Well I successfully partook in my first ever World Champs race yesterday here in Voss, Norway!
We had a lot more time on the course the days leading up to Finals compared to every other race we’ve had this year which was a pleasant surprise. The wether was spectacular all week, another first for this season. I actually stopped taking my vitamin D pills for a few days.
I qualified in 14th, a position I was not happy with in the slightest. I had a poor start which didn’t help and did not absorb the jumps on the track as well as I was in training. Longer airtime and opening up of my upper body slowed me down.
Thirty two girls qualified here though so I had the green bib in my first round, the second lane choice. At the Olympics and World Champs, 32 girls move on to Finals compared to 16 in most of the World Cups on the circuit.
I pulled a fast start in my first round and skied well following Katrin from Switzerland down the whole track. I was pumped I had moved on to the Quarter Finals of the World Champs!
The track in Voss was fast with no long straight sections so passing zones were next to non existent unless carnage was taking place. Carnage, meaning either skiers made mistakes and crashed or poorly judged passes were made resulting in crashes. A few successful ones were seen.
The start feature itself was uneven so skiers in the far right lanes sure had their work cut out for them to get out front by the first turn. This did not happen when the skiers in the left lanes had fast starts themselves.
I unfortunately had the last lane choice in my second heat. I got pinched off at the first turn ending up in 4th from the start. I skied well trailing close behind the three girls ahead of me even with the Norwegian exfoliant treatment I got with ice chunks obliterating my face from their skis. No passes were made though
Kels took a spill in training and unfortunately didnt get the chance to race. Mar quali’d fast, had fast starts and skied her little but off into 2nd!
Some courses have blatant differences from lane to lane out of the start. You don’t want to get stuck in a lane that makes your job that much harder to come in 1st or 2nd. Quali fast and you avoid this. Lessons learned.
We are flying to Sweden tomorrow for a double header event in Are!
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!
Inspecting w Kels and coach Willy
Run in to the finish jump! Was HUGE! And awesome
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!
Well after traveling halfway around the globe, we’ve arrived to the home of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
I’d fill up an entire blog post if I wrote about our travel day(s) here, so let’s not We arrive in Sochi at 4am arrival local time!
“Cee Oh Four Backwards En” in this photo means Sochi in Russian!
The town of Rosa Kuhtor where most (if not all) of the snowy event are being held.
Kels and I walking to the Ski Room
My name is Russian is dope. The picture….is not
Terese, our physio here with us, and I had to take a drive 10 minutes or so down the road to x rays on my hand. The construction going on and unfinished projects actually blew my mind
Hello kitty welcoming us at the Hospital
The weather hear so far has been worse than a bad wet day at Grouse or Seymour. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping to get training underway that should have started today! I’m bib number ten!
I won’t say much here as I am currently a one hand typing bandit.
Our last stop in Germany I qualified my best quali so far this year in 3rd! The weather was very west coast. I felt right at at home; foggy and soft snow.
I moved on in the first round. I was winning the run by a long shot till the bottom where I almost bailed hard off a jump but used my (oh so fitting) German genes (we were in Germany…) aka my super strong quads to come up with a wicked recovery. I was cruisin in the powder trying to get back into the track as one girl passed me. I some how got my speed back and held on to second position to advance to the semi’s. I skied my best heats racing of the season in the semi’s, winning the run comfortably to advance to the finals.
In the start area right before the finals I wasn’t breathing properly to be able to control my heart rate, which was getting higher and higher with adrenalin sprinting through me. I was also highly depleted in glucose levels. These factors contributed to me not connecting my mind to my body and I therefor skied like a banchie with it’s head cut off in the heat; I was not smart, safe or fast. I fell off the last jump trying to draft the two girls in front of me bailing through the finish in a crumpled mess, coming in 4th.
This result was bitter sweet. I handed a medal away, yet earned my second best result of the year.
I learn every day in this sport. Last Sunday was no exception. I am taking what I learned from the last race, pumped that I know I am skiing well, and moving on with a broken hand to Sochi. I and ready for the next 6 weeks on the road in Europe. We have a LOT of racing ahead of us.
Here is my semi’s heat from the Race in Germany last week. I am in the second heat in the video, in the far right lane (red bib) looking up at the start, skiers far left.
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