I am currently on the plane heading to Zurich via Frankfurt for the next two World Cup Ski Cross races – Val Thorens, France and San Candido, Italy. This is the first time I have been unable to sleep on a flight over the Atlantic. I am short on space so I can’t imagine how the boys must be feeling right about now. To get away from the claustrophobic atmosphere a couple of us found relief at the back of the plane but unfortunately got ushered back to our seats shortly after.
The last week and a half has been an emotional ride for me. Heading into Nationals one week before the World Cup opener in Nakiska, I felt like I was behind where I thought I should be at that time. Fortunately I was able to chat with Karen McNeil, a sport psych whom I had previously worked with when I was racing alpine on the BC Provincial Team; We worked out a mental plan of attack for this season. Talking to her really put things in perspective for me and brought to light that it will be most important for me to be patient, focus on technical goals rather than results and evaluate each day based on the goals I have set out for myself.
It’s so interesting how one is able to remember all these things when they are level headed and thinking clear yet manage to totally forget the sense of it all the minute mental focus gets out of hand.
Since I talked with Karen I have been focusing on only a few things. The first is to be aggressive in both qualifying and racing. My technical skiing has improved since this time last year and when running a course solo there is no reason why I can’t be winning runs. When I’m qualifying, I have control of my environment because I can ski any line I wish without having to worry about others on the track. When I race in heats I base my level of performance from how aggressive I am skiing with other in the course. I asses to see that I am looking for passing opportunities and taking risks. When I am in the start gate I am trying to focus only on myself and not worrying who I am up against or the tactics they will be taking throughout the course. Racing in heats is where I feel I have improved the most over the last 2 weeks.
A few days ago I continued my baby steps forwards with finishing just off the podium in 4th place at Telluride, Colorado. In the finals I got distracted out of the start and found myself rushing to catch the other girls. In the last turn of the course I tried to stuff a pass on Anna who was in third but got pinched out. My arm caught the panel and twisted my upper body slowing my speeds for the rest of the track. Even though I wasn’t able to squeak on the podium I am happy with my performance. Like I mentioned before, two weeks ago I wouldn’t have dared to squeeze in a pass like that.
We are in Val Thorens, France now with our next finals scheduled for Wednesday Dec 19th. We were supposed to train today but mass amounts of snow and the late decision to inject the course last night is preventing that from happening.