Thursday, January 23, 2014

15 Days!

It’s been an exciting week. Our Olympic Team was officially named, I had a good race in Poland on the weekend, we travelled to SeiserAlm for our pre-Olympic camp, I traded maple syrup to get my laundry done, and the amount of support brewing in my hometown has filled me up with energy!
Following Kikkanimal in our quarterfinal heat in Poland. Photo thanks to Nordic Focus.

Now almost the entire Olympic Team is here high in the Italian Dolomites putting the final touches on our shape before we head to Sochi. It is certainly one of my favourite places in the world to ski. I find myself losing my balance a lot more frequently than usual because I have a hard time staying focused on the ski trail. My eyes are constantly wandering, taking in the views of the impressive walls and spires that surround us.
Best skate ski yet this year, following Em Nish up the hill.
  I’m really excited to be a part of this team heading into Sochi, I can’t wait to share this experience with my teammates, and all of our dedicated staff who have worked their tails off for us in the last four years.
I also am now sporting the Mississippi Mills logo on my racing suit, and training jackets. I think I was supposed to wait for the fundraising campaign in Almonte to be over, but I couldn’t. I come from the best community I could ever ask for. It seems like every day I wake up to an encouraging note from someone at home. If I could give the whole town a hug I would, but for now I’m thousands of kilometres away, but feeling the love as if I were walking right down main street to Baker Bob’s.  Every time I put on a piece of training gear I am reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to come from such a great community. So thank you kindly to everyone, especially Jane Torrance, I can’t wait to come home in the Spring and share my Sochi experience with you all!
Joel and I and a very blue sky! Notice the Mississippi Mills logo keeping my right bicep warm!
As I continue to train up here in paradise for another week, I'm getting ready to tune into the action down in Val di Fiemme at the World Jr and U23 Championships. We've got a solid crew of Nakkertok athletes over here racing in the coming weeks. I'm so proud of our club we have come a long way in the last ten years, although we will be racing in the Canada colours, we started out in green and yellow! The coach there these days must be doing something right ;)
I'm wishing everyone at Easterns coming up good luck, I'm sure it will be a fun filled weekend. Be sure to stop by the SchoolBOX coffee stand and buy a few cups of coffee because first of all its awesome coffee from Equator in Almonte, and second of all it supports our Skiers4SchoolBOX initiative!
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 13, 2014

Trying to be Patient

Racing in Lenzerheide, during the Tour de Ski. Photo credit: Nordic Focus

This season has been a lesson in patience thus far. I’m not going to lie at times it’s been extremely trying, but I’ve been able to have a slightly new perspective on things, and develop an appreciation for the smaller steps and signs that things are coming along.

It started in November when the coaches and I decided to delay my departure to Europe. Initially I was planning on coming over at the beginning of December, having a week of solid training and adjusting before racing in Davos. That got canned, and instead I spent a few more weeks in Canmore, and at Mount Engadine Lodge (which really saved me-see faster skier article here) before hopping on a plane a few days before the World Cup in Asiago, Italy. Initially the thought of delaying my start to the season was like driving a dagger into my stomach. As a ski racer, really the only thing I want to do come winter is be on that start line with the rest of my competitors. I went over things in my head probably much more than was necessary, and eventually came to an agreement with myself that this plan would be better. After all, my goals for the year aren’t focused on the December World Cups, or even the January ones, they are the Olympics in February. So, I settled in and got to spend a few more weeks at home. Once I got over the fact that I was at home and my teammates were racing I settled into the Canmore life, focused on executing everything at the highest quality, and checking my phone at ungodly hours to see how my teammates were faring. It’s rare that I’m in Canmore for more than a few weeks at a time, so I really was able to enjoy my home, knowing that this was what was going to make me strongest in February.

The next test came when I arrived in Asiago for the classic sprint weekend. Back in the summer this weekend had been highlighted on my calendar. It was pretty much a dream come true- classic sprint and classic team sprint? Yes please! I knew coming fresh off the plane was a risk, but it was worth a shot. I skied terribly Saturday, and only slightly better on Sunday. It was probably partly the nerves of having a less than ideal fall training period, coupled with travelling a few days before. A good first step, but not quite what I was hoping for.

Luckily I had an awesome support team come over for Asiago, and over Christmas, so there was no time to let the hamster in my head run a marathon on his wheel. My family came over and we spent Chrismas in Davos, skiing, and playing catan, and just generally enjoying each others company. This happens far less often than I would like, as we live on opposite ends of the country, I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift than having them join me.
Kieran got put to work for the weekend in Asiago too- and he thought he was taking a vacation from coaching!...

Family Ski in Davos!
After a quick Christmas, we boarded the CCC Tour Bus made possible by so many people in Canada, and headed to Oberhof for the beginning of the Tour de Ski, which was rapidly changing format as the weather was not cooperating. I was only planning on doing the first 3 stages of the tour, so I did the prologue, and what turned out to be two skate sprints. Each race I came away with some positive steps. Though small I was able to gain confidence knowing that things are coming along.
Last week was spent in Seefeld, Austria. The first few days were with my parents, and then with Eric preparing for the next races. Though it’s been challenging at times it’s been incredibly inspiring to watch my teammates in the last few weeks. No one had a good start to the season, and now things are turning around. Things can change fast in this business, and from the start we have all been doing everything we can to make sure we are ready to go in February.
Stay Tuned!