Friday, June 18, 2010

Falun Handicap Start

1 minute to womens start
It's snowing pretty flippin hard. Snowing sideways would be a good description actually.
Going to make things soft and interesting.

Bjoergen starts almost a minute up on Kowal, so this is her race to lose. Kowal gets a big lead on everyone else, so the battle will be for third.

Bjoergen is off

Kowalczyk is off
wow, its snowing so hard when the camera zooms out, you can barely see Bjoergen.
It's actually going to be impossible to see the Swedes in their white suits. I hope the don't get lost.
Saarinen chugs out of the gate, with Kalla right behind her.

OKay people are starting all over the place.
Hahahaha shot of the course and a bunch of techs/coaches were skiing backwards on the racecourse.
Until they saw Bjoergen coming up the hill at them. I would have put the brakes on and got the hell out of there too.
Looks really soft and miserable, but Bjoergen looks strong. And for the second day, Kowal doesn't. Not even a km in, and she looks tuckered.

Chase pack of Olsson, Kalla and Steira is tight, and hunting down Kowalczyk.
I think that gap is about a minute, so they have their work cut out for them.
Steira seems to be taking a pull at the front and pushing the pace, while Kalla and Olsson are content to wait.

Kowalczyk has made up 4 seconds on Bjoergen, and is now 46 back.
The chase group is 1.52 back of Bjoergen.

Bjoergen is slopping up the Morderbakken. Yes, slopping is now an verb.
When the snow is up to your knees, you know it sucks.
The top is 2.8km, which Marit has just gone by.

Oh boy, Kowalczyk is already in sight. 43 seconds back. slowly making up time.
Steira and Kalla going past the time check at 1.39 down, and they're making up time quick.
Olsson is 10 seconds down on them, and fading.
Follis is 40 seconds back of Olsson, with Johaug, Saarinen and Stehle hard on her heels.
Johaug especially looks like she has an axe to grind. She pretty much hop-skate over the top of the hill.

Bjoergen goes through the 5 km mark almost running over the forerunners. It's also the stadium.
And what I'm assuming is almost the last starter just about gets run over as well.
Kowalczyk has dropped a bit, to 52 sec back. I think the fun part will be to see whether Steira and Kalla, taking turns pushing the pace, can catch her.
They're still 45 seconds back, which is a lot to close over 5 km on someone like Kowalczyk.

Olsson is way off those two, and Follis is charging hard, less than 30 seconds back.
An even bigger chase group, led by Johaug, is another 18 sec back. Very doubtful they'll achieve anything other than a mass sprint finish.

I have never seen so many coaches/techs sking around on the race course!
They myst be allowed to just because the forerunners cant keep the snow down on their own. There are forerunners in between the leaders its so bad.

With less than 4 km to, and Kowal 45 back, and Steira and kalla 40 back of that, it's incredibly unlikely anything will change.

At the top of Morderbakken checkpoint, Bjoergen was looking strong still.
Kowalczyks offset was falling to bits all over the place, but she's holding strong at 43 seconds back.
Steira has broken away from Kalla, and really wants to make up ground.
1.21 back of Bjoergen, so 36 behind Kowalczyk, but they're running out of trail, as well as uphills.

The wheels have officially fallen off Kowal's train. She looks zoned out, and her already goofy technique has turned to complete garbage.
But Steira and Kalla, together again, are still 30 seconds back.

Bjoergen gets the win, wins the final!
But what the hell??
It's Steira and Kalla! Tracking down Kowalczyk up the last hill into the finish, but not enough time!
Kalla just blew Steira away, who can't sprint to save her life.
Bjoergen, Kowalczyk, Kalla go 1-2-3

Roponen and Smigun coming into the home stretch just ahead of Johaug and Olsson, who has dropped to 8th.
Saarinen 9th, Philippot 10th, Savialova 11th, Follis 12, Sachenbacher-Stehle 13th.
Kikkan Randall just behind Longa in 17th, not a bad showing. Kuitenin back in 28th on the other hand - brutal.

Commercial break shows indoor cycling World Champs is going on, and it looks sick. I think I'll tune in.

WOOWOO, Dasha outsprints Lisa Larsson to the line for 39th I believe. Good for Dasha to get some TV time.
And behind them, a forerunner crosses the line and looks like he's just about as toast as any of the girls.
Now back to bed for an hour or so until the men, which hopefully will be more exciting.

And I'm back!
Apparantly there is a biathlon race on in Oslo, cause I'm watching the tail end of it.
Men's Pursuit
Hellner - +40s
Larsson - +46s
Angerer and a bunch of other dudes - +1.22s

Alex is at +2.25, while Ivan is at +2.50.Kershaw is at about +3.30.

How This Shit is Going to Go Down:
Northug will win. Obviously. Hellner will hold the fort for 2nd, while Larsson finally realizes he's not on his A-game.
Larsson drops hard, and someone in the chase group picks off third. Not Sodo, because he will have done all the work.
The smart money is on Cologna or Bauer. I'll take Cologna, because he won the 15km skate athe Olympics.
And again, Ivan will make the biggest moves of the day.

Northug is gone.

Angerer is gone, along with his chase group buddies Bauer, Cologna, Sodo, Roenning, etc

Harvey out, and now the camera switches to the course.
Timecheck shows Larsson has lost 5 seconds on Hellner already, while Hellner remains even with Northug.

Hellner is always easy to pick out, cause he has the sickest neon orange poles.
I like him, he makes my life easy.
Behind Larsson, the chase pack is already lurking.
Seems like Larsson has given up on trying to stay with Hellner, and has opted to take his chances with the pack.

Petter hits the 2.8km mark, his offset still going strong.
Hellner is approaching, and looks smooth, but not that quick. ANd he stays at 39 down on Northug
Further back, larsson has officially been swallowed by the chase pack, who is being led by Vittoz.
Manificat, who started almost 30 seconds behind Angerer has now made contact, and the chase pack is looking strong.

Northug blows by the 5km mark in the stadium.
Hellner goes through 48s down, losing 10 seconds in 2.2km
The 7 man chase pack isn't far behind at 1.33s back of Northug.
Manificat now leading! He's on a mission today!
Larsson sitting at the back, either hanging on for dear life, or hoping to dummy everyone in the sprint finish.

Smaller group goes through the 5km mark 30s back including Perl, Piller Cottrer and Pettersen.
They probably won't be able to get much done at this point.

Chase pack is getting smaller as Manificat is still pushing the pace.
Vittoz, Vlegzhanin, Cologna and Sodo are hanging tough, but Angerer is done, as is Bauer, which is a surprise and a half.
Larsson is also toast, but that's no surprise.
Manificat's pack is still 35 seconds down on Hellner and a 1.25ish on Northug, but Hellner has to be getting bored by himself.
A quick time check has Hellner 50s back of Northug.

Manificat has now utterly shattered the chase pack, and everyone else is just holding on.
Vylgzhanin, Vittoz, Cologna, all strung out.

