by Alex Jospe
The third day of World Cup ski orienteering was a middle distance event at Tahoe City XC, today. Middle distance events are usually more technical in terms of navigation, with more mazes of trails and complicated trail junctions. Today's race was 11.1km for the women, and 14.8km for the men, with only 185m of climbing, so relatively flat, at least compared to the sprint yesterday and the long distance on Monday!
Ali continues to make history, today with a 5th place finish, just 30s out of a podium finish! After a pretty disastrous mistake yesterday in the sprint, today she skied conservatively and cleanly, and that approach nearly paid off, with only two small mistakes keeping her off the podium. The snow was very icy and lumpy, making for difficult footing, so Ali's long experience as an elite skier helped her negotiate the tricky terrain.
I had another day just on the wrong side of the bubble - 25 seconds would have put me inside the top 10, and I felt like I was making numerous small navigational mistakes, though the worst was definitely catching a ski tip and face-planting in front of all the photographers! 13th place still nets me a bunch of World Cup points, and I'm finally feeling adjusted to the altitude and skiing hard, so I'm pleased, though as all bubble skiers can attest, results can be your friend or foe, depending on the day. I had oodles of fun zipping around the narrow windy trails, picking out routes and trying to outsmart my competitors, and it was another gorgeous sunny California day.
It was really fun to watch the GPS replay when we got home, super cool stuff - check it out here. Full results should be posted to the International Orienteering Federation's webpage soon, but for now you can see the live results, here.
Tomorrow is a mixed-gender sprint relay, where each competitor goes three times around a course, each about 6 minutes long. Should be fast and furious! Ali will be teaming up with Adrian Owens (from Craftsbury), I'm with Nikolay Nachev (from Seattle), and we're going head to head with the best in the world. Can't wait!
Good luck in the Trapps Eastern Cups - I'm rooting for y'all from here!