Sunday, January 24, 2010

Car Train to... elsewhere

Hey!
The other night we raced a Europa Cup slalom. I came 21st after first run. It was a pretty straight course, which seems to be the theme of our season. The next run I came 3rd and ended up 10th, which is a step up from last year. (I remember shedding a tear or two).
Yesterday was the FIS slalom. I came 10th first run (which wasn't an amazing run). I tried to just go all out my second run. I made a decent mistake, had trouble getting back into it, then fell. But that is slalom for you.
Today we are traveling Crans Montanta, Switzerland. We are driving to a car train, and then taking the car train through the mountains.
PS.... I changed the setting for my comments and now it is open to everyone (aka you can comment if you want now)... sorry!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

TiK ToK on the clock


Hey everyone!

Since I have last written, we trained a few days in Reiteralm, then headed from the hill to Maribor, Slovenia for the last slalom WC race of the year (other than World Cup finals). Eve, Britt and I all had the opportunity to race and it was nice having the three of us there. We free skied gs on the race hill the first day, trained slalom after the GS race, then it was time to race.

The new points list came out a few days before the race, so my bib number improved to 56. The hill at Maribor is very flat at the top and then a bit of a pitch. All in all, a fairly boring hill. However, the course that was set was extremely tight an turny.

It was pretty dark the morning of the race, and shortly after the start it began snowing like crazy! It almost looked like a night race because all the lights were on (but the visibility was worse). But, it was slalom and these things have a much smaller effect if any.

When my time came, I was ready to “throw down”. My head was in the game and I was ready to go for it. However, my body didn’t feel the need to follow my mind. My run was a bit better than Flachau since my head was in the game, however my run was again, fairly disappointing. It was an amazing experience, and every race, World Cup or not feels like it is just one step closer to figuring everything out. To finding that moment when everything makes sense and clicks.

The view and the snow clinging to the trees.

We enjoyed the complementary lunch, which is extremely different than any lunch for racers you would see in Canada. Pizza breads, chicken wings, pasta, etc. Then we headed outside to cheer on Mitch and Brigitte. It was exciting watching the second run and hearing Slovenia cheering for their athletes. I hope the Olympic support for Canadians is 100 times as strong. Skiing and especially slalom is so exciting to watch because anything can happen. People can win that were never expected to move up placings at all. We ended the day hearing that Brigitte finished 22nd on the World Cup rankings and made it to the World Cup Finals in Slalom, with Anna who is injured right now and couldn’t do the last few races finishing 24th.

Even though we didn’t get to see much of it, the town is actually very interesting. There are tunnels that run underneath it where people used to hide in times of war. However, now they are used for fermenting wine. There are kilometers of tunnels extended beneath the city with (as I understand it) wine tasting, buying, bands, etc.

After the race we headed back to Kirchberg for a much needed day off. We raced GS in Marie Alm, Austria, the next two days. The first day actually went pretty well considering the somewhat soft snow, flat hill (not my specialty), and deep field. I made a mistake my second run which cost me some spots, but I made the mistake doing what I have been trying to do for a while, so I am okay with that. We went for pizza that night. And I cannot explain how much I love pizza in Europe. The thin crust, big portions and amazing taste! The second day of GS did not go very well. The courses were fairly straight and the times were very tight. It was another day at the office and I am still looking forward to our next GS races.

That brings us to today. Today we trained 4 runs of slalom, on the Gais(ice)berg, which has really livened up after being injected. It was fun training and I am excited to try some things out come race day. Right now we are driving to Melchsee-Frut, Switzerland for two night slaloms, one Europa Cup followed by one FIS race. We came here last year for my first night slaloms. We just crossed the border and the only and Tim gave was “Canada Schi Team” and the man waved us through, no passports. That would NEVER happen in North America… so many little things are different here. Including the AMAZING Milka chocolate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kaiserschmarrn definition: rocks one's world