Northug almost kills a small child. just about skewered him on his ski. Shishkabob.
Someone get that kid off the trail.
But back to the action, Sodo has now dragged himself to the front of those chasing Manificat.
7.8k time check has Hellner at 48s back.
7.8k Manificat is now 1.11s back of Northug, and has a realistic shot at Hellner at this rate.
Vittoz is 1.23, and looking tired, as Sodo goes by him, as does Vylegzhanin.
Cologna, Angerer and Bauer are at 1.52, and Cologna looks downright terrible.

10km timecheck in the stadium.
Coming into the stadium Hellner still has his lead, but Manificat is visible behind him.
Hellner is 54s down.
Manificat is still at 1.11s
Vittoz found a second wind and is leading the chase group of Sodo and Vylegzhanin at 1.35.
Angerer, bauer and Cologna are at 2.01s. Still losing time, apparantly.
Replay shows Vylegzhanin tripped over Sodo's pole and just about ate shit. What a Commie.

The announcers just mentioned Larsson's name, and I can't imagine it was in a favourable light.
Manificat is 1.07 down now, while Hellner is still at 54s.
But the video shows something else, because Manificat is only 20 meters back of Hellner, and is closing fast.
Hellner better get his act together in a hurry here if he wants to hold onto that medal.
Manificat is looking a little tired though, especially on his offset compared to Hellner's. And on this course, you kind of need that.

Vylegzhanin now leading the Sodo-Vittoz chase pack.
I guess they get to decide who gets 4th, because that's really the only thing they have going for them.
Manificat is now 1.01s behind Northug, while Hellner is 49s. He's in real trouble, no doubt about that.
Manificat seems to be closing HUGE on the uphills! It's too bad he started so far back, he would have given Northug a ruin for his money today.
The last time check is going to interesting.

12.8km timecheck
Manificat has now caught Hellner! And goes on the attack right away!
No stopping, no chatting, just going for it, and Hellner is not stoked.
Hellner is now checking out Manificat's ass.
Manificat is only 45s behind Northug! I know, Northug probably isn't trying.
Vittoz is now in charge of the 3 man chase group, who are still too far back to make a difference.
Next stop, the finish line.

Manificat has now gone to hop skating the uphills, and Hellner has been completely broken.
Sure, Manificat doesn't exactly look great either, but it's over for Marcus. He's dropped 10 seconds in the last 100m

Northug has stopped to high five the entire stadium crowd. Not even kidding.
Now he has a flag, and checks back for Manificat, just in case.
The announcers are loving it! And Northug is still highfiving!
And Northug is standing on the finish line waiting for Manificat. What a goon!
The end split is hilariously deceiving. This is what you pay me for.
Vylegzhanin comes across ahead of Vittoz and Sodo, winning the race for 4th.
30s later Angerer beats out Cologna and Bauer, and Di Centa strolls across the line.
Piller Cottrer finishes right behind him, making quite the comeback.
Perl is next, in 12th, while Roenning shows up in 13th.
Ivan finishing in 17th! Beats out Pettersen to the line, and Larsson finally shows up in 19th.
Hero move by Ivan, the guy is a tank.Kershaw crosses in 31st, about 5 minutes back of the lead.
Which means squad when the leader mugs for the crowd for a minute or two.
But that's all.
For more info, go check the results on the FIS site, just don't look at the times.

Oslo Sprint

So the sprints were supposed to start 2 minutes ago, and I'm still watching ski jumping...
But to the important things.
Gatorade - check.
Pit in the bottom of my stomach telling me I had a few beer last night - check.
I wish I spoke Norwegian or something wierd so I could tell how many jumpers are left.
A quick scheduling check tells me that the event was supposed to end at 9.30 my time.
This is unacceptable.
Although Adam Malyzsh is now jumping, he won a pile of Olympic medals I believe.
He also has a super-greasy stache.

As some may know, playoffs began this week, so currently the majority of the people getting this are in fact out.
For the rest of you still paying attention/thinking about winning, I'll go over some qualification stats.
On the womens side, Kowalczyk won, just in case thats a surprise. On the not qual surprise side, Saarinen jumps out, as does Therese Johaug.
Again, like the last sprint, I will NOT be cheering for her.
On the men's side, Anders Gloeersen who is not owned by anyone in our league and has done nothing all year destroyed Joensson by 2 seconds.
Pretty flippin tight sprint field - Stef was 12 seconds back of Gloeersen, and was 84th.
Norwegians only qualified 9 men today, relatively light.

Showing results from 1st round of Ski Jumping, hope this means we get to see some skiing next.
Andreas Wank is currently last. And I'm not making that up.

Hilarious commercial for the Renault Megane - its english.

What the hell! They just switched to duel slalom or some garbage.
OKay good, just highlights.
Biathlon highlights, some dude unstrapped his poles and threw them into the crowd at the finish when he won.
Aren't there insurance policy rules against that sort of thing??
Nordic Combined highlights - that new ski jump looks sexy, but I bet it's even nicer up close. World Champs 2011, sign up for the Jones family plan.

Quick check of the FIS Livetimer still has no results, so it may not have started. And I got out of bed this early for nothing...

Approximately 1 minute until something happens, according to the annoucers.
ANOTHER guy is getting on the ski jump. Good god.

Women's heats up on the livetimer, but still no TV coverage.
I could really go for some chili right now.

2 Ski jumpers to go, then hopefully Eurosport will switch to catch the last women's 1/4 final.
Annnnd for everyone's Ski jumping pool, you'll be happy to know Simon Ammon won.

Mens Heat 1
Hellner - Derek!

Pellegrino goes out front and goes HARD, gapping the others.
Gloeersen stuck in the back.
Oooh, and one of the Russians goes down! Kruikov I think.
Gloeersen has worked his way back, and he and Hellner go by the Italian, who is out of gas.
Hellner leading Gloeersen and Moriloov, Pellegrino is toast.
Sick jump on the way into the stadium.
Hellner and Gloeersen, Morilov tight third.
Shitty finishing straight right after a downhill means the sprint finish blows.
Hellner qualifies 30th, but gets through, pretty impressive work.

Heat 2 Men
Tamborino - no one
Paakonen - no one, but his nickname is the Hammer
Jesper Modin - Derek
Clausen - no one
Pasini - jess, cause she owns both

Paakonen and Clausen go hammertime from the gate.
Might not be such a great strategy, judging from last heat.
Modin works his way up the outside next to Paakonen.
Tamborino gets tangled up in the same place as Kruikov last lap and goes down!
I don't get it, its a flat 90 degree turn, its not rocket science.
Paakonen makes a move... 4 guys cross the line together.
Modin and Pasini get through, Paakenen makes an inspired lunge, but loses.
Maybe he should have used his Hammer a little earlier.

Heat 3
Peterson - Kieran
Hammer - seriously, thats actually his name
Gloeersen - a different one this time

And Gloersen is off the back instantly, i have no idea how he made the heats.
Makes it easier for the other 5 guys though.
Peterson controlling the pace, looking good.
Hammer is wearing some sick purple tights.
Petukhov takes off, Peterson is having none of it.
Jylhae stumbles in third.
Final stretch, going to be tight, Peterson crashes with Jhylhae after the lunge, which Jylhae won.
Replay shows Gloeerson breaking a pole at the start, that explains it.

