The World Cup in Switzerland in the end of September was a positive weekend for me. I am satisfied with the results 9th, 11th and 11th in the three races (middle, knockout sprint and sprint), and my solid performances through the whole weekend. In all races I was close to the podium, which is motivating and nice after not making it to the WOC team this year. The middle distance was a classic "mittelland" terrain, and familiar to me, while the sprints were tricky and nice in the old town of Laufen and Zwingen. The Swiss again organized a very fine World Cup round with a lot of spectators and quality courses, it is alway a pleasure competing in Switzerland.
Returning to Switzerland for the World Cup was nice, and we had a good weekend living in Delemont and competing in Laufen and Zwingen. The first competition was the middle distance. I looked forward to the competition and felt the terrain was very much as expected. I started out safely by using the paths and roads as much as possible to the first two controls, but then to the 3rd I rread to the 11th instead. Lucky for me, the best routechoice for the 3rd control was the option I chose towards the 11th, and when I realized my mistake I only lost the seconds I used running half way up the last slope to the 11th and back down again (30-45s I guess). This mistake irritated me a lot, and made me more focused. I continued very well the rest of the course, with only some minor mistakes. Towards the 2nd last control I was very sure that my routechoice had not been the best one, it was too slow and long on the small path in the beginning, and was a bit frustrated and irritated towards the finnish thinking this would not be good enough at all (having the mistake to the 3rd in my mind as well). I was therefore vey suprised to hear that I was currently 3rd and only 37s behind. In the end I was 9th, with these 37s gap up to top 6. Happy to be back in the top 10 internationally!
The day after it was knockout-sprint, consisting of a prologue, quarter, semi and finals. In the prologue it was three heats and top 12 was qualified for the quarter finales. I started out with having some troubles towards control 1, the terrain was a bit different than expected on the map, but found it after some hesitation. To the 2nd I did not see that one road was blocked, but realized early enough and lost almost nothing. After that I was more focused, but did again not see the fence blocking the bridge into the castle, and had to use some time in map reading to find my way through that castle as well. My finish however was solid, and I sequred a 3rd place in the heat 17s behind Tove Alexandersson. After the prologue we selected out quarter final heats. I was quite early in selecting and decided to go for a heat with at least one of the best runners in the field to hope that less runners wanted that heat later on. After a rather short quarantine waiting it quarter final time. At the start we saw just a minute before we started how the quarter final heat before us passed by, and we saw that it was quite much splitted up. That made me sure that we would have forking, and we had a lot! The first control every one had, but after that it was forked directly and we had two loops with several controls forked. Therefore, I was alone already towards control 3. I knew that I had to keep pushing and run as fast as I could and after 1 round I was together with Tove, but then we of course had different forkings and I was alone again. Out of the forking I saw Tove about 10s maybe a bit more ahead of me, but also had a gap down towards the rest. Tried to keep pushing and avoid mistakes the last couple of controls, and still had a gap into the run-in, and could slow down a little securing the 2nd place in the heat (3 runners qualifed from each heat). After the quarter finale we had some hours break before we had to enter the next quarantine. For me it was the first time I had qualified for the semi final in knockout sprint, so I was already quite happy with the day and looked forward to run in the old town of Laufen. It was a lot of spectators when we were brought to the arena for the start. There we had to select our forking (runners chouce) and then we were off towards the start triangle. I was a little slow out focusing on reading my map, but ran myself up again to the others before the start triangle. There I was irritated that my route was full of cars and started zigzaging, but what I did not know and some did know was that the organizers had made some gates through the cars further down which were not marked on the map, neither described in the bulletin nor very visble in the terrain, and I dropped down to the last position in the group because the others found this gate. After this I struggled to get back up, but never managed. It was too many narrow corners to run past, and the runners in front got a gap. I should probably have tried more different routechoices in the first part, but I at least did in the last part and finished as 4th. Only the 2 best of each heat qualified for the final, so my competition was over. In the end that was enough for an 11th place.
The last race was a sprint in the old town of Laufen, and I looked forward to a nice sprint, and it was. I did good start and was in the fight for the top 6 in the middle of the race, but then I did not understand the terrain around control 12-14 which was a contruction area. Too much hesitation and time lost in this area, and I dropped some positions. My finish was good though and I ended as 11th with only 17s up to the 3rd place. Happy with another solid performance, but a little irritated that I lost so much time at control 12-14. All in all a very positive and good weekend for me in Switzerland!