Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rewind

Before World Champs I hadn't blogged in a while, so now I will rewind a little bit and fill you in on some of my other races.
My Dad flew out to Europe just for my race at Flachau. 

We raced Flachau a few days after our trip to Egypt, so I felt rested and ready to go. However, I brought the wrong intensity to Flachu. I made a few mistakes near the top and backed off after these mistakes were made. I ended up 10th, which is my 4th best result to date, however I wasn't satisfied. I knew that I backed off, and I knew that there was much more left in the tank. 

After Flachau, we had a few terrific training days in Maria Alm. We trained both slalom and gs and it was nice to get back on my longer skis!
 Mitch and I found our new favourite meal in Europe. Often-kartoffl- which is a baked potato, with sour cream, covered with veggies and chicken. Mmm!


Finally, we headed to Maribor. Leading up to Maribor I struggled a bit with lower back pain. I didn't feel my back in the course, however I raced with foot warmers on my back to keep my back warm and moving.
I was excited to get back into racing, and I felt good in training!


The plus to waking up while it is still dark is that we get to witness the sunrise! 

I have no more pictures from Maribor because I didn't make it very far down the hill. I was a bit slow out of the gate, but I had a plan for the run as a whole. As I crested the break over, I started to feel good. I was in a good place, my skis were biting and I was in a position to really push; and I started to do just that. I finally found that illusive feeling on my skis, that I have in training but have been struggling to find in the races. I had won the section between the first and second intervals, and was currently in 4th place. However, my skis got caught in my switch and I fell. I tried to get up to finish, but I continued falling. 
I am usually quite upset when I don't finish, but that illusive feeling kept me strong. It kept me level headed that day and although I didn't finish, this was the first time that I have ever truly believed in myself. 
After Maribor I headed to Vermont to visit Kevin, do some laundry and feel like a normal person again. 

 We went to see Keane one of the days.

And he was absolutely incredible live!

I finally was able to do my laundry. My final load before heading back to Europe was done in this dungeon...
This looks like a scene from a horror movie!
 This is my sweet ride in Burlington, well actually the towel strapped over the back metal piece is where I sit.


FASTFORWARD!!
Now I am back at home after world champs. It is nice to be home with my family, my animals and all the comforts of home (aka real laundry!). 
And my book shelf! 


I returned home to find this...
A little lion.

He had to get stitches and they decided to shave him down. Now he is a cold baby lion!.... not to mention that we used to think he was fat because of his lustrous hair. 

One night we decided to have a big family dinner! :) I love family dinners. As we were all settling down and talking there was a knock at the door. It was the doping control officers (drug testers). I thought that this might be a joke considering that I had been tested a week ago and this would be the 5th time I was to be tested within 3 months. It was not a joke, however the testers were very nice, so this always helps the process. And I got free cards... euchre anyone?
I was able to ski at Georgian Peaks for a few days, and my grandpa joined us! He is 81 years old and he doesn't just ski, he rips!!

I was able to attend the Peaks auction and hand out awards at the U18 Nationals!

My Air Canada elite card came in the mail! This year I flew 77,000miles, and I have a feeling the coming year will consist of even more flying! 

And I will leave you with this....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World Champs!

I haven't blogged in a while... so I will start with the most recent first, and then move backwards from there. 
Recently, we traveled back to Europe to start our preps for the World Championships in Schaldming, Austria. 
We did most of our prep at the Gaisberg in Kirchberg. We had the hill to ourselves and it was beautiful! 
(Thank you to Pentaphoto, Stef Rizzo and Jenny Delich for some of these photos) 

In the days leading up to the races, I only trained slalom, so for a few of the days it was just Tim and I and a beautiful slalom course! This is now my 5th year working with Tim.

Europe has started to feel a bit like home. I've now learned where the beautiful running trails are, and it's nice to get out of the hotel, off of the bike and explore a little bit.
The men's tech team was also in Kirchberg and we were able to train with them for a few of the days. It is always nice to spend time with these guys whether it is for game nice or kase spatzle. Mitch and I decided to have a "bunpartay", but everyone seemed so distracted by our buns that they forgot where our eyes were.

