Part 2 of Sochi

Canada had a great day yesterday! We got three out of the 6 medals!

The weather FINALLY cooperated with us holding out till our last day possible. Many teams had to leave directly after the race and rush to the airports, while others had chartered flights waiting for them…

We had an inspection, one training run, quali’s for both men and women followed by two sets of 4 rounds of heats with 64 athletes. The exhaustion was showing on all our faces in the early evening as some of us were attempting to have some celebratory drinks. We were all drifting to bed by the minute. Bed. Where we had one hr of sleep before hopping on our bus to start our travel day back to Germany and onward to the Czech Republic for our next race. We are delirious.

This course was the most intimidating for me. The features were very large and some of them were extremely kicky. Because of this my confidence was not as high as it was for example in the races I have skied fast in this season.

All three of our training runs were completely different: two the day before we raced in the snow and fog and one yesterday the morning we raced in clear skies and much faster snow. Because of the difference in weather and snow conditions, the speeds changed forcing us to be on our toes with our thinking caps on the entire way down the track, every run. We were having to double rollers where we were singling them the day before, standing up tall before jumps to dump a little speed to not overshoot the landings when we were hitting the landings easily the day before.

My focus this race was to obviously ski fast and move on in a couple heats (even more so it was essentially to not scare my coaches and myself flying off jumps leaning back and possibly crashing). This course was ready to give me that challenge, but I kept my focus the whole week and overcame some mental obstacles that were inevitably going to have to be faced.

I started my morning off well, qualifying in 9th, skiing better than I had in my training run earlier in the a.m. I skied well in my first heat as well. I had no choice but to practice being extremely patient as I was a close second out of the gate following Marte from Norway down the entire track until the bottom big finish jump. She was speed checking before most of the features from top to bottom, so with being in her draft as well as her speed checking I had to make sure I didn’t get too close to her over jumps and land on her or her tails of her skis and catch an edge myself. Skiing right behind someone in their draft, the trick is not have a yo yo effect. Although the toy is a great invention its physical functions are not compatible with Ski Cross. You must keep cool and calm without yo yo ing behind someone (and potentially crashing into them or loosing their draft entirely) by opening up your body position or making yourself more compact when necessary. Off the final jump though in my first heat the Norwegian speed checked again, looked left right behind her shoulder, and I was right there. I didn’t speed check, said “thank you very much” to myself and flew off the jump to win my heat! Unfortunately for the Norge I had a German hot on my tails and as I flew off the finish jump passing Marte, the German, Heidi, did as well catching her just at the line to move on to the next round!

In my second round I was with Kathrin from Austria and Offie from France and Heidi. With my splint on my hand my initial pull out of the gate (or so I thought) was not that strong, so I was anticipating expecting to not be the fastest in my second heat out of the start gate. BUT I WAS! It surprised me actually. I was neck and neck with Kathrin, who passed me through the first turn. Then Offie in the third turn completely cut my off (it was a clean, smart move by the veteran) so I had to slam on the breaks to make the gate before the wedge step down. So now I’m in third… I was right behind the two girls leading for the next section of the course which included TONS of airtime: a big wedge step down, another step down, then a huge step up. I was solid in the air the whole way, getting in their draft and then absolutely SENT it in the air off the step up, totally missing the tranny (transition, aka the down slope on a jump where you WANT to land in order to keep your speed going forward and down) landing in the compression which killed all my speed right before a uphill table top feature getting passed yet again… Since my speeds from then on were much lower than the three girls ahead of my, we stayed positions to the finish line, finishing me in 13th place for the day.

The positive thing that I am taking from this race though is that every single time I skied the course my confidence, aerodynamics, balance off take offs and landing of features got better and better. I became more confident and compact. I had traffic right in front of me in both heats and I kept cool.

As I said, my confidence wasn’t super high going into the finals today but I am proud of myself for getting better and better every run, including my heats, making a pass, and taking this into the next race.

Kels skied like a champ and came up with the big W. Mar skied well all day in the finals as well coming in second!

The unfinished Athletes Village where no athlete has stayed at for any Olympic TEST event in the last two years in Sochi… Hope they get it right the first time!

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Inspecting w Kels and coach Willy

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Take off

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Landing

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Run in to the finish jump! Was HUGE! And awesome

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We have arrived to Munich now after one hr of sleep last night before starting our travel day here at 1 am Russian time. A sketchy bus ride, two plane rides, loading and unloading of many many ski bags and duffle bags later we were able to pass out and sleep and rest all day. Our bodies need to be taken care of.

We load up everything tomorrow morning and drive 7 hrs to Czech Republic to our next stop!

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