There is not enough air in California
Thursday, 09 February 2012 07:48

Our big trip to this seasons first World Cup round in California, USA started first with traveling from Mora to north. We competed on two races hold in Örnsköldsvik, a long and a middle mass start. It was a good final test for the World Cup.


From there we travelled to Stockholm Arlanda airport, slept one night there and flow next day to Los Angeles. We had 3 days of sightseeing in LA and San Francisco. We absolutely used this time as we visited many nice sights. We ran around the Hollywood sign, drove along the Pacific coast, travelled with the cable car in San Francisco, ran in the Golden Gate Park, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and of course took a lot of pictures.  We rented a “small” car (small compared to other US cars, but huge compared to my Clio back home, or other cars we are used to see here in Europe). Thanks Allen and Zan for giving us a place to sleep in LA and SF, and thanks Greg for making the connections!

Unfortunately the long distance race in Bear Valley was moved to Lake Tahoe area as the organizers needed 2 m snow (!!!), but got only around 0.5 m. But as we had our house booked close to Bear Valley we decided to drive up there and get used to the high altitude (around 2000 m asl). We were a funny group of skiers living together: Ingrid – Finish girl living in Sweden; Sanna – Finish girl living in the USA; Michi Gigon – Austrian girl living in Austria (boring :P); Bernd – German guy living in Austria; Laura – Hungarian girl living in Sweden and me – Romanian guy living in Sweden. Up in Bear Valley we made some good, long ski trainings. First day it was raining, but later we had superb weather. Sunshine, up to +10 degrees, it was really fun to ski and also make some press pictures ( After some days we moved over to Truckee, Lake Tahoe area.

The model event was up on the top of a downhill skiing area, so we had to take the chairlift to get to the model event (btw competition center for that day was in a Starbucks, exactly as it should be in the USA :) ).  We were a little bit shocked of the quality of the narrow tracks and of the ice which was on all the tracks.

The first competition day started already at 8 o´clock with the mass start for the long distance. I made a bad route choice to the first control already (during the race I thought it´s good, but when I arrived there and saw myself already a minute behind the leaders I realized that it was bad). From there on it was a fight alone almost all the time, a fight in the head also: should I cut or should I go around on the track. Yes, it was quite much foot-o, just skiing straight, not following the tracks. After the second map change I took once again. On the last controls I finally had some fight with a Norwegian and Russian guy. They missed, I passed them both, but on the way to the last control, my ski stuck in the snow, I felt and the Oywind from Norway passed me again. So finally I finished on a 25th place. I felt, that I can do much better. I had problems with the route choices, but my biggest problem was with the altitude. Laura had also problem with the altitude and made also the same bad route choice after the map change, so she lost some places there, but finally she finished on the 19th place, a very good result for her first ever World Cup race. Here my maps: lap 1, lap 2, lap 3 (I will add them later when I have time to scan them, but here you find the GPS tracking). On the rest day we visited Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

On Wednesday we had an interesting sprint. Interesting because the whole competition area had only around 70 m dashed track. Everything else was only the tracks of the cross country center. So it was more a cross country race than a ski-o. A fast race on 2200 m altitude with short, steep up hills. This time I had absolutely no problems with orienteering, but I couldn´t push at all. I got not enough air. I was so frustrated to see others passing me without any chance of keeping their speed. I finally finished 24th, but was very disappointed. Laura had her best race of the week. She finished 19th and was very close to a better result if she would have been taking more shortcuts. But still it´s a very good result for her and the Hungarian ski-o.

The last individual race, so our last official World Cup race was Thursday´s middle distance. This was my big day! After one day of foot orienteering – long, one day of cross country skiing – sprint, finally we had one day of ski orienteering. There were much more ski-o tracks, much more orienteering, of course a lot of shortcutting, but still it was closer to our real sport. I felt good during the whole race; I saw others missing, catched some runners starting in front of me. Of course I was tired, but I still felt energy to push all the way to the finish. As a feeling, I hoped to get a place around 21-23, so I was really happy to see me on the 18th place of the results list. Unfortunately the next day when the official results came out I was only 19th, but still it was a perfect result for me. My first top 20 result. What a good start for the season! Laura had once again a constant race, some small mistakes, but totally quite good. She had also her best place of the week finishing 18th.

Friday´s mix relay continued as well as the day before. We competed as a Romanian-Hungarian mixed relay. I was running the 1st, 3rd and 5th leg, Laura the 2nd, 4th and 6th. It was fun to see after the mass start how some of the big names are totally lost in the forest. I made a very good first lap. Unfortunately I had a longer combination to the 2 last controls, so I came in 5th (only some seconds after leading SWE, SUI, FIN and RUS). What would have been with a shorter combination on the 2 last controls? :P Laura had a good fight all her loops and I made also a good 3rd and almost good 5th loop, so we finished finally on the 11th place, just some seconds behind RUS 3rd team and as the best mixed countries team. We made a good team job :)

Sunday, after the World Cup week we drove back to LA. We took the CA 395 scenic route on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was a great drive, such a nice nature. Closer to LA we drove through the western end of the Mojave Desert. We stopped at the Red Stone Canyon and made a run in the desert :) Nice :)

I really enjoyed the competitions, but was a little bit disappointed to see only one A4 sized paper on a door of a ski center showing that there´s something going on there and where first, with big letters was written North American Championships, than US Championships and finally with small letters World Cup round 1. I think the World Cup deserves more respect and the ski center owners should be happy to have a World Cup round there not to not allow the organizers to use skidoos in the competition area for making narrow tracks. I think the IOF should try to standardize things like this, every organizer should advertise the events and try to get spectators, not to make the races as early as possible to not to have people there. BUT still the organizers did a great job! They had bad snow conditions, but made the best of it! And after the disappointment of the first two races, the last days were really interesting with a nice terrain. Thanks for their work and hope to see them again in the future for other WCup races in the USA.

The trip home was really long… first our flight from LA to München was cancelled (delayed from Monday evening to Tuesday afternoon). So I missed hardly could convince Lufthansa to reroute my ticket from LA to Frankfurt and to Wien instead of Stockholm, so I could catch the Wien Bucharest flight. Unfortunately so Laura had to the plane from LA to München and I flow to Frankfurt, so we couldn´t fly together. But now at least we are both at home, she in Mora and I´m in Csikszereda.

This weekend I will compete on the Romanian ski-o Championships. The races will be organized in the southwest part of Romania, so this afternoon we will have a long trip. Friday sprint, Saturday middle, Sunday long and Monday finally a relay with my new club and new-old club-mates (Szep Zoltan and Suciu Simion).

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 February 2012 12:32


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