“As per usual I was starting further back, surrounded by people twice my age, but also with twice the technical ability when it comes to cross country skiing. It was great to chat to a couple of really experienced cross country skiers, including a Canadian called Robert Palliser who was completing his 20th Worldloppet passport that day”.
“We’ve both recently got new skis, with skins on the underside of the ski to avoid the difficulties of waxing. Mine are actually children’s skis as it’s done on height and weight and I could just about get away with it!”
“It always seems to be snowing and zero degrees when I race, the hardest conditions for getting the skis right”.
“As the course went on it thinned out and little battles started with individuals around me.”
“The plan was to not let anyone pass in the race, given that a lack of 2016 results meant a start at the back. Only one chap did manage to overtake and stay ahead, but he was twice my size so I put that down to upper body strength.”
“I was really chuffed to finish in 125th position. I had a time goal in mind but as the course was changed it turned out that was completely unachievable [it was quicker than the winner’s time!]. I’m just happy that I might get to start in the first pen next time.”
What about Natalie?
Well, it was hard. Really hard. As a new sport you have to focus the whole time on your technique and the body is still adapting to the stresses. I enjoyed it, but still want to get better.
Modest Natalie actually finished 3rd in her age category in the 25km race, top 20 overall.
“The base layers that Odlo make are second to none, it’s a relief to find a brand to work with that is of the quality required for such a dangerous trip. Robbie wants our parents to know we’ll be safe though, it’s only the first trip over to check out how it is to run, camp and survive on a frozen lake. We’ll do some big days, but we’ll also be just out enjoying somewhere beautiful and new.”