Heat 4
Hattestad - Kieran
Joensson - Jess
Bransdal - has been hot of late
Lykka - rando Norway
Pettersen - Mox

Joenssen is in the middle of a Norwegian sandwich.
Man there is a lot of red in this heat.
Pettersen leading, with Joenssen on his tails.
And Pettersen goes down! And he's TICKED!
Hattestad vs. Joenssen, but Bransdal has a gap.
Bransdal takes it easily, with Joensson right behind him.
Replay shows Joensson just pushing Pettersen's feet out from under him.

Pasini - Jess
Tscharnke - Beans
Kjoelstad - Burgess
Andy Newell! - Nellie
Kreczmer - Polish dude who usually sucks

And he's off the back, confirming my theory, while Bryntesson gets the hole shot.
Pasini steps on Bryntessons poloe, the Swede responts by cutting him off viciously.
Tscharnke moves up beside Bryntesson, who I hope gets this heat because his name takes too long to spell.
Newell not looking so hot caught in the back.
Bryntesson and Pasini don't realll like each other.
Bryntesson steps on Pasini's pole this time as Kjoelstad goes to the front.
Newell makes a heroic charge from 4th!
Bryntesson eats shit on his face 3 meters before the finish line.
Kjoelstad, Newell and Pasini photo finish, with Kjoelstad winning the award for worst lunge ever.
I actually think he lunged backwards. He tried to avoid the finish line.
Result: Pasini - Newell - Kjoelstad the idiot.

Womens Semis

shitty time for a commercial break Eurosport.
Kowal picked the outer lane to start in, which blows. What an idiot.
Brun Lie stumbles , but unlike everyone else on that corner, stays up.
Kowal is making a move on the outside.
Crash! Brun-Lie and Olsson get tangled up and go down.
Leaving Kowalczyk in command, good god karma is a bitch.
Bjoergen, Kowal, Bucher
Hahahaha, replay shows Kowalczyk almost fell over backward before she even got to the finish line.
Should be an auto-DQ for looking that terrible.
Oooh, crash replay shows Brun Lie may have gotten hooked on a course marshall. Get your autographs AFTER the race you bonehead.

Randall - Nellie Dow!
Falk - Derek, thats you
Fabjan - Kieran, and shes back in the sick yellow suit
Didn't catch the last chick, but she won't be a factor.

Paper Planes by MIA is playing, for those interested.
Falk dummies everyone in the opening straight.
Korosteleva is off the back, shes fresh out of EPO i think.
Interesting sidenote, I believe Vesna Fabjan is dating Hattesttad.
Into the trouble section before the short uphill.
No crash this time, but Fabjan ends up in the leads cause everyone else went to the sides.
Falk looking a little tired, but Randall on her right looks hungry. Someone get her a burger.
Kikkan hammer down in the final straight for the win!
But wait, our favourite EPO abuser came out of nowhere!
Korosteleva, Randall, Falk, Fabjan

Mens Semi 1
Gloeersen - who actually has done okay this year, i just checked

Gloeersen is killing it like his bib number says he should
Modin goes to the front and drops the pace.
Pasini rips by and ups it again.
Gloersen retakes the lead around the tight corner, and the pack almost eats shit en masse.
Crash flat before the hill, but everyone stays up again.
Wow that hill looks soft and nasty.
Gloeersen looking around, with Morilov on his tail.
Gloersen and Morilov easily, Hellner was about a ski length back.
That means he's out Derek. Don't cry.

Men's Semi 2
Andy Flipping Newell - Nellie Dow
Pasini - Jess
Petukohov - Derek
Joenssen - Jess
Paakonen - yes, his nickname is STILL the Hammer

Joenssen goes to the front easily
The Hammer is right on his tail, and goes to the front.
Not sure how Andy is planning on getting out of this one, he's sitting at the back of the pack.
Petukov comes to front, puts the screws on Paakonen.
Ohhh, Pasini goes down on the mushy uphill, and holds up Andy.
There will be no Newell in the final this time.
Bransdal hot in the finishing stretch again, cruises to the win over Petukhov.
Think Joensson ended up third, but the other heat was faster.

Women's Final
Bjoergen - Mox
Kowal - wearing the yellow bib. That's not a slur Beans, I know you think I'm biased. But she still has the biggest shnoze on the startline.
Bucher - not sure how she got to the Final
Kikkanimal - Nellie Dow, your Americans are good
Falk - Derek

And Kowal picked the shitty lane agaaain. What is wrong with her?? Other than the obvious.
Kowal off the back immediatly. Should have listened to me Justyna.
Kowal powers her way to front using guile and tactics. And by that I mean brute force and eating small Norwegians.
Bjoergen responds, and trips!
But stays up, AND at the front. Wow.
Kikkan is sitting right behind Kowalczyk, looking dangerous yet again.
Flat, small uphill, Kowal pushes EPO girl into the bushes while Bjoergen and Kikkan go to pound town.
Kowal looking rattled in 3rd with EPO girl right beside her.
Kikkan! I think! FF with the druglord who ate shit all over the finish line.They still haven't found an EPO to make you better at balancing apparantly.
Kowal 4th, Falk 5th, Bucher 6th.

Kowal gives the worst handshake ever to Bjoergen at the finish line.
Finish line interview with Bjoergen in English. She had good skis. She is happy. She didn't think about the win today.

Men's Final
Hellner - no flippin way. Qualified 30th, gets his butt to the Final.
Modin - Derek
Morilov - Beans

Gloersen out front again.
Russians killing on the outside up the first hill.
Brandsdal at the back, looking cooked and out of it.
Hellner takes the lead, stretches things out on the flat.
Heading into crash central and the soft uphill Gloersen retakes the lead.
Modin seems to have given up, not sure what happened there.
OOOOOOh, Gloersen takes the W but it was close.
Petukhov second, Hellner third at the moment.
Kikkan is still hanging out around the finish line.
Dirty lunge by Gloersen got it done, but Petukov was actually that close.

Morilov, Bransdal and Modin round out the top 6.

Well, thanks again for reading something which wasted 2+ hours of my life.
If you just skipped ahead to the end, good for you, you avoided a lot of useless rambling.

World Cup Final Falun Pursuit - March 2010

8.21 - LiveBlog for the 2x5 km Pursuit Womens
3.44 in , big pack, Kowal sitting easy at the front as they start up the first big hill.
Things spreading out single file, but no big gaps.

200m to bonus seconds, Kowalczyk goes.
Kowal-Steira-Saarinen rack em up.
2.5km, the pack has been exploded, with stragglers all over the place.

Lead group of about 10 comes out of the woods, without Kowalczyk!
No idea what happened, but shes at least 5 secs off the back.
Maybe the sprint for the bonus seconds tuckered her out more than she expected.
Oh, shes on the back, and her grip looks terrible, and she's falling apart.
Johaug seems to be going at it up the Moerderbakken, with Steira, Bjoergen and Kalla with her.

