Saturday, January 26, 2002 - Perspective
World Junior Team Update

- By: Chandra Crawford

Well the most exciting race of my career so far has come and gone, and now, live from Al's laptop in a hotel in Schonach, it's Saturday Night! And your host, Chandra Crawford will now share the details of what went through her mind in today's events.

This morning we woke up earlier than usual to be ready for the 9:00 am start and it was still really dark out as we warmed up in some light rain. I have been waiting all week for this race, I was stoked for sure, but this morning I was having a hard time getting really excited. With only thirty minutes to go until the start, I mentioned this to Shayla, and she said "Just get a good song in your head and do some sprints!"

Good, awesome advice. But feeling the way I was the first thing to come to my song saturated mind was a super slow Enya song called "Only Time". This was no good, I kept thinking and came up with "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis as I skied through the trees of the Black Forest. This, although totally a propos, was way to slow so I went back to the song Madeleine sang to me for two days straight to get me ready to rock the sprints at trials: "I am #1" by Nelly. A good one, but overplayed by the radio of my mind so I moved on to techno as I enter the start area. Some ATB and then the song that led me to victory: Darude's "Sandstorm."

By the time I shot out of the starting gate I was soaring in a sandstorm of excitement and energy. The race was wicked, or as the only line of German I know goes: "Das es fantastish!" I felt great about my effort and focus, and was excited/relieved to hear I'd reached my goal of top 16. "It's a Beautiful Day" by U2 played in my mind while my parents congratulated me.

The game plan from here was to relax for the first part of my 1.5 hour break and then build back up the energy for the heat. I rested my legs and did some light stretching while humming some Andrea Boccelli to myself and then got in a "feel good" mood as I got back out there to start warming up with Paul Simon's "Graceland". The rivers of melting snow shone like a national guitar as the sun came out and the skies were blue. I got the familiar beat of Kylie Monogue's hit song in my head then sat down with Al for a strategy meeting. I came out of that relaxed and confident, ready to take on the world's best sprinters while singing along to the remix of "It's Raining Men" that blared over the speakers.

As I finished my warm up and started to "Jump Around" like the House of Pain in the starting gate my old friend came back to me. That's right, I'm on the line, Sandstorm is back and it's go time, baby! To my right is German Nicole Fessel who will later become second in the world in this race, with two fast looking girls from France and Austria right next to her. I can't believe I'm on the line here, this is amazing! The gun goes off and just 100 meters out of the start, the French girl goes down right in front of me and I lean onto my left ski to just miss going down with her. I tuck in right behind the German on the downhill and come out right beside her, then Austria passes me and I stay right behind them up the climb. The German made some time pushing up and over the hill and I get stoked for the final stretch; here comes the kick, I'm makin a move! I push right beside the Austrian all the way to the finish and in the end she gets me by a little less than a ski length. Wow! At this point all I want to do is keep going. That was so fun! And people line the stadium cheering, and the "sun is shinning, weather is sweet" like in the dance remix of Bob Marley's song. What a race and an amazing experience!

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