I slipped ahead of him on a corner and flew into first, Russell and Antoine also caught up and we each took one of the 3 tracks at the bottom of the hill. I was on the far left and was able to avoid transitioning to a running stride because of my great kick. I came over the hill in the lead, but closely followed by Antoine and Russell in the other tracks. The course started up a super steep hill and I still was able to stride, not slipping at all. I could tell that Russell was getting tired. There was one more hill before the down, so I tried to carry out another of my goals, and hammered over the top, accelerating quick. I came over the hill and was surprised to be alone. I rested on the downhill, before striding up the following hill with long powerful strides. The gap between me and Antoine widened and I approached “screamin’ Mimi”, the biggest uphill on the course. In order to win, I needed to hold the lead for another kilometer. I tried to extend my stride and glide farther as I flew up the hill persued by hordes of sprinting skiers who had been energized by the sight of the 4km sign. I increased my effort and accelerated over the top of the hill.
There were only 3 uphills left, so I focused on my goal of accelerating over the tops of all of them. I came into the final hill, which was long and gradual, and immediately preceded the finish. I focused on my technique and neared the top. I ignored my head telling me the hill was over and kept accelerating with my long strides over the top. I broke into a sprint, with enough of a lead that catching me would be a challenge. I crossed the line exhausted, scoring my first classic eastern cup win, my first mass start Eastern cup win, and my first Eastern Cup win of 2015.
I doubt that my victory would have been achievable without such amazing kick, so many thanks to Eric for testing wax, and Scottie and Dennis for helping me create a winning combination of skis and skier.