Bjoergen, Steira, Kalla and Johaug have opened up a big gap at the top of the hill.
At least 25m back to the chase group, but they're closing quickly on the downhills.

Coming back intot he stadium, they're all back together in.
And Saarinen goes to the lead, looking to get onto skate skis fast, apparantly.
Kowal Watch - Back in 20ish, not in contact. She better have some good skate skis if she wants to get back in this.

Kikkan is currently sitting in 28th - right in the pack! Impressive!
Dasha... last I saw her was about 1 km, when she was a minute or so back.

On skate skis for barely 3 minutes, and Bjoergen and Steira have deicded to attack again.
Gapped Kuitinen, I believe, as well as everyone else. Those hills are a bitch!
My mistake, Roponen sitting back in 4th with Johaug, as everyone else seems to have fallen apart.
Kowal Watch - 43 seconds back. What a goon.

Biiiiiig Lead for Steira and Bjoergen. Johaug and Ropenen are next. And up the 'bakken, Roponen just dummied Johaug.
Chase pack of 6 or 7 seems to be hustling after all 4, led by Kalla, but they don't seem to be making any headway.

200m to bonus seconds. Which are at the top of the MASSIVE hill at the 7.8km mark
Steira takes charge, but Bjoergen squeezes by just before the line, and gets aother 15.
Meanwhile, Johaug has crushed Roponen for the 5 secs, and seems to be hammering, although she is still 23 seconds behind.
Chase pack goes by the 7.8 km mark, 40 seconds back of the lead. Kowal is at the back of that group somewhere.

Kowal Watch - Now a full minute back.
Bjoergen and Steira at the finish.
Bjoergen is a way better sprinter - this should be a wash.
Steira is determined to at least fight for it tho, good for her.
But with 25 meters left, Bjoergen destroys Steira, but so fara 1-2 for Norway.
And Johaug can make it three, but Roponen is right with her.
But it's Johaug!
Here comes the mess.
Follis, Stehel, Kalla.
Randall! 13th ish! Wow!
Kowalwatch - Further back than that, 20's maybe? Missed her coming across the line. Still no idea what happened, she just exploded.
Hanna Brodin across the line 3.05 back. She's going to drop a bit in the overall.

Bagel - check
cream cheese - check
coffee - check
LiveFeed of Eurosport - check
10 pg essay due in roughly 48 hours that I haven't started writing yet - check
interest in watching the 2x10 km mens pursuit - very high
Let's get this show on the road, Eurosport.

Quick preview of the World Cup Final so far...
Sprint Day
Kruikov, Northug, Larsson

Cologna, Larsson, Vlegzhanin

Northug +7s
Joensson +20

Evaluation of what's going to happen:
Joensson and Larsson are going to drop hard, Northug will clean up, as will Cologna who is currently in 4th.
Also, Babikov will be the big mover, as he is down in 48, but is awesome at hill climbing, which is a big part of this course.

Start Line, shit's about to go down.
I think Northug's double poling. The whole thing.
Just kidding.

As per usual in mass start racing, the pace at 2.00 minutes is mind-numbingly slow.
I think I saw Andy Newell filing his elbows getting ready to do some takeouts.

5 minutes in, and everyone is still tightly bunched. That's what happens when you take the top 50.
The last guy in the line is Tom Reichelt, who isn't all that bad.
In other news, Larsson and Joensson apparantly read a different pre-race synopsis plan than I did.
They're both sitting in the top 3.

200m to bonus seconds.
Larsson is hammertiming here.
Gaillard right behind him, I think.
Those two get 15 and 10 respectively, while Eldar Roenning picks up an additional 5.
The rest of the pack cruises through shortly thereafter, with Harvey in the 20's and Ivan in 33. Not sure about Kersh or Nish.

Heading into the Morderbakken for round 1 of punishment.
Roenning out front, with Larsson on his tail, but the rest of the group has caught them since their little hustle for seconds.
Roenning gets a big thumbs up from his coach on the side of the trail.
Thanks, tips.

Super Sketchy downhill into a bridge!
HUGGGEE pile up on the bridge! At least 25 guys! WHo the hell made it taht skinny at the bottom of the downhill.
That was a monster gong show. Didn't see any big numbers go down, but a replay will determine that.
And IVAN is at the front! Looking effing awesome!
Devon down in 28th, but not much of a gap.

Things really shaking up now. Larsson and Joensson finally got the memo, and are nowhere near the front.
Sodo is though, and is really making a push.
Replay of the bridge gong show. Looks like too many guys going over a 5 meter wide bridge at once.
Some Swedish dude pretty much tackled the back of the pack. Must have broken half a dozen poles alone.
Surprisingly enough, the announcers didn't say a single name in the replay, so I have no idea who was involved.

Feed Zone - apparantly skating is allowed, because that's all Sodo did.
Gap opening from Sodo's group of about 10 to the next, of about 10.
Another gap back to Northug and another 10. A result of the crash, some hills, and then messy feeding.

200m to bonus seconds at 7.5 km
Looks like it'll be Sodo, Bauer and Olsson.
Northug is not in the top group, and seems to be struggling a little bit, but is far from out of it.
Harvey in 9th, Babs in 12th, Kershaw in 21st. Kershaw was 30 seconds back, so gaps are opening, but nothing serious.
Sodo is known for pushing the pace, and today is no different.

Looks like the top group has opened up a substantial gap.
Sodo, Bauer, Olsson, Perl, 2 frenchmen, Veerpalu, Cologna.
And Northug is chasing them down, heading a 10 man group including Alex.

A quick graphic shows Sodo still leading, with Northug 6 seconds back.
Time for the sketchy corner into the bridge of death. And Northug is right in that top group.
No death on the bridge this time, it is significantly less busy.
Man, Bauer isn't wearing a hat, and he has a mean receeding hairline. Better than Northug and Pettersens terrible Eurotrash haircuts though.

10km, ski exchange time.
Veerpalu and Perl are at the front, looking to swap skis first I guess.
Harvey and Babicov 13 and 14, 10 seconds back.
Devon 23, 23 seconds back.
Just in case you were wondering how the sprinters are doing, there is a massive pack of them sitting around high 30's, low 40's.
Modin, Newell, etc, about a minute back. Not that bad.

Top group is at 12, ending with Hellner. Alex and Ivan are 6 seconds back of him at the exchange.
A quick shot now shows both of those guys in contact, and the pace slowing considerably.
And by considerably, I mean they're skiing Zone 1. A graphic shows Angere's Heart Rate at 177. That's like low Zone 1 for him.
At this rate there will be 45 guys in the lead pack shortly.
Also, I will take this opportunity to point out that Kieran's Predictions are now going well.
Larsson and Joennson are nowhere to be seen, and Ivan is busy murdering everything in sight.

Northug has worked his way up into about 4th, behind Sodo, Cologna and SUndby I believe.
Lead group is massive, about 25 guys as they turn up the Morderbakken.

