CANMORE, AB (Dec. 16) - The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) had strong finishes as two weekends of FIS Cross Country World Cup racing in North America ended Sunday with a 15k skiathlon in Canmore. Randall was eighth to remain second in the World Cup overall standings and fifth in distance. Sargent skied to a career best distance finish of 14th. In the skiathlon, racers ski 7.5k classic technique, then head into the pits to change equipment and head back out for 7.5k of freestyle technique. Poland's Justynz Kowalcyk won to extend her World Cup lead. The World Cup takes a holiday break before resuming with the grueling Tour de Ski Dec. 29.
U.S. Ski Team athlete Ida Sargent powers her way to 14th in the Canmore World Cup skiathlon - a career best distance finish. (Robert Whitney)
Today I just tried to be patient and try to move up when I could and not freak out because I knew it was going to be a long race. Starting the second classic leg I started to feel really good and I tried to move up and took advantage because I'm a lot stronger classic skier over skate, and I didn't know what would happen in the skate part. My classic leg was good but I tried to still stay a little bit controlled. Then in the skate portion I just tried to stay relaxed and ski with people. Then we kind of had that pack form. I had a lot of practice yesterday with the finishing stretch so I knew I just had to stay relaxed and take the draft and I knew my finish would be good.
I had amazing skis out there - both classic and skate. The techs did a great job.
It's a little hard. All of the distance races I feel like I've been in the fight so it's just a little tough. I just kind of refocused and told myself that this was a good hard workout to get ready for the Tour [de Ski]. So I think it's good to just refocus like that.