Ok, so let’s start where I left off...in 2011 ;)
November came with snow and great shwag from my biggest sponsor Track n`Trail. Clothing obviously doesn`t make a racer fast, but it sure feels good when you get that new fresh smelling race suit. For me, it was extremely exciting cause it was the last piece of the puzzle, and signified the start of a new race season unlike any I’d ever done previously.
The season started at the Canmore Nordic Center with an Alberta Cup race weekend. For me, I was more than ready to get the racing underway. It had been almost 2 years since I`d last raced, and I had some major ants in my pants!! The weekend proved to be a great improvement compared to last time I raced. I finished 3rd in the skate sprint. It’s a good day if I`m close to superstar Heidi Widmer in a sprint, so I was happy. The second race was a 10km Classic, which is my kind of race! I ended up 4th in the race, but was way more excited with this result then the previous day. Being only 27secs from first place finisher and National Team skier Emily Nishikawa, this was by far my best distance result in over 3 years. More importantly, I had fight. I haven’t felt that in a long time.
After the Alberta Cup weekend my boyfriend/Coach Chris Butler and I hopped in the Kia and travelled to Silverstar, the Santa’s village of Canada. This would be my first Noram of the year. Silverstar gives off a great vibe, it’s one of my favourite places in the world to ski, and I have nothing but good memories of the place. The first two Noram races in Silverstar were a classic sprint and classic distance race. I love classic, so this was a great way to start off the Noram series, and my return to the racing world.
The classic sprint was the first race, and went how I`d expected it to go. I`ve never been a strong sprinter, but I always given a good fight in the heats. I like to use sprint races as a warm up for the main event, and for me that`s the distance races.
Sunday finally came, and I was more than pumped to bang out a 10km classic race. Since I haven`t raced in over a year, I had a zero beside my name for points. Which means, in an individual start, I was able to do a full 5km loop before any of the fastest girls started. This actually worked well for me, cause as I was rounding the stadium for my second loop, I tagged on with a fast girl just starting. I got some great splits along the way during the race. I got a `` Your in first place!!`` and a `` Your only 15secs from 3rd``. In the end I was 10th overall, and 3rd Canadian. This was a great race for my first Noram!
After that weekend in Silverstar, Chris and I once again packed up and headed off to Rossland. I hadn’t raced in Rossland since I was 17!! So needless to say, the trails were completely different from the last time I had been there. The sprint and distance courses were super rad, with some great climbing and some fast sweeping corners. The weekend started off with a 1.4km skate sprint. Because it was longer in length, I thought there was a chance that I could do well. I was terribly wrong!! I got my ass handed to me, and when I phoned my dad he just laughed and said “ Ahhh it’s a sprint, you’ve never been good at those.” His blunt honesty was actually just what I needed to get over the race and focus for the next day.
Sunday’s race was a 10km mass start skate race, and I was a pretty nervous. The last time I did a distance skate.....it didn’t end so hot. Actually, it ended with me dropping out due to irregular heart palpitations. And even though that was years ago, when my body was most fried, I still had an uneasy feeling about distance skate races.
The skate race was pretty exciting, and early on I fought my way through the pack to 10th spot. I was pumped!....until I had an epic crash on one of the downhill’s. Most of the time, I can get out of a crash with only losing 10-15secs max. This time it was more like 45secs, which was way too much of a gap for me to make back up. In the end, my placing was not what I was gunning for but I was still very happy with how I felt while racing. My legs stayed strong, and my heart was well under control.
Now I’m currently in whistler, and so far the skiing has been amazing! I will be competing in a 15km pursuit race, 1.2km skate sprint, and a 10km individual classic race. I’m excited to be racing in Whistler, a great start to 2012! A new year, and another opportunity to race fast and have a blast!!
Ciao for now,