), B ski still won, got the wax for tomorrow!
3) Skiing up to model area, trying to keep it easy, reading map a bit.
4) 1:15000 model course. Ok, a bit confused off the start, but then things made sense.
5) 1:10000 model course. More little trails, they are *icy*! Tried to do a bigger cut that wasn't just downhill, and ate it. Right after seeing Marie-Cat extracting herself from just a few meters over... Ok, so lesson learned.
6) 1:5000 model map. Woo sprint! But much easier to read for the little trails, nice.
7) Finished on 1:15000 again, just to be more in that scale.
8) And back down to lodge.
At some point while map reading, skied over a rock and scraped up ski. Sad!
Feel pretty ready for tomorrow, hope body isn't so unhappy about the altitude, but it's a 17k shortest distance, so will be a toughie!