It snowed hard from the time I arrived at the site. We were told to be aggressive and get slower skiers to move out of the way, because there was only one well skied in line. I started out and my skis felt rocket. The best line was hard packed from the skiers going over it, but in some places there was huge ruts and big holes on the downhills. I didn't know the first downhill, because I had not ahad a chance to ski it ahead of time. Luckily, I caught Chris Cook on the first uphill, who had already skied a lap and he helped to show me the lines on the downhills. He was also setting a good pace, but most importantly he showed me a rhythm that suited the conditions. Today was not the day to be a glider like I usually am. The first 5k lap seemed to go by quickly as Cooker cleared the slower traffic out of the way for both of us.
I was debating whether to go by Cook and see what would happen. At some point somebody yelled "Go by him", although I forget exactly when and I don't know who it was, but it did affect my thought process a bit, because that is what I was already thinking. My plan was to go harder up the hills each lap. So, on the second big climb of the lap 2, I went by Cook and got a gap. But, after that push, I seemed to tighten up, and by the stadium Cook had passed me back and was hammering for the finish. I still had one lap to go.
It was still slowing heavily and now there was no longer any traffic on the course. My skis were feeling slower and my legs were heavy, and I started getting negative thoughts. I hadn't got a split in a while and that is usually a sign that you are not challenging for a top 15. I lost my concentration and tripped on a flat section. As I got going again, I could tell I was no longer moving well, and that just made me more frustrated. Nish and Gaustad were going well and blew by me. On the last uphill Stefan caught me and then stepped on my ski as he passed. So I stalled and chased as hard as I could into the finish. I ended up 24th overall, 15th Canadian, so it was not the result I was looking for. My laps times were 12:29.2, 13:07.4 and 14:14.7, which is obviously not good pacing. The strange thing is, the first lap and a half felt easy. I was quite annoyed and it felt like I had thrown away a good result.