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.