Sodo makes a push, gets around 4 or 5 guys, as the Bonus seconds come up.
Northug goes with him, as does a Gaillard.
Northug makes sure he gets in everyones way effectively
But Gaillaird hammers! Breaks a pole!
Gaillard manages to get across the line ahead of Northug, and Bauer. 15-10-5 seconds each. Sodo was close, but that doesn't get you any bonus seconds.
And grabs a pole, basically without missing a beat. Not bad, not bad.
Replay shows that Gaillard just didnt like that pole, and switched it after he outsprinted Northug for the 15 seconds.
A new graphic shows that Northug won the sprint seconds ahead of Gaillaird and Bauer. Jeez Eurosport, get it right.

The lads at the front are back in cruise mode, as Gaillard doesn't want to push the pace.
15km through the stadium, and its a shit show. Time check shows 30 guys in the group, which isn't that surprising.
Babs and Harvey in there, with Kersh 10 seconds behind them.
Heikkinen is in there too! You mean he's not going to DNF or end up in the 50's?? Good time to get back in shape for the second last race of the season.
Larsson is back! 4 seconds off the lead! Dammit!

Sodo has gone to the front yet again to turn the screws on the other guys.
Bauer is right with him, while Northug is buried back in 15th or so.

ANgerer now sitting in front of a dozen guys in the lead pack, with Northug hanging around the back.
As they turn up the hill, Hellner goes balls out, which noone really appreciates.
Only Di Centa looks really good with him.
200 M to the bonus seconds, and its Hellner, Di Centa and Angerer.
But Vittoz comes out of nowhere and rips into second!
17.8 km - Hellner, Vittoz, Di Centa get the bonus seconds
Behind them, the pack is strung out. Ivan in 13th, is 23 seconds back, while Harvey is now 37.

Hellner has decided that he's not going to wait, and is hammering hard still.
7 guys are with him, but it's not a walk in the park anymore.
Sodo, Bauer, Di Centa, Vittoz, Manificat, Cologna, and at the back, Northug. I think he's lurking.

Coming down the last hill into the stadium.
a 7 way sprint finish!
Northug hiding just behind Hellner is 4th, and here he comes! Right next to Angerer!
And then he just buries Angerer, as per usual.
10 guys finish in 15 seconds, and then between 30 seconds and 45 seconds, everybody and their mother crosses the line.
Still waiting for final standings after Northug...
Replay of the finish...
and its from an aircam about 100 meters away. That's useful.
And another, this time a head on view, only showing Northug. Again, Eurosport, what the hell!?
Just in case you were wondering, Hattestad was over 3 minutes back in 47th, just ahead of Modin.
Okay, another useless replay angle, I'm going to guess Angerer was second, but Bauer and Hellner is too diffcult to call.
It was Bayer, Hellner, Vittoz and then Perl.
Ivan 13th, Alex 23rd, Kershaw 38th.
Teichmann ended way back in the 40's somehow, he must really have had a stinky day.
Anyway, that's it for LiveBlog Pursuit racing,
and don't forget to donate to the worthy Kieran Jones Foundation for Almost Done Arts Students Who Love Watching World Cup Racing.

Drammen City Sprint - March 11th 2010

Drammen Sprint Live Blog

9.37 - Awake, got my Eurosport-language-I-Don't-recognize feed open. Currently it's on a road bike race, in the winter.
Toast in the toaster, coffee in the maker, qualifying lists have been checked, things are pretty much ready to go.

Coffee in hand, going over Pool success in the qualfiers.
On the men's side:
Beans - None
Luke - None
Mox - 2
Derek - 2
Jess - 4
Burgess - 4
Nellie - 1
Kieran - 1
Of course, if you had only bought Norwegians in the auction, you would be looking good right now - Norway put 13 men in the heats.

Beans - 3
Luke - 1
Mox - 1
Derek - 4
Nellie - 1
Jess - 3
Burgess - 4
Kieran - 4

Ranking didn't happen because the guy running the league has been paying about as much
attention to it as Nellie Dow, so I have no idea whether this will mean anything.

Start is in 11 minutes...

And Eurosport has switched from biking to the WC.
And apparantly straight into the finish of the second mens heat! What the HELL!
Which Hattestad wins convincingly on the uphill finish line.
Pazhinsky also goes through, but Onda and Thomas Northug are left on the outside.
No women's quarters, Eurosport, you disappoint me.

Heat 3, on the start line.
Petterson pretty jacked up.
Kent-Ove Clausen.
Nik Morilov
Kalle Lassila - that's Derek's tool.
Kein Einaste - Estonian, going to get destroyed.

They're off, Einaste is double poling out front, gets the lead.
Everyone else is jammed up behind him.
Pace is stupidly slow.
Lassila goes hammer down, Kjoelstad right behind.
The snow must be slow, because they really arent going very fast.
Einaste off the back.
Onto the home uphill, Lassila, Petterson and Kjoelstad side by side.
Lassila and Petterson get through.
Finish line kind of sucks, there is no lunge because its right in the middle of an uphill, so no one has any momentum.

People are watching out of the skylights in Drammen. It's that big of a deal.

Next Heat
Northug! - In the yellow bib! No Casco's! I can hear Mox cheering from here.
Kruikov - Burgess's guy going head to head with Mox's dude.
Bakken - random Norwegian, but the crowd loves it.

Larsson and Bakken take the lead
Field spreads out, Northug looks like he's struggling, but not as much as Frasnelli.
Bakken, Larsson, Kruikov with a 15 meter gap back to Petter
Kruikov almost hits a wall!
And then bails on the straight!
Nurthug right on Larsson's tips, just ahead of Ostensen
Final uphill and Northug takes the outer lane and double poles his face off
Larsson and Ostensen striding...
But it's Northug then Larsson.
Jeeeeez, thought Northug was done.
Replay shows Kruikov coming out of the corner and just getting his tips crossed and going down, tough luck, gotta work on the balance, not just the EPO.

Cute Norwegians girls, and a stop light - I wanna go to Drammen.
Next Heat
Pasini - Fabio, that's Jess
Boerre Naess - Wow, he has done nothing all year.
Roenning - Also Jess.
Erik Bransdal - My sister and Chandra had a jam sesh with him when they were in Dusseldorf - he was on the podium the next day. No big deal.
Stein Vidar Thun - Token rando Norwegian in this heat. He's not even wearing a red suit.

Game on, and Paakonen just skated the entire scramble zone. And then the entire first corner.
But he's out front, with Roenning right beside him. Surprise surprise, skating is faster in a classic race.
Jeeez, they stuck a Veissman sign to make a zig-zag corner on the course, and it always looks like the outside guy on the corner will get wiped out.
Roenning in control around the last corner, with rando Norway beside him.
Roenning gets destroyed on the last hill by Bransdal!
Came out of nowhere! The guy is a hill climbing monster. The finish line camera forget to track him he was ripping so hard.
Brandsdal and Roenning go through.

