This has been a serious elevator of a beginning to my race season… lots of ups and downs… get it? hah… but really things have been a little all over the place for me, I’ve had my emotions running high and had images in my head of how I thought things should go. Then of course life steps and re-routes me in different paths I had not imagined what-so-ever. This all sounds a little dramatic and I assure you it’s not, but it was my last two months and I’ll try to explain it to you. Here goes,
Summer is over and that signifies an end to the prep period. It’s time to train to race and smooth out all the kinks. At this point I’m separated from my team and get to work in with the big dogs in Colorado for a little more speed oriented training. Skiing is going well, I’m all smiles and putting down fast ones most days. Then here goes my first hiccup. I get a chance to do six races at Copper mtn. I jump at the opportunity and then immediately do horrible… one, two, three, four, five, six, starts… all kind of going from bad to worse. Yeah, not ideal but I shrug them off and pretend they never happened. Denial is always a good way to deal with things right?
Fast forward and I’m at Lake Louise for the WC downhill, in my mind my first “real” race. I’ll tell you, since the pre-season when I thought I had a chance to race in the Winter start I had a plan in my head of how it would go. Right down to how I’m going to ski on race day, the bib I would be starting with, how it would feel to finish well, everything. But come the second training run, I have to beat out a teammate to earn the spot on race day. I didn’t put myself in the driver’s seat nearly enough and come race day I was a spectator. My next stop was the Beaver Creek WC downhill. I can’t describe how amazing the course is, and how excited I was to ski it, how excited I was to race down it, and again the criteria was simple, ski faster than my teammate on the second run and the spot was mine. I skied well mostly, but made a mistake and just like that I’m 0-2 in World Cup qualification. Let me tell you it hurts, a lot. To hold those chances in your hand only to have them slip away with a few missteps on the way down. That’s how she goes though and since not even my physio can fix broken heartilage I’ll have to sack up and get back at it so the next time I get the opportunity I’m ready to take full advantage. The one upside was, I had just had two weeks practicing to race at the highest level so I felt pretty ready to make it rain at the Nor-am speed openers back in Copper.
Turns out making it rain is way easier to say than actually do, especially at the American speed training centre. It was a pretty special beat down in the Downhill’s to put it lightly. The course was a question I didn’t have an answer for. That made it a long week. It also lead to me getting exceptionally pissed off. I guess it was the weeks prior compounding on top of this crappy week that really got me. There was a solid stretch where I didn’t do a lot of smiling and spent some good time starting at my shoes looking for a solution. I was roused from one of my frowny staring matches with my laces though by my coach. He had a pep talk for me. It didn’t get me all fired and ready to bust any heads, but it made me think about a few things, about having fun, and what it takes to do that. The next day things got a little better, and soon I was racing how I wanted to.
Moving on now to the final leg of the journey before the holidays and the New Year, it would take place in Panorama. Panorama is… an armpit, dark all the time. Actually an armpit would be warm at least so I’m not sure what Pano is… regardless they put on a pretty darn good race series. I actually find it one of the most maddening places to race because it’s got a Rubik’s cube for a GS and one heck of a tough Slalom. It’s been good to me in previous years and was good to me again this year, letting me finish the first block on a high note with back to back silvers in the SG’s! My first ever Nor-am podiums. It was the satisfied feeling I had imagined all the way since Lake Louise and carried with me along to Beaver Creek and Copper. Finally I had it and finished the races smiling. Now I’m back home and getting some rest so I can battle in Europe come the New Year.
Happy Holidays, I hope everyone is finding their own kind of deep pow or sandy beaches.
Thanks for checking in,