Eventually our time in Kirchberg came to a close and we started the relatively short road trip to Schladming. We decided to get a few mobile tats.

Mikaela Tommy, aka Kalers, aka Killer, brought these temporary tattoos and we all tried not to scrub too aggressively so that they stayed on for a long time.

We started the week with a press conference for our Canadian training center in Kirchberg and to announce our team for the dual slalom.

This year our team consisted of myself, Mike Janyk, Mitch, Phil Brown and Britt Phelan. I always love competing on a team and working towards a common goal, so I was so excited to race WITH some of the hardest working athletes that I know. 



Mitch and I trained a few runs of dual after training one day to try to get the tempo down and practice starting on demand.

We always try to keep things light before the races... this time by making music videos! 

Phil and I grew up racing together. We've seen each other go through a lot of highs and lows and it was amazing to race on the same team!

On the first round we faced Switzerland. 

We won 3 out of 4 races and moved on to the second round, which is farther than Canada has made it in a long time. Talking about it afterwards, we realized that everyone was pretty happy just to have made it that far. 


On the second round we faced Czech. Again our team pulled through. Phil stood up under the pressure, and we were VERY excited!

To say the least...

Our 3rd round meant that if we won we would be in the race for gold or silver, and if we lost we would be racing for bronze or 4th. After a tough race against Sweden, we lost my a slim margin... but that meant we were still in contention for a medal.

The stakes were high as we raced the German power houses for 3rd. Britt was second against Lena Duerr (the last dual winner) and Mike won his race. I was next to go and I knew that I needed a better start, a good run and calm skiing. I kept saying this to myself, but as I was talking to myself the beeps began and I was incredibly late out of the start... a gate late against Maria Hopfl Reisch. I pushed as hard as I could and eventually pulled ahead a bit, but then I fell inside and just made the next gate and she pulled ahead. I went as straight as I could through the last gates, Maria made a mistake and I was able to take the race by 0.01.

Phil was our last man out of the start. He skied an amazing race and in the end only lost by 0.01. This meant that Canada came 4th. We missed the podium by 0.01... if I had started better or had a better run by 0.03 we could have medaled. We could have stood up there as a nation! However, what if is always a hard thing to swallow and maybe if I had a better start, I would have had a slow run. You just never know. 

After the race I was drug tested for the 3rd time in about a month... now I am pro at drug testing. A couple days later was the women's GS! We cheered on the other girls with our men's team!
Next, it was time for our slalom. My training had been going very well coming into World Champs. I felt confident and I trusted my skiing.
I drew #15 at the bib draw, which is the worst I could have started, however I don't mind starting 15th. It gives me more time at the start.
photo cred: Andy Mielzynski


The venue in Schaldming is out of this world!

However, I did not ski the way that I have been skiing or the way that I wanted to ski. I ski to get the incredibly hard to achieve feeling that all athletes talk about, and on this day, I missed that.

photo cred: Andy Mielzynski


I was disappointed after my first run (17th), but I was prepared to re focus and find that feeling on the second run. I've been working on being faster our of the start to the first interval, and I achieved this, however again... I missed my skiing. In some intervals I was 5th or 7th, but I ended up 17th overall.
(photo cred: Nisse)
I am extremely disappointed about my race at World Champs. Skiing is my life, my love, and my passion, which is why this feeling hits so close to my heart. This feeling is hard to describe to people, and yes I tried my best, but while skiing fills my heart, at times it also gouges out little pieces of it.


However, I will take as many lessons as I can from this day. I have many World Champs left in my career and other races to learn, to adjust and to perfect everything about race day. Sometimes it is not find more to do, but learning to do less more affectively. I know this is only the beginning.
photo cred: Andy Mielzynski

Now I am home resting and preparing for the last few races of the season. I am still getting over a cold that I've had for a little while, so it is time to get healthy and get back to 100%.

However, my travel day didn't help this much. Our flight was 9h delayed due to 10cm of snow in Toronto.

Luckily my travel ended here and my mom's boyfriend's son, Chris, kindly picked me up. However, we ran into a potential problem as well. It was -24.5C outside, and our gas light was on for about 40minutes.

I will blog again soon!