Monday, March 19, 2012

World Cup Finals

After we got back from Are, Sweden, Mitch, Jenny and I headed to the Stanglwirt Hotel near Kitzbuhel!

It is an amazing hotel with a relaxing spa, great food and big rooms!


As Mitch would say, "There's nothing like home, but there's the Stanglwirt." This was our 7 course menu for our last night.


After our relaxing days we headed to Schladming, Austria for World Cup finals! This was the view from our hotel.

My goal this year was to make it to finals and it felt good to achieve my goal! The days leading up to our race were a bit hectic, we did quite a bit of filming about a day in the life of Mitch and I.

All of us were racing for Nik, and will continue to race for Nik. Having this on my poles not only reminds me of Nik, but it reminds me to take a second, breathe and embrace my surroundings. I'm upset that I didn't get to make it to the bottom with this written on my pole guards, but there are many races to come!


Mitch and I trained for a few days in Reiteralm leading up to the race. The days were warm and beautiful! I love this time of the season!

Our week was packed full. We went to the Milka party, played tennis, trained, napped for 2 hours a day and had a great dinner with Rossignol! I tested out my new hairstyle.


Unfortunately, our team couldn't race the team event on Friday. The speed guys had to fly home right after their last race in order to make it to Nationals in time. Mitch, Mike Janyk and I tried to race with 3 racers instead of 4, but they wouldn't allow us to race one man short. Instead we organized to have lunch in our meeting room, so that we could eat and cheer on the other teams. Austria ended up winning the team event, Nolan Kasper definitely had the best finish moves and it was heartbreaking watching Resi fall. We're praying for her speedy recovery!
 

On the day of the race I felt ready. Training had been quite good and I was excited to race again and have another shot at it. I was a little tired going into the race, but nothing that I couldn't deal with. I pushed out of the start and tried to get into the rhythm right away, but then the next thing I knew I was on the ground. I fell VERY early in my run. Some say that I booted out, some say that I hit some weird snow, but all in all I should have been over my skis more, cared less and stood up. I was very disappointed in my race, especially because my parents and Clay flew the whole way there to watch 3 gates.
However, Mitch ended the year with a 6th place! It was exciting cheering for her!
Right after I fell I was asked to do an interview. It was hard to pull myself into a better position to answer all of the questions.

However, finals was a lot of fun! After the race I did an interview for Eurosport Poland and then had lunch with my family.
The next day I was able to get them closer to the finish line to watch the men's slalom and women's gs. 

Woooo

The hill doesn't look as steep in this picture, but it is... I swear.

There were many spectators! Some said 40,000.

The race hill is lit up at night. Always a reminder of what is coming for the next day! 

Here's to a good World Cup season.

And to Nolan for amazing moves in the finish. In the slalom he threw up his glove and pretending to shoot it with his pole. Inventive! 


This morning Mitch and I started our journey to Quebec for the Nationals! We woke up at 3:45am and packed the van at 4am. Between the two of us we filled up the van with 11 checked bags, 4 carry ons and of course Mitch's trophy! Mitch's lap was a comfy way to ride to the airport.

Now I am sitting in the lounge, and it is 11pm our time. This has been a long day! I can't wait to shower and sleep horizontally!
Nationals here we come. We are missing the downhill, but the super G is on Thursday! Let the racing begin and the season come to an end!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

World Cup Win Candid Edition

This week has been filled with so many highs and lows. I can't believe that just a week ago my dreams came true and I won my first World Cup. I have a few leftover candid shots and videos that I will share with you.
This is one of my favourite pictures from last weekend. I'm not entirely sure what we are looking/screaming at, but our similar reactions are funny!

A video of the podium that Mitch took!


This is the startlist that Hugues wrote "Go for the win" on the top of!

Another video from Mitch! Yay Teammates!


My Dad made me a few photocards at the beginning of the year to hand out to kids! Thanks Dad!


Our coaches are the best! 

When I was in the finish for awards, I saw Hugues come flying down towards me and he barely stopped before giving me a hug! It was one of the best hugs of my life and I think we were both still shaking!  

When I finally got in touch with my parents I found out what they were doing that morning! My Mom and Kevin watched the race together and their screaming made the new puppy go crazy! Later my mom had to race in the Club Championships. She missed her start by about 50 numbers! 
My dad was sitting in his apartment in front of live-timing, waiting for the screen to refresh. I can't wait to see them!

There are a couple other noteworthy things about last weekend. At the beginning of the year a few bets were made with the coaches if one of us podiumed at a World Cup:
1) Jay would give that person his 1998 Durango in Calgary to use when we are there- rent free!
2) J.S. will allow us to do whatever we want with his hair for the nationals. 
3) Tim will quit snusing.

WELL... now these bets have to be doubly made! JS... We are coming for your hair!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Highs and Lows: Rest in Peace Nik and Congratulations Mitch

*Many of these pictures come from other sources including Anna Goodman, Marie-Michelle Gagnon, MP Prefontaine and Alpine Canada.

First of all, I would like to start out by saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to Nik and his family and friends. Like Mike Janyk today, we will be racing for you. You will be missed dearly and forever in our hearts.

On Sunday, Canada lost a great man who was a role model for many as he followed his dreams and did what he loved to do. Nik was a genuinely nice guy who inspired many people in Collingwood and abroad. 
---Rest in Peace and God Bless---

Also on Sunday, Canada was filled with pride as Mitch stood on a step of the podiumed for the first time in her career!!

Yesterday, in Are, Sweden, 

(My view from the bike!)

 Mitch PODIUMED for her first time!! We made a joke that I had broken the ice... but it was NO JOKE!

Yay Mitch! WOOOO!!! Ahh!!! AMAZING!!

