Master's World Cup in Asiago, Italy
February 12-24th, 2013
This year's main skiing goal is the Masters' World Cup in Asiago, Italy. The next few days will tell if I can improve upon the last couple of years' results. At Sovereign Lake (Canada) in 2011 I got a couple of 5th places and in Oberwiesenthal (Germany) in 2012 I got a 7th and an 8th place. We also got a silver on the relay in 2011 and a bronze in 2012.
We've had a couple of days of acclimatization so far. The conditions are great. -8C at night, +2C at mid-day. Every day so far has been Extra Blue skiing. Hope this keeps up.
I will be skiing the 30 km classic on Feb 17th, the 10 km classic on the 18th, (hopefully) the 4x5 km relay on the 20th, and the 45 km classic on Feb 22nd.
Trond, Brad Cruz and Barbara Norton at the Asiago ski stadium.
February 16th:First day of competitions: 30 km skate.
The men's M5 field with US skier Kent Murdoch in the lead
M6 leaders: Guido Masiero (ITA), Jon Engen (USA) and Domenico Invernizzi (ITA). Jon Engen ended up taking the silver medal.
I had a good start, first out of the stadium, but it was downhill from there, literally and figuratively. My legs were dead after 1 km and I had to work hard the whole way. Result: 9th place (could have been worse, could have been better). Tomorrow is another chance (10 km classic).
February 18th: 10 km races (skate and classic).
The 10 km classic was my second competition here in Asiago. We had another day of great conditions, -8C in the morning and firm, fast tracks. Waxing was no problem. I started out hard and stayed with the lead group for about 1 km. But they slowly got away from me and I had to work alone. My legs felt better today than yesterday, and I am pleased with my performance. And I was only 1:10 out at the finish. 12th placce wasn't exactly what I had wanted, but I am closer in time than I have been in the last couple of years, so I should be happy with the result.
Tomorrow is a rest day, and then we have the relays on Wednesday, February 20th. Chao for now.
Inga Scheve on her way to a bonze medal in the 10 km skate.
Brad Cruz (M6) after his first ever sub-30 minute 10 km. Way to go Brad.
Third place finisher Inga Scheve (F2) and 4th place finisher Kent Murdoch (M5) after the 10 km skate race.
February 19th: Rest Day
A blue bell day; -12C in the morning and lots of sun. It was hard to sit still with conditions like this. So I did an easy 22 km workout on some trails overlooking the Vicenza area. There are 100's of kilometers of trails like the one shown below ... plenty of opportunity to do some touring.
View overlooking Asiago and Vicenza
You'd think I had been doing this long enough not to get very nervous. Think again. I was set up to ski the first leg for the US M5 team. The other team members were Odd Bersvendsen, Jon Engen and Kent Murdoch. All the best classic skiers from the 30 km and 10 km classic events were lined up on the first leg. I was shaking in my ski suit. I got a good start, but quickly noticed that my kick wasn't too good. Right after the start, Alexander Klinov stepped on my back-skies and I almost did a banana peel backwards fall. By the time I recovered, Italy, Switzerland and Austria had gotten a 20 meter gap. The gap grew to about 50 meters at 1 km. But I felt good today, and I slowly managed to close the gap. At 3 km I was ajour with the three in the lead. On the last few hills, the front quartett broke apart and at the exchange there was about 5 seconds between each team with me in the fourth place about 15 seconds out of the lead.
Odd Bersvendsen on the second leg and Jon Engen on the third leg closed the gap and at the beginning of the fourth leg, Italy, the US and Russia were in the lead together. But Russia and Italy had the two best skaters on the last leg and that proved to be too muh for Kent. We came in third about 30 seconds behind the winner Italy. But we all had very good races today and we were very happy with the solid third place.
From left, Russia in 2nd plaec (ALexander Klinov, Sergey Ivanov, Alexandr Davydov, Iosef Kunitskiy), winner Italy (Valentino De Martin Blanc, Olivo Antoniacomi, Gianni Pensara, Gianfranco Pulvara), and team US (Trond Jensen, Odd Bersvendsen, Jon Engen, Kent Murdoch) in third place.
February 21st: 45 km skate
Today, I watched the skate race and did a short ski and some wax testing. A troublesome cough got worse towards the evening. I hope nothing is brewing because I really want to do well in the 45 km classic tomorrow.
February 22nd: 45 km classic.
Game over for me. I have developed a bad chest cold and I am not even starting the race today. Bummer! Better luck next time.