Andrew Young admitted he didn’t know where his performance in the 15km classic at the Winter Olympics came from as he broke the top 40.
Young placed 37th in a time of 41:29.6 minutes in his second event of the Games – he opened his campaign by ranking 42nd in the sprint prologue.
And, with temperatures reaching double figures at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center in Rosa Khutor, Young was surprised he coped.
“You are just dying the whole way around. I had four drink stations and normally in a 15km I don’t drink at all. It was hard,” he said.
“I don’t how I managed to ski so fast. The wax technicians did a phenomenal job – that helped a lot. I just felt really good.
“It was an awesome race, I am really happy. I really enjoyed myself and skied to the best of my ability in these conditions.
“The sprint is my favoured event, so I think I put a lot of expectations on myself in the sprint and I was really angry that I didn’t ski to my potential.
“I am really happy, this isn’t my favoured event and I just really enjoyed skiing and didn’t think about the result.
“I just focused on myself, my technique, relaxed into it and really enjoyed my skiing and that was really fun.”
Young was joined by fellow British cross-country skiers Andrew Musgrave, who finished seven places behind in 44th and Callum Smith, who was 67th.
But Musgrave, whose 27th in the sprint was Britain’s best ever cross-country skiing performance at an Olympics, still isn’t happy with himself in Sochi.
“It wasn’t amazing. I still feel a bit like I did in the sprint. I felt a little bit better. I felt I opened off at the speed I normally would do and up until about halfway it was going alright,” he said.
“Usually I open off at that speed and I can increase for the second half whereas in that I felt I started off at good speed but at halfway instead of being able to increase I just died.”
Meanwhile Smith’s maiden Olympic campaign is now over – although he admitted he wasn’t overly bothered by the conditions that saw skiers race in T-shirts and not race suits.
“It was hard quite hard, I was wearing a T-shirt rather than a race suit. It is not often you race in 13 degrees or whatever it is. It does make it a little bit harder,” he said
“The tracks are soft. You just feel really warm. We took on drinks every lap, which we wouldn’t normally do in a 15km.
“It certainly spreads the field out less when it is colder and the tracks are a bit easier. But it is the same for everyone.”
© Sportsbeat 2014