by Thomas O’Harra
Going into this last weekend’s races, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had never raced that much in three days before, and so it was really a big adventure, and definitely a new experience. The races this weekend, which were in Campra, Switzerland, were all part of a mini-tour, as I mentioned in my previous installment.
The opening race, a skate sprint, was actually a pretty good race! I qualified 10th and advanced out of my quarterfinal in 2nd. In the semifinal, I missed getting into the draft of the leading skiers on the big downhill of the course and then couldn’t quite catch back up. I finished 5th in my heat, which was good enough for 9th overall!
The next day was a 15k classic interval start race, with skiers starting every 30 seconds. I did not have a great race, and ended up in 26th, a little over four minutes back from the winner. It was snowing hard the whole time, but we had good skis! Sometimes, warm-ish conditions with new snow are very tricky to wax for, but our wax techs did a mighty fine job.
The third day was, as I mentioned before, a 15k skate pursuit. I started 4:23 behind the leader. Another thing about this race—it snowed almost two feet the afternoon and night of the classic race. The groomers did their best, but they had to change the course due to avalanche danger! A slide even came down and across the road, luckily above the venue where the road was closed, but it even got onto the ski trails a little! The snow-pack was very unstable, which was unfortunate, because it looked like the back-country skiing would be incredible!
My race was good, however! I moved up a little, and finished the day in 17th, six minutes behind the winner, but only two minutes slower than him on that particular day! My time for the day was good enough to be 15th fastest. Given the mash-potato like conditions and how slow it was, I am happy with my race!
That afternoon we packed up and drove to Munich, where I am now, waiting to fly back to good old America! I am traveling to Truckee, CA in preparation for Junior Nationals, which will take place on the second week of March!
I think that my fitness level is coming up, and my racing is getting better! I think that the stress of Kazakhstan, combined with all of the racing and travel made me really tired. I am recovering, and looking forward to the warm California sun (and hopefully some snow!).
Thank you for reading and check back soon for more!
Thomas O’Harra is a full time student-athlete at Alaska Pacific University. Growing up in Anchorage, he spent a lot of time outside and in the mountains—hiking, skiing, and generally having fun. He now races and trains with the APU Nordic Ski Center while taking a full course load at the university. Currently, Thomas is on a two-month trip for racing, starting in Kazakhstan, then traveling to races in Czech Republic and Switzerland before returning to the U.S. to race at Junior Nationals in Truckee, CA and SuperTour Finals and Spring Series in Sun Valley, ID at the end of March.