La Lettonie et L’Estonie- Castles, Rain and Ski Racing

For the past two weeks I have been traveling around the Baltic countries racing at the Latvian National Championships and on the Scandinavian Cup circuit. I did 5 races in 9 days in three different locations. It was quite a busy race schedule with lots of travel and little time to adjust to the new places. I was traveling with CNEPH, the National Training Centre based out of Quebec. We were 8 athletes and 2 coaches and for me this was a great opportunity to brush up on my french as I haven’t used it much since graduating high school. I’m happy to report that by the end of the trip I was both thinking and dreaming in french and hopefully not making quite as many mistakes as at the start of the trip.

Starting the 5km classic in Priekuli

The first stop on the Baltic tour was Priekuli Latvia for the Latvian National Championships. Despite the lack of snow, their trails were very nice and we had a 2.5km man-made loop to race on. I only raced the first day in the 5km classic and finished 1st in open women, claiming my first senior national title, albeit in a different country. The following day I had the chance to visit a 13th century castle in the town of Cēsis where we were staying. It was very cool and had lots of history, including being invaded by Ivan the Terrible and the Russian army in 1577.

Latvian Nationals Podium
Andrea, Alysson and I ready to tour the Cēsis castle! 

Old fashion lanterns

View of the castle

After Priekuli we traveled south an hour to Madona Latvia where we raced two scandinavian cups.
The scandinavian cups were a very high caliber of racing as all the best scandinavian races who were not at the olympics were there. The first race was a skate sprint and I was happy to qualify for the heats in 27th place. I was able to move up one position in my heat to finish 25th on the day. It was a great experience to race head to head with World U23 Champions and World Cup athletes. The following day we raced once again on a 2.5km loop to do a 10km race. This meant that there were lots of people on course to ski with and around, I finished 29th.

Sprint Start, I’m bib 27

Moving across the field

Staying with the group

10km Skate

Skiing the first few laps with Anne-Marie and a Swede

 For our last two races of the tour we traveled north to Otepää Estonia for a set of classic races. The same as the previous races, rain was the forecast. Racing in rain and warm weather is always challenging especially with the fatigue of having already done 3 races that week. This weekend was a great learning experience on how to push your body. In the sprint I once again qualified for the heats finishing 26th and in the 10km classic I came 31st, first junior and second canadian both days.
After the last race we drove directly back to Tallinn to begin our two day travel adventure home. Stopping down it seemed wherever possible. I traveled to Frankfurt, then Munich, then Toronto and finally Calgary before making it back to Canmore. All this while still being able to catch the finish of the men’s 50km at the Olympics and the last 10min of the gold medal hockey game. We timed our drive to Tallinn pretty well!

The Yukon squad all smiles 

Now I am back in Canmore after having been in Europe for over 5 weeks. With 10 races overseas I feel like I have learned lots of valuable things and have lots to work on this summer so that next season I can return to Europe stronger and faster.
In less than two weeks I travel to Corner Brook Newfoundland for the Haywood Ski Nationals, our last races of the year. I am looking forward to being back on the canadian scene and racing somewhere new in Canada!
Merci une autre fois a l’équipe de CNEPH pour m’apporter avec vous sur votre tour en Europe. J’apprécie vraiment la chance d’avoir l’opportunité de faire plusieurs courses internationaux et d’avoir la chance de mieux connaître votre équipe.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Nationals!
Thanks for reading
À tantôt


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