Anchorage’s Sadie Bjornsen and Holly Brooks finished 18th and 35th respectively in the Women’s 10k Classic cross-country race at the Sochi Winter Olympics Thursday.

For Bjornsen, the finish was the highest of any American in the race.

The 10k was the race Bjornsen had been looking forward to most.

"I gave it all I could today. Today was a really tough day,” Bjornsen said. “Super soft, super warm, maybe like racing in the summer time but I had tons of fun and the person who won today really deserved it.”

For Brooks it was a different scenario. She didn't come to Sochi expecting to compete in the 10k Classic, but when teammate Liz Stephen decided to opt out of the race in favor of focusing on Saturday's 4x5 relay, Holly put on that big bright smile and got ready to race.  

"She wanted to save a little bit of energy for the relay coming up, so I was kind of a last-minute addition and was really happy to get an Olympic start,” Brooks said. “10k Classic is not necessarily my forte but I was really happy to get the opportunity and it's always fun to have another Olympic race."

Sochi’s natural elements played a pivotal role in Thursday’s race. The temperatures were in the low 60s even at the top of the mountain. US teammate Sophie Caldwell (32nd) skied in short sleeves.

Weather reports forecast the high temperatures to continue with only a slight drop on Sunday.  If the projections hold true that means a warm race Saturday when the US Women go looking for a medal in the 4x5 relay.