I'm just back from my first ever FIS races, held in Idre, Sweden. It's a race location that been selected by my coach as a good test for us as we're up against the best of the Swedish skiers and certainly was a baptism of fire as an introduction to competitive racing for me.
The week prior, we had gone across to Idre to prepare for the races and get as much time on snow as possible. Being based in a nation of limited on-snow opportunities than my time on snow has been limited with much of my training based on roller ski and road traiining. So it was great to spend a few days on snow and our small squad get on great together.
The week's training was great, we had ideal weather conditions and the snow conditions were perfect. That was up until the Friday when the first of my 3 races - the sprints came along. We ended up skiing in wet and blustery conditions - but this was the same for just about everyone.
For my first race, I didn't do too badly, position wise I was well down the pecking order, but timing, I'm happy with my first sprint race and ended up only 16% off the winner which the coaches seemed pleased with.
Next day came the 10k skate race. I've never skied in a race that distance before, so again, it was going to be a challenge. That combined with a field of over 140 athletes that ranged from 20 years of age down to me at 16. These guys are big, and that's just the 16 year olds.
Again, race wise, it was a great experience and I bagged my first FIS distance points but definately something I need to work on in terms of stamina, technique and race tactics.
On the Sunday, it was a 10k classic race. Overnight the conditions had turned the track to shear ice and I was just delighted to have managed to stay upright and not crash during the race. Classic is not my strongest style so I wasn't expecting too great a position or points scoring but somthing again I'll work on with more and more race and snow experience.
I'm barely back a few days before I head off to Austria next week for more races. I've litterly just got time to empty my suitcase of dirty clothes, fill the washing machine and then repack for my next race camp right up until Xmas. Really looking forward to it and to improving on my initial race career. I'll keep you updated