Day 2 (only) of racing….with the Teams race behind us, the next competition today was the Vertical. In past World Championships the Vertical race has meant a “drag race” up a groomed slope for about 2400-3000ft. This year we are in Italy so they make the rules….1650ft up a technical slope with kick turns, and a boot pack…sweet!
I personally enjoyed the change as I am not a “horse power” athlete but instead do well with added technical elements..but this was still going to be a 30 minute race…not my “forte”.
The day race was held at Piancavalle about 35 minutes from our hotel straight up a narrow, curvy road…typical Euro pass. We got to the resort and it was totally “socked in” with weather, which precluded us from great views but didn’t really effect the racing as we weren’t going downhill at speed.
The women went off first with Janelle Smiley posting the best result for North American women….staring out in 5th and fading just slightly back to finish in 7th!!! A great result and one of the best for American women ever at a World Championship! Jari Kirkalnd, was in about 16th and Jessica in 25th-ish. The top female was a 22yr old from Spain named Mariale, finishing in just over 27 minutes!! Ugh!
The men started about a half hour behind the women on the same course. The race was fast & furious with a mellow skin to several switch backs, to a mellow skin, to a boot pack, to a mellow skin, to the finish. You could never see more than 70 feet in front of you…but that was always enough to see several racers ion front and ultimately know where you were going. The top North American was reg Ruckman in 14th! He is a former Olympic rower now living in Breckenridge, having learned to just ski about 5 yrs ago…he can go up like all get up…but is still a student of the downhill turn…so this was his race, and he did us proud!
Next up was Max Taam finishing one spot ahead of me in just over 30 minutes, followed by Chris Kroger. Not super psyched with my effort but I try to keep it in perspective as this format is not suited for me…but ultimately will make me faster back in the States for the rest of the ski season.
Next up tomorrow is the Sprints which will be at Piancavalle again. I won’t be racing as I am sitting this one out. Its only a 6 minute race with heats to determine the top racers and narrowing down the field with further heats until they produce a winner. More updates and photos tomorrow night. Go USA!!