Commericial for the paralympics

Women's Semi 1
Kuitenin - that's Kieran
Saarinen - needs a bigger pair of glasses, and is a bitch
Magda Pajala
Fessel - Jess's chick again!
Casperson Falla - Derek
Olsson - Beans

Saarinen dummy's hill one, no surprise. Maybe she'll hit that Veissman sign.
Norway has changed their suit design for like the 10th time this year. They have some goofy white shit down the one leg. It looks like bird poo.
Girls looking sketchy on the easy straight downhill...
Not sure what Fessel is doing back there, other than sucking.
Saarinen and the two Swedes side by side on the last hill.
Time to go Kuitinen...
And it's Saarinen and Pajala.
Olsson gone, Fessel gone, Kuitinen gone, Falla gone.
That would be Beans, Jess, Kieran and Derek.

Semi 2
Ingemarsdotter - Derek
Kristofferson - Kieran
Kowalczyk - her nose is still huge, and she still sucks, Beans, I don't want to hear it.
Bjoergen - Fun! She and Kowal are totally going to chuck 'em at the finish line.
Bjeitlenes - rando Norway gets represented.
Muranen - Wow, that Finn has stunk all year.

Ingemarsdotter comes out flying, even EPO Kowalczyk is struggling to keep up.
God she looks terrible.
Three bird poo suits sitting behind Kowal.
Kowal has now gone bezerk and has a lead.
Make that a big lead.
Ingemarsdotter is second, but Bjoergen is making a run at it.
Bjoergen and Kristofferson dummy Ingemarsdotter and get Kowalczyk! YES!
Last uphill!!
Bjoergen goes wide, Kristofferson switches tracks and drops hard...
Not sure what technique Kowal is using, but it gets her across the line first.
Kowal, Bjoergen, and somehow Bjellaines or whatever gets a LL spot, as does Muranen.
Wow Kristofferson sucks at climbing that last hill.

So in the final we have Saarinen, Pajala, Kowal, Bjoergen, Bjellaaines, and Muranen.
Otherwise known as Beans, nobody, Beans, Mox, nobody and Derek.

Mens Semi 1
Star studded!
Except Niklas Colliander. Who the HELL is that. Completely random Finn. But his nickname is 'The Collander'. Like the thing with holes in it for straining pasta.
Joensson - looking good in that red bib
Andy Newell! - Woohoo!
Pettersen - Sticks his tongue out at the rest of the field. Guess he's planning on losing.

HAHAHAHA, Petterson eats shit on his face out of the gate!!
Correction ALMOST - replay shows he tripped, put his pole between his skiis and tripped again. What a goof.
Hatty, Joensson, Pazzy all neck in neck around first corner and uphill.
Things are tight and slow, but Hatty puts the hammer down, breaks Pettersen who had just reestablished contact.
Team tactics do NOT exist in sprints, thats BS.
Joensson's skis are quick on the downs.
Pazzy gets twisted up, loses his DP tempo.
Feed goes black!!
Back, whew.
Joensson, Hattestad, Newell up front.
Newell is hammer down, and looking good on last uphill.
Emil takes it, Newell second, Pazzy third. Hatty and the Colander FF for 4th, but the rando gets it.
Petterson 12 seconds back. Told you he was going to lose.

Semi 2
Mats Larsson
Roenning - Jess's dude
and I'm out of coffee
Brandsdal - unowned
Northug - still no Casco's
Lassila - 5th in qual, not bad, but he's Dereks
Onda - wierd flippin glasses, but impressive he got this far

Wow, Larsson, who hasn't done much all year heads to the front.
Lassila now in control, Petter sitting in the back, -again
Northug HAMMERING from the back, not doing any good, still in 6th
Now he makes up ground, but Onda goes to the front.
Lassila looking juiced, but Onda is on fire.
And Northug on the outside on the last hill!
But Onda has another gear, he and Lassila are head to head.
Onda, Lassila, Northug and Brandsdal get LL spots. Lucky bastards, they were never really in it.
Onda looking real good today, shouldn't have traded him afterall.
Roenning ended up 32 sec back, maybe you should have a chat with him Jess, it's only 1000 meters.

Women's final on deck.
Saarinen - qualed 1
Kowal - 2
Bjoerg - 6
Pajala - 10
Muranen - 3
Bjellaanes - 23 - wow thats a bit of a surprise

Annnnd, everyones reflexes suck
Saarinen and Kowal double pole to the front, Kowal goes nuts with her goofy stride/run/wobble/terrible technique.
But it works, unfortunately.
Rando norway girl waaay off the back.
It's going to be a Saarinen/Kowal battle, Bjoergen is going to need one hell of an effort to get back in this.
OOOh, fast skis on the downhill, and Bjoergen rips by Saarinen, and now double poles even with Kowal.
And Kowalczyk goes down!!!
And is PISSED!
Bjoergen is clear, with only Saarinen close, but not close enough
Last uphill, Bjoergen is in control, no one is going to catch her.
Bjoergen, Saarinen, Muranen, Pajala, Bjeillanes.
Wait for Kowal to come across the line, there better be a fight.
Here she comes...nothing exciting.
Replay, Marit just skiis right across Kowals tip, because Kowal was skating, the dirty cheater.
Playing 'We are the Champions', and the crowd loves it, almost as much as I loved seeing Kowal go down in a pile of nose, ellicit drugs and poor technique.
The two Norwegians and the two Finns in the final go a victory lap, Kowalczyk desides to stay home.

Men's Final
Joesson - Jess again, god her sprint team is good.
Newell - Nellie Dow
Onda - hahaha, he just shot the camera - Burgess
Lassila - Derek
Northug - Mox, and the crowd loves him (Northug, not Mox)

Everyone is pretty calm nothing crazy up the first hill and corner.
Joensson in control with Onda next to him.
Northug has decided being at the back of every heat isnt so awesome, so is sitting in second with a reaaaal slow pace.
Onda way out front, and the other guys don't even care!
Cause they caught him on the downhill. Japanese wax techs need some work.
Brandsdal goes down when 5 guys try to make a corner at the sasme time.
Joensson, Northug, Newell, Onda
Finish line shootout... Joenssen is gone with some killer striding.
No contest.
Northug and NEWELL! Andy gets on the podium!
Oooh, replay shows Newell changing tracks right into Lassila, and Lassila going down hard.
Eurosport has no interest in showing me the final 6 result, so go look it up in the FIS site.

And that's all from Drammen for today, but Sat and Sun also have some quality ski action.
Holmenkollen 30/50 km, as well as a skate sprint, where Kowalczyk sucks, so everyone will have more fun.

Stockholm City Sprint - March 17th, 2010

I have recently taken up watching World Cup races while commenting on the action, passing judgment on the participants, and drinking obscene amounts of coffee. Currently the distribution is fairly limited, ie to my Fantasy Nordic Skiing pool, (yes, it does exist), but I know more people enjoy World Cup action.
Enjoy! (or not...)

Please note, all times EST.

10.16 - A quick look at qualifying. 2 Canadaians get into the heats - Dasha 20th, Alex 30th.
Other notables include Kowalcyzk down in 8th, Andy Newell in 17th, and a whole lot of guys who can't sprint between 22 and 29. Angerer? Vylegzhanin? Veerpalu? Sundby?

