That's me back from Slovenia where over the weekend the temperature dropped down to -20C. In one of the races I had, it went down as far as -18C and I'm told that if it gets to the magic -20C for a race then they cancel/postpone the races for the day.
Luckily, that didn't happen and the races all went ahead. Friday was the sprint race and I did ok and was within the target that I wanted to be in for athletes of the same age so it was off to a good start. What was even more encouraging was that the race was only one of a few sprint races in Europe and the very best of the U20 competitors from France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and others were all there to try and qualify for the World Championships in Utah so no pressure then.
It's only my second season of racing, I say season, I'd previously had only completed 3 race meetings the year prior, so I'm still practically a rookie.
Saturday was a disaster, that was when it was the coldest temperatures and I normally do a 45 minute warm up routine prior to the start. This gets your body ready for the next 30 minutes of gruelling punishement in the race itself. It is normally my favourite event, but when I took to start, my heart rate was really low and I just couldn't raise it. My dad, who had come along to help, described my performance to that of a "laboured donkey", I couldn't disagree as I just couldn't get going. He's very encouraging, in that way.
The following day, Sunday, was my least favouite event, the classic 10k. It's not my style of choice. The temperature had risen a little but it was still -10C. My warm up went better than the previous day and my heart rate was up to the level required. Whilst still at the back of the field for this race, I still managed to get my best classic points although not one I'll be bragging about, but good experience never the less.
The facilities at Planica were excellent and the scenery stunning although I'd like to go back in the summer when it's probably seen at its best. There was talk of a summer camp base there as they have the indoor snow facility as well as roller ski tracks and wonderful mountains to train.
Overall the weekend was a good expereince and reflected the level that I have to get to if I want to take it further and certainly my result from Thursday showed that it's possible.
Some other good news this week is that I was confirmed as winner of the Trespass Snowsports Blog of the Year for 2016 - that's 2 years on the trot and delighted if not a little embarrassed to have won it twice. I'm not sure if I'll go for the hat-trick and give someone else a chance. Many thanks for all of those that voted for me and also those who follow the blog.