Well, since last I blogged, I've been steadily building for the races I mentioned in that post—the UltraVasan 90k in Mora, Sweden (8/22) and the 100km World Championships in Winschoten, Netherlands (9/12).  I also ran a 50k Skyrace in Aspen (short post on the VK here); no race report up for that one, as I ended up writing a piece about it for the October issue of UltraRunning magazine (along with a cool interview with Ashley Erba for the same piece).

Since the Euro races are three weeks apart, I figured it made more sense to stay over there and train/travel between versus briefly coming home.  Why am I unemployed (underemployed, funemployed?) if not to take advantage of such situations. :)  

Tentatively the travel schedule looks something like this:
- 8/18-8/25: Mora, Sweden – UltraVasan race, plenty of cinnamon & cardamom buns, fika galore Dala horse overload, Morakniv factory tour
- 8/25 - 8/29: Gothenberg & Varberg, Sweden – Visiting extended family 
- 8/29 - 9/4: Switzerland – Meeting up with Beth, hiking/exploring around Ftan, Davos, and Zurich; hopefully attending the Weltklasse Diamond League meet in Zurich!
- 9/4 - 9/7: Konstanz, Germany – Visiting our friend Cindy, law scholar extraordinaire
- 9/7 - 9/9: Amsterdam, Netherlands – Probably getting my bike on
- 9/9 - 9/13: Winschoten, Netherlands – Meeting up with my dad, 100km World Championships
- 9/13 - 9/17: Begium – Drinking lots of great Belgian beer with my dad

The horses really were everywhere... at the press conference, in the hotel lobby, even an art exhibit on their history...

My very own Morakniv (crafted...sort me!)
As for the first race, which is tomorrow morning(!), it should be a lot of fun, a beautiful run, and a good test to see where my fitness is.  The few days here in Mora have been great so far.  The organization is impeccable, building on the nearly 100 years of experience of the classic ski race, Vasaloppet (the oldest/biggest/longest XC ski race in the world).  The UltraVasan and Cykelvasan (bike race) are both 90k, just like the ski race, and all follow the same course.  

The organization has assembled a pretty great field that includes Max King and Jonas Buud (1-2 at last year's 100km World Championships), which should lead to quite the duel up front.  Not to be overlooked are the French duo Emmanuel Gault and Arnaud Perrignon as well as Norwegian Didrik Hermansen, who's been tearing it up in the Ultra Trail World Tour this year.  

I sort of doubt I'll be racing in the lead pack, as I'm still not at 100% fitness on the road back from injury.  I haven't done too many workouts yet and based on some test long runs, I'd guess I'm 15-20 seconds/mile slower than peak fitness.  Thus, I'm trying to be conservative with things, running casually on the more technical and undulating early terrain so I can at least try to run quickly the second half. :)  I'd be happy with a top 5 finish in under 6h30m (last year's winning time and CR was Jonas Buud's 6h2m).

After that, it's on to the aforementioned Euroventures!  I'll be writing a recap of my race and my time in Sweden for, so keep an eye on my social media for that!

Bright and early tomorrow morning - 2:45 a.m. bus, 5 a.m. start!