Lasse was focused today. It was obvious. As soon as he came across the finish line of each of his heats, he immediately took a few swigs of sport drink and a jogged a few laps around the stadium to stay loose between heats. And to anyone who watched his heats closely, it was clear that he had a strategy: get to the front early and control the race from there, using sharp accelleration in a few critical parts of the course that he'd memorized in advance. He executed his plan with an expert touch, and worked his way through to the A-final, the last race of the day, as night was falling on Kincaid Park. Once again, Lasse put himself into perfect position, in the lead, as the group came behind the scoreboard at the 500 meter mark. All day, this was the part of the course where Lasse had relaxed to take a few deep breaths before a hard acceleration into the final, critical 400 meters. But this time, he was getting pressure from Davis Norris, who had also been employing crafty race tactics all day. To put it bluntly, six skiers tried to squeeze themselves onto a trail made for five, and Lasse saw his plans for victory unravel from a vantage point sprawled in the middle of the ski trail, about 350 meters from the finish. But that's sprint racing: you take your chances, play to your strengths, keep your brain in gear, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Lasse did everything to put himself in position to win today, but sometimes you just have to come away from the race satisfied that you took your chances and gave everything you had. And Lasse did that today.
Lukas went all the way through to the final, too. But it was the B-final. There wasn't much "lucky" about Lukas' starts today. Just as Lasse could be counted on to look back over his shoulder at the 100 meter mark at the beginning of each heat, wondering where everyone was, Lukas struggled to get out of the start quickly, and had to spend each heat fighting his way through the field in order to advance. But he showed guts and resolve and he kept advancing all the way to the B-final.
With 350 meters to go, coming downhill off the tunnel and into the strategically critical sweeping left turn under the bridge, Lucky hoped to get lucky with an inside move that could have launched him into a solid second place position coming into the finish sprint, but Scott Patterson was alert and closed the door on Lukas, taking the inside line for himself. Smart skiing by both skiers.
Today's results haven't been posted yet, but I bet they'll be available here before too long: http://www.crosscountryalaska.org/site/categoryblog/235-bc-1-a-2-info