Yesterday, while Mitch was rocking, my day ended early. I had good training leading up to the race. I was feeling good and wanted to solidify my race gear. I pushed out of the start and everything faded away. I felt the love of skiing and simply skied. At the first interval, I was 3rd. However, just under half-way down the course I straddled. I was off my just a hair, a fraction of an inch, and that is all that it takes sometimes in slalom. My ski went around the wrong side of the gate.
However, I feel positive going into finals. I know that straddles happen and I am happy that I was skiing well before-hand, however of course I am disappointed. 
 
After the race we drove to Norway for our flight the next day. However, the snow storm had hit in full strength! Hugues was trusting his inspection of the road to trust that it still went straight!

I guess they call some goals dreams b/c when they eventually happen you have to continue to remind yourself that you aren't dreaming. (My first bib draw)

Photo: Anna Goodman

Monday, March 5, 2012

World Cup Win!

Yesterday was the best day of my life. It all started at 5:45am when I woke up to get ready for the race. I packed my bag with every piece of rain gear I had and we headed to the hill. That is when my day of surprises began. We arrived at the hill and it turned out to be a sunny day.
As a team we put Sarah Burke stickers on our helmets, and had Sarah in our hearts all day.
photo cred: Anna Goodman
  I warmed up, inspected and prepared to race. I felt a little bit of pressure because I really wanted to solidify my spot at World Cup finals (top 25), so that my parents could come to Europe and watch me race.  One time Mitch's mom told me that if you are ever feeling overwhelmed, you should trust what you have and leave the rest up to someone else, for me that has always been God. I said a little prayer for strength and that if this was a way to get me used to pressure then I would take it.
I stood in the start wearing bib number 24, and I knew that I had to ski just like I do in training. I couldn't force my aggression, I just had to ski.

 (photos: alpinecanada.org)
 

I ended up coming down into 5th! This was another first for me. I have never come down into fifth after the first, or in that case any run in a World Cup race. Immediately, I threw my arms in the air and screamed.

      A lot of people have asked me about the pressure I felt going into second run. I think, I still felt more pressure to make finals. Even before the day began I decided to take each run as a single race, a run in itself. For each run, it was just me and the course.
     I fought with my nerves a bit especially when I saw the line up for girls starting before me Tanja Poutiainen, followed by Marlies Schild, followed by Maria Höfl Riesch and then it was me. I think Jenny knew that I needed to make a dumb joke about it to get over my nerves.
       I heard them announce who were the top three leaders just as I was about to push out of the start. I pushed out, skied two gates and the third one hit me in the helmet. I struggled a bit with the rhythm after this. I lost about 6thenths in total by the last interval and was plus about 0.4. However, I knew the part of the course where I could really go for it, and I took that opportunity. I crossed the finish line, looked a the board and saw a green light! I managed to come into the lead by 0.05, 5 hundredths of a second.
 (photos: alpinecanada.org) 


Then it hit me. The worst I could do was fifth!

Woooo!!!

When I arrived in the leader box I was lucky enough to stand beside Resi Stiegler and Marlies Schild. As the last four races came down, I couldn't believe it when my name remained at the top of the leader board. Each person came down and Mielzynski remained at the top of the board. Resi and I couldn't contain our excitement and happiness!
These videos show how we felt quite well.
1)

 
2)   http://watch.ctv.ca/news/top-picks/skiing-to-gold/#clip631380

I can't remember not having the dream of winning a World Cup race and yesterday... MY DREAM CAME TRUE!! I won!
 (photos: alpinecanada.org) 



I was able to stand at the top of the podium and hear our Canadian anthem play and our flag was raised. This has not happened in a slalom race, for men or women since 1971 when Betsy Clifford won.
(photo from http://www.lessignets.com/signetsdiane/calendrier/fev/16.htm)

I looked at my teammates standing in front of me and saw the happiness and emotions cross their face. It was such an amazing moment for me, I had to shut my eyes for a moment and take it all in.
(photos: alpinecanada.org) 


In all my life, I have never experienced that feeling. I was trying to hold in my emotions and my coach Hugues came racing down to me in the finish and he was shaking just as hard as I was.
This one is blurry, but everyone is in it!

I have the best team in the World! Honestly, this is a success story that can be shared as a team. We have all worked hard and made changes together. They are my family on the road and I couldn't have done it without them! 
(photo: Anna Goodman)

These girls made my day amazing and they were with me every step of the way. Yesterday, we joked around saying that after 40 years I broke the ice, but now the ice is broken. Any one of us can do this again, so there will be more to come! 

Anna came 2nd the second run placing 17th overall and Mitch placed 5th overall!

I shared the podium with two amazing ladies. Resi Stiegler came podiumed for the first time yesterday after many years of injuried and struggles. Her happiness beside me the whole day was more than I could have asked for. 
(photo: Michael Bauer)

Most people know Marlies Schild because she has won nearly every slalom race this year. Marlies was amazing yesterday. She showed us what to do, where to stand and who to talk to. And even after we proved ourselves to be rookies she complimented each of us with a smile on her face.

The rest of the day was filled with quite a few interviews, so I was able to work on my media skills! 
(photos: Michael Bauer)


On Saturday night Hugues doodled on his start list "Go for the Win". On Sunday, he pulled out this piece of paper, reminding me what he had written. A couple of days before the race I had joked around that I would skip a top ten a podium, never believing that it would happen so soon. It was Jim's mom's 85th birthday. It was Hugues anniversary. Kevin was staying at my house in Collingwood with my family to train... On Sunday I incredible things happened and I won a World Cup! 

Here are some pictures from the paper at home!


Here is a longer video of the second run including our reactions:


Thank you everyone for everything! You have all been incredibly supportive and loving. You made this day magically beyond belief.

*More candid pictures and videos to come!