In an odd turn of events, they're showing last weeks Oslo sprints on Eurosport in a replay before Stockholm.
I think I know what happens in the womens final. Oh and they're claiming its live.
Yup, Bjoergen STILL won.
Also, I think I just had some sour milk in my cereal - it really didnt taste that good.

Supposed to start in Stockholm, but Oslo men's final still to come.
If I miss the women's quarters again... free Eurosport will have some explaining to do.

Here we go, that looks like a city in Sweden.
OoooHH, Katja Visnar.

Couse profile - sick uphill finish. Those are awesome in classic sprints, striding is way better than double poling.

Brutal fight with my computer to get a feed.
But here we go.
No idea what heat we have.
But there's Muranen and Bjoergen.
And a couple of Swedes.
Sweet 180 degree turn at the bottom of a big downhill. Carnage central in the mens heats for sure.
Follis in this heat too, looking good actually.
But Muranen is in control coming up the last hill with Bjoergen on the outside.
Wow thats a monster climb to the finish.
Bjoergen and Muranen go through.
Hanna Falk was 5th, still struggling with her classic sprinting.

Women's Heat 4
Steffy Boehler - so hot, trust me, YouTube her
Magda Pajala
Ida Ingemarsdotter
Hanna Brodin - who looks really built - those are BIG guns
Katrin Zeller

Relaxed looking start from Zeller, which really screws her over. This is the World Cup, not some half-assed German club race, come on, get your sheet together.
Brodin is just cranking it out up the first hill. What a monster! Apparantly I have turned into Pierre MacGuire.
The three Swedes just blew everyone else out of the water, and have a huge lead.
Kuitenin making a comeback in the double-pole stretch.
Still a little bit off the back, but actually in it, unlike the Germans, who look pretty uninspired.
Epic battle between Brodin and Pajala, who has to switch tracks!
But its Brodin, and I think the annoucer said Pajala is for sure in the lucky loser spot.

Heat 5
Niskanen - rando Finn qualifies in 22nd?
Steira - havent seen her in a sprint yet this year, could be fun.
Other chick is Russian, and I'm assuming garbage.

Kowal gets out front in the double pole, edging out Saarinen in the corner.
Steira is struggling, which is not surprising, as she isn't a sprinter OR a classic skier.
Top of the first hill, its clear only Kowal and Saarinen are actually in this.
Kristoffersen decides to double pole out of the tracks... and is still really far back.
Kowalczyk and Saarinen easily make the next round.

Pajala and Kalla may be the lucky losers, if my understanding of the announcers is getting better.

Men's Heat 1
Oh baby.
Alex Harvey! - look at that sexy suit
Teodor Peterson
Roenning - good classic sprinter usually
Mats Larsson - won the qualifier
Hellner - he qualified 21st this time, so he doesn't have to always be the worst guy in his heat like Oslo

Peterson gets out to a rockin fast start
Andrew Jeffrey called....distraction from writing...
Alex is waaay back.
But its going to Larsson and Petersen getting through.
However, Hellner can't repeat last weekends heroics is the lesson to learn here.

Men's heat 2
Pettersen - the Norwegian version
Hattestad - Number 4 qualifier
Andy Newell - He has to be sharp today to get into the top 3 sprint points.

About 100 m in, and Ricardsson and Angerer are done, with Kruikov in control.
180 turn and Ricardsson goes down.
Double poling pace is super slow.
Now it picks up, snow flying everywhere.
Angerer has battled back, but Kruikov is in control bigtime.
Its all about the striding now on the last uphill.
Kruikov, Pettersen go 1-2. Hattestad made a brilliant quadruple lane change in an attempt to lunge past Pettersen, but no dice.
Newell ends in 5th, which has to be a disappointment.

Heat 3
Max Vlegzahnin
Gloeersen - killed it last weekend, and was good in the classic city sprint in Drammen

Petukhov has his entire foot over the line, start gets recalled.
And here we go...
Modin out front up Hill 1, looking good.
Norwegians tucked in behind him.
180 degree turn, no carnage.
Modin is an epicly good double poler today.
Theres a russian right behind him into the finish..
Modin and Petukhov, despite a good hustle by Dahl.

Heat 4
Teichmann - this outta be funny
Jens Eriksson - never heard of him
Dario Cologna
Joesson - wearing his red bib, kinda good
Sundby - wow, he and Teichmann can ski a 50 km pace at the back.

Sundby has a killer start(???), right behind Joensson
And then fades up hill one, to go back and hang out with Teichmann
Joensson, Morilov and Cologna out front
180 degree turn, again no carnage. What am watching sprints for???
Joensson double poling out of the tracks, looks faster.
All six are back together, the pace must have dropped.
Cologna and Morilov are going to have a battle and a half here, because Joensson won't give up the lead.
Joennson is gone on the final straight, leaving only one spot open for a qualifier to the next round.
And Morilov outsprints Cologna, who just about gets eaten alive by a lunging Teichmann
Joensson and Morilov get into the semi's.

Heat 5
Veerpalu - looking really nervous, not surprised, cause i doubt hes done this before
Northug - pretty laid back
Brandsdal - racing well, looking good
Manificat - another distance guy gets into the heats

Northug cruises to the front, doubles poles the entire first hill! Does he even have classic skiis?
NO! Wow, he's going to need to hustle here.
And into the double pole, he's ripping, but Panzhinsky and Brandsdal aren't letting him get away yet.
But Petter goes again! 10 meter lead, 15 meter lead, and hes out of the picture.
SEEEEYAAAA - until the last uphill, when he's in trouble. Turns out that hill is kind of slow pure double-poling.
And hes getting reeled back in, but hes in the right track! Northug manages to eak out the win!
Panzhinsky gets through, as does Bransdal in the LL spot.
Video of Northug at the finish line talking to his coach - looks like he says he's not going to do that again.

Women's Semi 1
Visnar - who i didnt get to see in the heats
Olsson - the camera lingers awkwardly - oh right, she's retiring after this season, so its her last few races
jeez, Sweden, got enough chicks in this semi?

Visnar looks good out of the gate, gets out front.
Some Swede chick goes super inside line on the corner, looks really awkward.
Big spaces in this heat on the downhill.
180 corner no carnage because they're all about 5 meters apart.
Olsson out front, drops the pace
Final uphill, and its all Olsson out front.
Smutna and Andersson are dueling
But Smutna is way ahead, and gets across easily ahead of Andersson.
Olsson and Smutna go through.

Womens Semi 2

Again with the Swedes. And this heat is fricken STACKED.
Brodin is the only one without a WC podium this year, but she destroyed World Juniors, so I wouldn't count her out.
Expect awesome things.
TIGHT action around the corner, no one is going to walk away with this.
I'm rooting for Brodin.
Kowal out front into the double pole section, Ingermarsdotter right behind her.
Brodin making a play on the outside.
Wow, shes looking strong. Unlike Saarinen, who has checked out.
Last uphill, Kowalczyk looking good, Brodin not going to do it.
Ingermarsdotter, Kowalczyk.
and Brodin and Bjoergen go through on LL spots.
Not too surprising considering the quality in this heat.

