"What does the title of this entry mean?," you ask? World Championships Fever Feeling, of course. You can't make up these Finnish words.
The farm runs down to a beautiful lake, and the feel of the place is pretty much terrific.
Guess if the cabins on the Finnish lake had cool architecture and design.
Kari and Maijastiina have a "summer house" about .3 kilometers from the main farm house.
We also skied closer to Lahti (indeed, the trails eventually make their way to the stadium) on the fun rolly-polly trails of Hollola.
The farm comes with two fantastic dogs, Rocky and Romy (Americanized spellings).
And even the pigs were cute (this guy was a little alarmed because I managed to wake him).
But of course the real matter at hand was going to the races. By the time we arrived in Lahti, the Americans had already won two medals: bronze and silver in the individual sprint, and bronze in the two-person-team sprint. But still there were chances for more. The event we'd been looking forward to the most was the 4x5k women's relay, and we paid the big bucks to sit in the stadium for this one.
Unfortunately we couldn't close the gap and finished 4th. It's a little unhealthy how much I wanted to medal so we could celebrate that night downtown at the medal plaza. J had certainly seen enough.
Luckily, the Finns had an eepa perfect for the occasion.
And still, it was a good race, in part because the Americans had fast skis throughout the championships. Here's one of the American wax techs -- one of the silent heroes behind our two medals -- in the Portland airport. Suffice it to say I now know that photographs aren't allowed in the customs area. Suffice it to say this is the only picture I took in the customs area.
One of the coolest moments of the Championships came just before the relay, when a 92-year-old Finnish Olympic gold medalist skied a lap around the stadium. She (and her technique at age 92) was completely inspiring to everyone there, not just the Finns. If you start the video at 1:40, you can clearly see our American flag for about the next ten seconds.
We ended up going to five days of racing, which at first sounded like a lot, but I would have happily gone to five more. Of course, we had to learn a few tricks of the trade. Assuming you're planning on going to Finland for ski races some time, here a few guidelines to keep in mind.
First, bring a large thermos with hot chocolate and another with "French coffee," as the Finns call coffee with cognac (wanted to get a picture of Artturi into this entry).
... but still load up on reindeer sausage and reindeer stew.
Here's a recipe (though Artturi says to use water, not milk).
Make sure to bring a flag. This way, Kikkan Randall's dad can find you (Randall is the most decorated US World Cup skier of all-time, and she won the sprint bronze in Lahti).
Allow time to hit the sauna at the stadium. (Ok, it's true, we didn't.)
This place was even better.
Vary where you sit/stand. Sitting in the stadium was great, but so were standing essentially in the end-zone, and then being right up against the boards as the racers came screaming down Indian Hill for the women's 30k on Saturday.
We had a chance here to take pictures during warmups. Here's Jessie Diggins sort of ruining what could have been a great shot.
Kari and Maijastiina, this is Krista Parmokoski, right? (actually taken the first day)
The 30k itself was an epic nail-biter. On a beautiful sunny day, Diggins stayed with the small lead group for 29k, and I honestly believe that, if she had just had the courage to break first, she could have taken down the Norwegians. In the end she was a close 5th, the best ever for an American woman in the culminating long race at Worlds. I'm pretty sure she was so close because of the encouragement we yelled at her during warm-ups ... If you start the video at 53:40, you can clearly see our flag again.
We had to get one last group shot leaving the stadium.
Sorry Trump, Finland first.