by Peter Gagarin

What’s coming on Thursday --

The Sprint Relay. A new event. One team per country. Each team composed of one man and one women. A mass start. Each does 3 legs, so 6 legs for the whole thing, but very short legs.

Here’s the best part — start is at 3 pm local time, which means 10 am on the east coast and 7 am on the west coast. So you can watch it without getting up in the middle of the night. Go to the Ski-O WOC home page:

Skiing for the USA will be Greg Walker and Ali Crocker. Good luck to them!


More on Wednesday’s middle race race --

The conditions were quite terrible. Strong winds, heavy snow, bad visibility, tracks getting covered over. Not a day for the faint of heart. But we had another day of fine results. The best again by Ali, 18th again, fabulous — just three months into the year she’s already tossing down the gauntlet for Orienteer of the Year honors. Here’s what she wrote:

"Blizzard! Lots and lots of snow, but was predicted and already like that when warming up in the model, so at least was ready for it. You had to keep wiping off your mapholder and somehow snow also got inside my glasses, not sure how it was managing that, maybe the crazy wind helped?

Anyways, I had another good race! Not quite as pleased as with yesterday's sprint, because made one quite painful mistake and some other littler ones. But yesterday's race was good enough to move me to the second seed group (first 30 are put into seed groups of 10 then randomized) and I got a GPS, so you can see my track here:
Part 1:
Part 2:

It was very, very technical out there, especially with the snow erasing unused trails left and right and making cut-throughs look just like trails. More like foot-o because trails were less helpful in general. Although maybe like foot-o in a dense fog, that also attaches itself to your map...

Just got to start in time and headed off pretty strong, similar routes to the fastest ladies, although chose to do more big trails than some up to #3. Then had a big mistake to #7, looking at my track, I think what happened is I didn't notice the first snowmobile trail *at all*, thus was pretty confused T'ing out on the 2nd one and skied around in a little loop.

Also got quite confused to #10, but wasn't punished for it nearly as much. I took a cut through, but thought I was on a trail, so again could just not place myself when I came out on the snowmobile trails. So cut up, realized I was on the high trail, and did more sensible things from there.

Cruised over to the map exchange, hear Carl cheering for me, floundered with map, and then huge climb back up the hill on a big trail. There was an option to use small trails, but I thought I'd be faster skiing and totally gained on a Finnish girl that way, she must have been 100m ahead when she turned off, and then I got to the control before her. A small mistake coming down off the hill to the GO control, but not huge, and then in in in!

I came in, and they announced I was in 7th, so knew my mistakes hadn't at least added up to a horrible race, since I started I think with just 15 gals left to go. Ended up 18th, tying yesterday's placing, which I'm very happy with, although was much further back in percent back.

Will do the sprint relay tomorrow with Greg, snow should calm down, but will be colder, brrrr, really feels like midwinter here now....”


So Cristina lives in Tucson, and the standing joke now is that Tucson would be a fine place to have a winter training camp for ski-O, because, well, it’s got to be better than Sweden. A cool video of our team members post-race is on the US Team blog, along with some more photos:

Good luck to Greg and Ali tomorrow. And don’t forget to tune in and see what this sport is like at the highest level.