It was a breakthrough winter for Katerina Razymova from the Czech Ski Federation. She stormed in the 2019/20 World Cup season with the 5th place in the individual distance competition in Ruka, FIN and was able keep good results during the whole season despite a few setbacks caused by illness. “Now I’d say that my competitors know who I am,” she said laughing during the interview for Czech Ski Association.
It was a great season for you. Do you feel sorry it ended prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Of course, I am sorry the season ended earlier than planned, but there are much more important things in life than Cross-Country Skiing competitions. I think it was a fair decision to cancel the World Cup races in Canada and USA. If not all the nations had taken the quality of the competitions would have been worse. I think the decision to cancel the events should have been done earlier.
Nevertheless, career best with 5th place, five results in top 10, only 2 competitions outside of top 30 – you must be satisfied with this winter?
Yes, I am very satisfied. I was able to score World Cup points in every competition I took part. It had been my goal before the season. Two competitions without World Cup points were sprints. It’s still kind of a miracle for me if I manage to qualify for the heats. I am sorry I got sick twice during the season, which cost me a lot of competitions and I was not able to fight for more good results. I believe it was possible to get good results.
You had your career best already in the first World Cup race of the season. How big of a surprise was it for you to be so good already at the beginning of the season?
I totally was not ready for that and I did not expect it at all. I had been dreaming about being in top 30 in some of the World Cup competitions in Scandinavia. It was good and bad at the same time I was 5th already in Ruka. I was not mentally ready to fight for top positions and I think I lost the podium during the race because I did not have the fighting spirit in my head. On that day I would have been happy for 10th place. I was speechless. I regret it was my last Individual 10 km classic during the season.
There was a pursuit on the second day. You finished in top 10 again, did you get reassured it was not a coincidence?
I do not have good memories about the pursuit race. During the night I was so nervous like never before. I almost didn’t sleep; I could not find my pace in the race. I kept saying to myself I cannot screw it up. It was really cold and windy. It’s more fun to reminisce about the race now and the result was very important for me.
You took 2 weeks break after the World Cup in Ruka. How was it not be racing?
It was not easy to be watching races on TV. I was wondering what it would be like if I was there competing. Then of course I started to think like, what if it was a coincidence, I was so good? What if my shape is gone, can I be good again in Davos? Luckily Laszlo (Vladislav Razym - husband and coach) put me back to reality.
And in Davos you again finished in top 10?
Yes, Davos was still great. I finished 7th in a distance skate competition, which was a very good result for me. It was all in. Because of the high altitude Laszlo and I arrived 20 hours before the race, everything seemed to be ideal. But then there was Tour de Ski and I thought the season was gone.
You had to leave the Tour de Ski after 2 stages. How difficult was it to leave when you felt you were in a great shape?
Already from the beginning of the tour I was not feeling great. I thought it was just because I was nervous. But it was strange, because I am usually not so nervous. But before the second stage, I was almost crying on the way to the start. I felt sick and then good again. I had no symptoms, but I was not sure if I should start or not. It was not a good race. I finished 26th, which was far behind my expectations. I was not able to keep the pace with anybody. On the following day I had a fever and gastric flu. It was a relief because I finally knew, I was not healthy. To leave the Tour was an easier decision because I had no choice.
Another goal of the season was to perform well on the home World Cup in Nove Mesto. You managed well. What was it like to be competing in front of the home crowds?
World Cup in Nove Mesto is one of my best memories. It was not easy at all. I had a long break after the Tour de Ski, it is always a challenge to come back after being sick. There was a lot of media attention, so I had no chance not to think about Nove Mesto. But I enjoyed it a lot. It was amazing to compete in front of my family, friends and so many fans.
How did you deal with bigger media and fans attention?
Of course, the attention was bigger than before. Especially before Nove Mesto I felt I had enough, but after that it was possible to manage it without any problems.
What about your competitors?
I think they know who I am and can recognize me now. I hope I won’t give them a chance to forget about me. I have to continue with the work I have done until now and get better, in a lot of things (laughing)
There’s still a long time until next winter. What’s your plans?
It is really difficult to plan anything these days. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. I am trying to catch up with things I did not have time to do. We’re working on the house; I cook a lot J and train as much as it is possible with the restrictions.