Reconning the course for the 2nd individual world cup in Claut, Italy in the dolomites.

Reconning the course for the 2nd individual world cup in Claut, Italy in the dolomites.

Here is a weekend wrap up from the last individual world cup in Claut, Italy- the Italian Dolomites. It was about 7 hrs drive from Chamonix and I was glad to travel with the French National Team who were very kind to share some space in their team van.

This is the poster advertising the race. They even had their own bottled water with the same logo on--frizzante of course.

This is the poster advertising the race. They even had their own bottled water with the same logo on--frizzante of course.

The course started above town which made for a good warmup. It wove up some old summer alpage roads through the trees and broke out above treeline with two technical sections. The first one was a boot pack where boot crampons were required and the second was without. There was also a fixed line to clip into with a sling. All in all the course had 1840 meters of climbing (skinning plus the boot pack) and 1780 meters of descent over a distance of 18 km. Some of the descending was steep and through the trees. It was a pretty course, especially up high where we traversed a limestone ridge. There were exceptional views of the classic limestone Dolomite towers.

Here's the course map. All the athletes are given this at the race briefing.

Here's the course map. All the athletes are given this at the race briefing.

The course profile shows all the elevations and distances in an easy to read format. I usually note all the climbs on a piece of athletic tape and secure it to my watch. This helps me keep track of where I am on the course and be mentally prepared for the last few climbs. Tour de France cyclists do this as well.

The course profile shows all the elevations and distances in an easy to read format. I usually note all the climbs on a piece of athletic tape and secure it to my watch. This helps me keep track of where I am on the course and be mentally prepared for the last few climbs. Tour de France cyclists do this as well.

Claut is next to Cortina, normally a summer resort town but they are ski mountaineering fanatics and really proud to host a World Cup this year as well as the World Championships in 2011. There are kids not much older than my 6 year old son who are kitted out in ski mountaineering equipment and cheering on the sidelines of the course. Here are some race photos:
 I am well positioned at the start just behind eventual winner, Roberta Pedranzini (on the far right in blue). You can just see the red white and blue of my suit and the yellow tongue of my carbon fiber Pierre gignoux ski boot. Many, but not all, World Cups are mass start events. This one is and with the men starting thirty seconds after the women. I was nervous about that, but the course was still quite wide when the top men passed us.

I am well positioned at the start just behind eventual winner, Roberta Pedranzini (on the far right in blue). You can just see the red white and blue of my suit and the yellow tongue of my carbon fiber Pierre gignoux ski boot. Many, but not all, World Cups are mass start events. This one is and with the men starting thirty seconds after the women. I was nervous about that, but the course was still quite wide when the top men passed us.

Here you can see the racers skinning up the switchbacks on skins, then the transition to the boot pack.

Here you can see the racers skinning up the switchbacks on skins, then the transition to the boot pack.

Roberta on the first climb or 800 m. with Mireia, World number 1, on her tails.

Roberta on the first climb or 800 m. with Mireia, World number 1, on her tails.

It was a great chance to get to know some of the other teams and learn from the Italian and French and Swiss. This terrain is know for its technical difficulty for skins and I did have some skins troubles on the 2nd climb which caused me to loose at least 5min or so but I was happy with the result of 9th place especially against the tough competition in the World Cup division. The skins are getting re-glued so they will be in top shape for the next race.
claut-bootpack-to-ridge
Two World Cup athletes descending an off piste section of the course--it's amazing how lightning fast they go on this stuff with such tiny skis.

Two World Cup athletes, from France and Itlay, descending an off piste section of the course--it's amazing how lightning fast they go on this stuff with such tiny skis.

claut-mens-winner Florent Troillet. He is in great form this year after lots of strength training last summer and mountain biking and running

Mens winner Florent Troillet from Switzerland. He is in great form this year after lots of strength training last summer, mountain biking and running. By contrast, the Italian National Team off season training focuses on roller skiing, mountain hiking, cycling, and glacier skiing.

claut-meira-kicking-it-in-to-the-downtown-finish-line

Spains's Mireia Miro Varela kicking it in to the downtown finish line for second place in the women's.

The pasta was amazing…and of course the cappuccino’s (The Italians love to decorate their coffee. This one was one of the cutest and tastiest yet!).
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Sunday we had great family ski day on the slopes!
Next world cup is the team event in Switzerland. In the meantime I look forward to a fun race- The Cenise Bargy– a combination of ski mountaineering and skate skiing (http://www.cenisebargy.fr/cenise_hiver_home.html)
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next update! (editors note: Nina got 9th place beating three wolrd cup men! MS)
I got a ride with the French team. Here the boys are headed back to van after the podium. They got 4th, 8th, and 9th. Florent Troillet of Switzerland won with Kilian Jornet coming in 2nd.

I got a ride with the French team. Here the boys are headed back to van after the podium. They got 4th, 8th, and 9th. Florent Troillet of Switzerland won with Kilian Jornet coming in 2nd.