Mens Semi 1
Brandsdal - lucky losered his way through
Petterson - Norwegian version
Peterson - Swedish version

Peterson Sweden, has a hot start, stays ahead of the Russkies
Not sure where Larsson is going, he did a triple lane change to get to the inside.
Turns out it worked, he's out front by a few meters.
180 degree turn, everyone is in traffic except Larsson.
Who seems to be cruising
And then he turns out the jets, and Kruikov is the only one to respond.
They're a few strides clear of the rest on the uphill.
Larsson takes a look back.
Larsson and Kruikov go through easily.

Men's Semi 2
Man, this isnt going as fast as I thought, I still have to write an entire Rec 280 paper
Panzhinskiy - the announcer mentions the Olympics for the thousandth time
Northug - is he wearing classic skis?
Joensson - looking preeeetty confident
Hellner - got a lucky loser spot, he is also the luckiest sprinter alive

Shot of the crowd, including Indiana Jones
OOoh, Morilov wipes out on the startline. Thats going to hurt.
Northug still double poling, goes straight to the back on the first uphill.
Bad tactics on his part, everyone else has figured him out.
I guess when you have the WC overall wrapped up, you can do what you want.
Northug on the inside, poling past everyone.
The Swedes are hammer down in an attempt to keep up.
Northug does the same thing as last heat!!
Monster lead! Unreal! How do they let him do that??
They're reeling him in, but not fast enough!
He wins again, with Joensson right behind.
Modin and Hellner get LL spots into the final.
Hellner AGAIN! What a lucky loser. Ephasis here on LOSER.

Some goofy dressed up Swedish gaurds come out to the startline.
I assume this what they call 'culture'.

Womens Final
Going to be a gong show, still rooting for Brodin.

3 Swedes, looks like odds are good.
Brodin makes sure all 3 Swedes go side by side up the first hill, then fades a bit.
Olsson and Ingemarsdotter with a big lead.
Kowalczyk brings it back with a good double pole bit.
And goes to the front with the hammer down!
Last uphill, going to be close, Olsson looks like she might do it.
Olsson! So close! Just edges out Kowalczyk, while Bjoergen ends up third.

Mens Final!

4 Swedes this time, smart money has one of them winning. But Northug might not agree.
I hope he put grip wax on his skis this time, just to screw with the other guys.

Again Northug is double poling only. Holy crap, does he not get tired?
Larsson is gone on the inside track, his striding is wild.
Swedes sitting 1-2-3
Until the double pole straight, and here comes Northug!
Kruikov has switched lanes about 100 times in the last 10 meters.
Northug does his standard hammertime, and Kruikov goes with him!
Northug is in trouble! The striders are right behind him and hes out of gas!
Kruikov goes by, and so does Joensson!
Its a three way lunge!
Kruikov won for sure, but Joensson and Northug are close.
Replay shows Northug did manage to get it.
The Swedes go 3-4-5-6, which has to be a disappointment.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Waiting Game

There is a Swollen Members song that goes ‘Good things come/to those who wait/but no one ever said how long it was gunna take’. Now, far be it from me to suggest that you listen to Swollen Members, but judging from the events of this past spring, I would say it’s fairly accurate. Let me explain.
Beginning when I finished school, technically around the end of April, but more realistically right about here.

Or actually, maybe here.

No, no it was definitely right here.

Regardless, I had checked out, and my mind was on the whole 'whats-next' business.
Once I had finished school, I was on the hunt for something to do for the summer, or the rest of my life, whichever I figured out first. First stop on Kieran’s list was grad school. I learned a few things about grad school, such as a) they were probably going to expect me to work pretty hard, b) I hadn’t applied, so getting in was going to be difficult, and c) I didn’t know what the hell I would do once I got there. So that idea got tossed. Which rapidly brought about the other option, working, which I rather like because it involves money.

After kicking around a few ideas such as, but certainly not limited to; prostitution, pros - lots of money, cons - its prostitution; professional skier, pros - skiing, fun, cons - I’m not a very good skier; and astronaut, pros - space, lots of babes, drink Tang, cons - space program ending, long training time, astronauts probably don’t know how to party, I arrived at a conclusion. Stick to what you know. And it’s debatable, but I know a total of three things. Writing, skiing, and manual labour. Now, I’m not saying I am an expert or an authority on any of the three, but they are what I know. After making that monumental decision, all was left was finding a job in that field. This next part may come as a revelation, but there are not thousands of jobs lined up for a skiing, writing, manual labouring, 98% of a BA in History carrying 22-year old male. Shock, I know.
But here’s the good part. In the last month, I have managed to nail down all three.
First, was nice enough to offer me a summer internship as a reporter/journalist writing and coming up with awesome ski content. Check skiing AND writing off the aforementioned list.
Second, a friends’ dad who I worked with in high school was in need of some help for random jobs around Almonte. He’s a rad dude, doesn’t like working too hard, and has not yet grasped the purpose of Facebook. Not that it’s important; we just have some funny conversations. Check off manual labour and sweet farmer’s tan.
Third, and possibly the most exciting. Nakkertok, the ski club which I have been a member and raced for my entire skiing career, if you can call it that, has hired yours truly as an assistant coach for the next 11 months. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything for a full 11 months before. Skiing, pure awesomeness, CHECK.

So there you have it. In the space of one short month, I have managed to line up three things which I massively enjoy, and even better, have managed a way to survive financially. I waited, took advantage of some sweet opportunities, and capitalized when things fell in my lap. Thanks, Swollen Members, for the tip – in return, I will listen to some of your music. Downloaded illegally, of course.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ivory Coast 0 - Portugal 0

Ronaldo hits the post and takes yellow in the first half. A late flurry by Ivory Coast looked promising, but yet another tie score was disappointing from two teams with excessive firepower.

Slovakia 1 - New Zealand 1

All Slovakia until the 92nd minute, it was going to be a wash. Injury time header goal by New Zealand gets the All-Whites their first points EVER in a World Cup Final. Unreal!

Italy 1 - Paraguay 1

Italy and Paraguay win the award for ‘Most Disappointing Match EVER’. Paraguay is a defensive powerhouse, and Italy was largely ineffective. I would not be betting on the Italians after yesterday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Japan 1 - Cameroon - 0

Cameroon snoozed the first half, Japan got a lucky goal. Cameroon and Eto’o can be electric when pressuring, the last minute was wild. Diving was epidemic in this match, unlike good goal scoring.

Netherlands 2 - Denmark - 0

The Dutch dummied the Danes. An own goal early in the second half, and then the Dutch just put the hammer down and never let up. The Orange have great ball possession.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

After a weekend of learning how to coach kids, bleeding profusely from the mouth, and cutting hamburger into very small pieces in order to survive, Kieran is back in the land of internet, soccer, and ice packs. I apologize for missing the entire World Cup weekend, but luckily I did manage to catch:

Germany 4 - Australia - 0
Aussies got butchered by the Huns badly. Aussie’s best striker (Tim Cahill) took a marginal red card when it was 2-0 Germany, and sunk Australia’s few hopes. Germany has awesome young guns.