After a long flight on very small seats (Swiss Air), we flew into Munich and drove to Kirchberg, Austria. Our first day we had a day off and pumped some iron. I now look like Popeye... minus the spinach (I don't think I have ever seen it served in Austria).
Our European Ski Room!Insulation... (08)
We then trained two days on the Gaisberg (meaning Goat's Hill (or something of the sort), but I renamed it ice berg last year. The first day we trained GS, then slalom. GS was a bit rough... it was the first day in a while. But it got a bit better and slalom was a lot of fun! That night Eve and I heard that we would get to race the night world cup slalom in Flachau, Austria. The next day we trained some slalom, which was amazingly fun again, packed up and drove to Flachau... taking the scenic route. We free skied on the race hill that night.The next day was race day. We got to sleep in and have a relaxing morning. We did a bit of an activation workout and headed out at 2:30. We did some warm up runs and then went up for inspection.

At the top for inspection...


After inspection, I had to wait inside the smoky (Euro cigs) lodge for a little while.
The race started at 5:30pm once it got significantly darker.
I started 71st, so I had a while to wait until I went. There was a tv in the lodge and we watched the race live. It was weird watching a world cup race live, when you still have to go down the exact same course a little later. We joked that there wasn't much need for inspection. The snow was in surprisingly amazing condition at 71. It had been injected, so there were no ruts, just a few groves. However, I did like the snow better in Aspen. It was icier and not as aggressive, and for me that is important.
Although the race was a lot of fun, I was pretty disappointed with my performance. I had been having a lot of fun training, just skiing. Seeing how far I could push myself, my line and my speed and still be able to pull it off. I didn't race like I have been training, at all. I went back to my old habits, which are not fast. (I think I finished around 50th.)
After first run, we showed security our passes and went to watch Brigitte.
Security checking tickets.
All in all, it was a fun night and definitely helped change my view of night slaloms. They seem like much more fun now and the ambiance is incredible.
Here are a few more picture...
Eve and I at the finish. Kate Ryley and Maddy Irwin were at the finish to great us. And Breanne Law and Sven came for second run.
The crowd watching the race is huge in Europe. It is crazy. When you walk into stores they actually show skiing on tv and newsfeed on the radio! But I have to say that Aspen was nice having friendly faces around!
The cats lined up down the hill for the whole night because they didn't have enough lights to light up the top where we freeskied down to the course.

Tomorrow we train slalom at Reiteralm, and then we leave right from the hill to Maribor (sp?) for one more World Cup slalom race on Sunday!

PS- Kaiserschmarrn is a traditional dessert here.... and it is incredible to say the least. "Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter with flour, eggs, sugar, salt and milk, baked in butter. " And served with apple sauce or a fruity sauce. Aka a taste of heaven!




Thursday, January 7, 2010

Foyer= My French is Improving

On the 28th, I hit the road again. Traveling light with my 4 bags. We drove to Val St. Come, Qc once we landed... aka we reached the middle of nowhere and drove an hour north. There was hardly and cell service and $20 for internet... no thank you. We all had our own methods of trying to get internet. Tim made a little pouch at the top of the window (falling off a chair in the process of making a call on speakerphone), Eve (accent grave on the E) taped hers right to the window, Steph and I just stood on the window sill. We trained a few days on the race hill and had New Years day off.
New Years Eve was CRAZY.... not. We played some cards, ate some cupcakes, drank a little wine.... and that's about it. There isn't much else to do an hour North of the middle of nowhere.
Tim set the first course, fairly turny and a lot of fun. I was in the lead after the first run. However, the second run was the straightest course I have ever seen (Set by the Americans). Rumour has it that parts had to be reset because they were over the maximum distance between the gates. Anyways, I ended up second for the day after a disappointing second run. But I scored! which is good. Working my way.. slowly. The next day, the first course was again incredibly straight, but second run was nicer again. I didn't just "throw down" and it showed in my results.
We left Val St Come and headed to Mount St. Anne. We tried to train on the North side, but the snow was too soft. We tried to free ski on the race hill, but the snow was horrible! We didn't know how they were going to prep the run so that it would be safe to run a race.... Well it is two days later now.. and we didn't race any gs. The snow didn't set up and the call was made for safety reasons. We hope the races will be made up during Nor Am finals.
We packed up (which we seem to be doing more of than skiing); trying to figure out which skis go where for the cargo and headed to Montreal for the night. Now we are waiting in the lounge for our flight to Europe. We will train at our "home base" (Kirchberg) for about a week, then... it begins; moving to a new place every 2 nights and racing constantly.
My next blogs should be more exciting, hopefully with pictures and the works.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CHRISTMAS!

