Complete! The weather was great (mostly sunny and not too cold), the snow was fantastic – soft and the tracks were mostly well maintained. Just as Jennie and the race organizers promised, blueberry soup never tasted so good as after all those kilometers… and happily there were lots of chances to get blueberry soup along the way. I think I had 9 cups or so at the various aid stations. We all got our skis waxed the day before in Mora, and it was highway robbery at 500kr! (300kr in our hometown.) Oh well, it needed to be done and I will know for next time. The wax ended up being worth every öre – I had a fantastic (for me) time of 4:08. I am really happy with this as a quintessential Swedish experience, as my first ski race, and my first time doing such a long event in years. I did not have high hopes. My training total for 2011 was about 95km. Luckily I had 30 or so in December since we had early snow but I do not have a lot of kms under my belt from previous years. However, if double poling is like paddling, then I have thousands of kilometers and I guess those helped. I don’t own a scale, but I think I am carrying a few extra kilos, which seemed to keep me warm and aid my descents, so no complaints there either (until I try on my party pants).
A special thanks to Hasse for being the best team support/crew/driver/cheerleader ‘Team Canada’ ever had! The weekend in Silijansnäs was awesome (more on that later), so thanks to Elja and Jennie and Richard for helping make my first XC race experience so great! Thanks also to well-wishers (especially Graham and Katja) who reminded me what I was good at (not just airports!) and helped me feel more confident.