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Interview with Katerina Smutna: Christmas time in Jablonec, New Year skiing, Jizerska 50 and poisoni

When she crossed the finish line in La Sgambeda as second in early December, she did not know she was handle with poisoning. That's what Bauer Ski Team athlete learned later. Just when she became well she took part at the Continental Cup race at St. Ullrich and then she went to the Czech Republic for Christmas. She spent Christmas time in Jablonec and among others also on the Jizerská 50 track, which she enjoys most of the races in 2018, and then she moved back to Austria, where she celebrated New Year's Eve with a cross-country skiing midnight. "By the end of 2018, I've actually been skiing," Katerina Smutna says with a smile in a new year's interview.

You have completed the first two races of the Visma Ski Classics skiing series in the Bauer Ski Team colors at the end of last year. How satisfied are you with the beginning of the season?

I am very satisfied, especially when I will look back what happened to me just before the first individual race in Livigno. We thought that I´m fighting with some sickness just before the La Sgambeda, but then we learned that I was gas-poisoned in the house where we were staying. They took the family of our host, who lived there, to the hospital and they were very sick, returning after 14 days. I think that due to this incident, the second place in the race is a miracle!

Other team members were fine?

Fortunately, the boys were on training, but we and my partner stayed home due a rest day. We did not know anything about it, then I thought something was going up on me. But I was strange to have no cold or cough, I'm just tired, just like a partner. But after the race we got an explanation when some police investigation in our hose was completed. For three more days I was tired, then it was fortunately OK.

Absolvovala jste v závěru roku po Sgambedě ještě nějaký závod?Have you competed at any race at the end of the year after La Sgambeda?

I did Continental Cup race at St. Ullrich, where I live. It was 5km classic, so almost sprint for me, like long-distance skier ;-). It was around zero degrees Celsius and we could not find the right wax. We left my "nowax" skis home, so my partner had to return for them and I got them about five minutes before the start. So the conditions were not the best for me, the skis were slippery whole race. But my purpose was fulfilled, I did 5km in race mode and result was not bad.

There was more then a month's break between last Visma Ski Classics race and next one, first VISMA Ski Classics race in 2018. How did you fill it out? Do not you mind so long without races?

I personally do not mind the pause either, because it was Christmas time too. At least there was no such stress with training, I went once a day to ski. I've been practicing endurance training, I've had a break from those fast trainings. But now I'm starting to race again. On Tuesday I did a test race with myself (laughs).

How was Christmas and New Year's Eve for Katerina Smutna?

Na Vánoce jsme byli v Jablonci, na Silvestra už zase v Rakousku. Asi v půl dvanácté jsme vyrazili na lyže a vyjeli na louku nad město a viděli jsme všechny ohňostroje. Vlastně jsem vjela do nového roku na lyžích (smích). We spent whole Christmas time in Jablonec, for New Year's Eve we were back in Austria. At about twelve o'clock we were skiing to the meadow above the city and saw all the fireworks. Actually, I entered a new year on skis (laughs).

I assume that when you stay in Jablonec, did you try Jizerská 50?

Samozřejmě! Původně jsme měli být v Jablonci jen do 26. 12., ale pak jsme to protáhli až do 29. prosince. Trať Jizerky byla skvěle upravená, proto jsme zůstali déle. Akorát lidí tam bylo asi milion, to bylo neuvěřitelné! Pro mě je každopádně dobré, že si můžu trať projet a trochu ji vstřebat. Na Jizerskou 50 se těším nejvíc ze všech závodů, které mě v roce 2018 čekají. Všechny budou samozřejmě důležité, ale Jizerka je něco jiného, výjimečného. Of course! Originally, we planned to be in Jablonec until December 26, but then we extended it until December 29. The Jizerska 50 track was greatly groomed, so we stayed longer. Just about a million people was there, it was incredible! It is good for me, in any case, that I can train on the track and absorb it a bit. At the Jizerská 50 I'm looking forward the most of all the races that are waiting for me in 2018. Of course, everything will be important, but Jizerska 50 is something else, exceptional.

You will go this year as member of Czech team - Bauer Ski Team. How satisfied are you with your new engagement, that is, acting in Lukáš Bauer's team?

I'm so happy! At first I was a bit tense as to how it would work, but so far everything goes to 100 percent. Positives are definitely in speech. When I was at Santander, everyone understood German, but when we were supposed to have dinner, everybodytalked Norwegian together. We were still alien there, now it's much better. In the new team, I'm really happy with everything.

How do you feel at the start of 2018 and what goals do you have in it?

I have to say that I feel very good at the moment. I do not want to shout but I feel good about it. I am looking forward to Seefeld for Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, which runs on January 13. I would like to win it, of course, but I know that the race is heavy and long, so we will see how it will develop on the track. Otherwise, I want to try to win Visma Ski Classics Overall, that's my goal. But the other girls are still better, so it will not be easy, it's very well balanced.

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