skate ski warm up/down 35:00  6.0 km (5:50 / km)
Crazy, crazy weather day! Full on blizzard conditions all day but very wet snow. Challenging race conditions for sure. The very wet snow came down steadily at about 1-2 cm an hour. And there was significant wind. Our wax was excellent again (thank you Goose for the long distance advice) but visibility and the ability to keep glasses clear was the big issue. They shortened the course from 10 to 7.5 because they didn't get the natural snow in time to groom for that long a course. In some places it was complete whiteouts and many of us went off the trail which was almost imperceptible even if you could see. It was coming down so fast there was little sign of grooming and unless you were right on someone's tail there were no tracks visible. In the middle of the race I was trying to imagine how the Inuit survived in blowing snow. I was in park in a large city with several hundred other skiers and volunteers and I couldn't see anything - not a person, not a tree, not the trail. I could sort of feel where it wasn't quite as soft and just hoped I didn't fly off the trail again. But my skis were fast. I clung to 4 for 5km and then a German woman who made the most remarkable noises finally muscled her way by me. She sounded like Godzilla about to puke. So I was 5th and felt good except for not having de-iced goggles. Chris was 3rd again, behind the same lady who passed her near the end yesterday.
The trip back into town from the course was hell. Minneapolis is a huge city with only a few plows apparently and they only get storms rarely. So not everyone gets snow tires. They just go to work, school etc. hoping they'll get there and then fly into snownbanks and each other. Compared to home the snow plowing is brutal. So we never made it to our place, finally managed to get off the freeway after an hour and got to the race hotel for the awards presentation just in time. No shower. No supper. But pretty happy still:)