I arrived in Tremblant in time to see Kevin's first run, and surprise him! For 4 days I got to be a bystander. I could wear as many warm clothes as I wanted to and keep them on all day. It was fun watching a race on the hill and not being part of it. However, Tremblant was FREEZING! I was so sick of the cold once I got there that I just wanted to sit in front of the fire and drink hot chocolate. But I loved all of the little stores and... warm treats!
On the 23rd, we decided to finish our Christmas Shopping at the Eaton's centre with Charlie. We left... fairly annoyed with people walking into us and a very large box from William Senoma. We made a delicious (very large quantity of mushroom soup) and a Drury steak. I have to call it that because the steaks are better than anything! Kevin left for Whistler on the 24th to "shred the knar", eat oysters and sit by the fire!
On the 24th my dad and I hit the gym! He kept me company doing some physio for his knee. We met up with Jenna and headed to the Mielzynski family dinner of pierogies and fish (no meat on Christmas Eve on my dad's side of the family). Christmas morning we all got up early and watched a movie, eating crab legs and a fabulous breakfast. My mom made Christmas dinner at our new house for my grandparents, while my sister and I tried our hand at making Pumpkin Pie! Dinner was amazing! And the stuffing... was better than words!!!
I had two more days at home, which I spent doing laundry, cooking and relaxing. I got to spend some time with my family and my mom's boyfriend, Chris, who we don't get to see very often.
And I set up my new Kindle (ie ebook) that Kevin gave me. My new best friend on the road!
On the 28th, I left for Quebec to start the long leg of our season. So long big comfy bed, hello one hotel room after the other. I think I counted that I was in about 11 different hotel rooms between November 10th and Christmas..... On the road again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Long Overdue

This will be a LONG, way overdue update that I will probably have to write in segments because I am really bad at this!
Okay... before when I left off we were heading to Panorama. We spent a few days at Pano training, and by training I mean going in to warm up after each run. It was so cold!
After Pano, we headed to Lake Louise for the first Super G of the year, or my year at least. As nervous as I was to start speed again, I had fun. That is not saying that I went super fast, I just skied safe and had a good time. (Happy mom?)
After the super g, we headed back to Pano for 5 Nor Ams. First, were the two slalom races. The first day our team swept the first 4 spots. I came third. The next day I was in second after first run and then fell three gates from the bottom. It was a pretty disappointing day, but I was skiing better my second run, so I have to look towards the positives.
The gs races were the next two days. When we woke up on the morning of he first gs, we were surprised to see snow on the ground. The race was interesting because the course continued to get faster, the more people that ran on it. Within those two days, we had a mixture of fairly turny courses and also one of (if not) the straightest courses I have ever skied. I guess it was good that I did some super g to get prepared for it. The gs races were fairly difficult for me because of the soft snow and the flat hill. I was looking forward to having fun doing the super g and then going home for Christmas.
The super combined was a lot of fun. The super g was a little bit better than Lake Louise and I had a lot more fun, which is all I was asking for. I think I may have even scored! The slalom portion was a lot of fun. No pressure, no worries, just go as hard as I can! It was a pretty short course, which is characteristic of a slalom in a super combined. I won the slalom portion, which moved me up a little bit closer in the super combined portion.
After the super combined, I was ready to go home! I was missing my family and friends and my own bed. I decided to take the red eye to Montreal (to visit Kevin) the night after the super g. So we packed everything up and headed to the airport for CHRISTMAS BREAK!!