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Between a rock and a hard placing

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My season in Europe wrapped up this past week with the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. This would mark my first time back at the World Cup finals since 2003 so I was pretty happy to have qualified this year.

I have just returned back from Europe and am very excited to be in Canada and in Whistler for the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships. But first, let me take you back to the races in Switzerland.

In total there were 10 of us from the Canadian team who qualified for the finals in our events. I had qualified for the super G and the downhill events and entered the finals ranked fifth in super G and 25 th in downhill. The conditions for the week were very spring-like, cool and icy in the morning and very warm and sunny by the afternoon. It was great!

It was my first time racing on the track in Lenzerheide and I must say, it turned out to be the toughest track of the year. It took 100 per cent focus and concentration from start to finish on the downhill track because there was absolutely no room for error. Unfortunately we did lose a few racers who crashed and came away with injuries. At the end of the season that’s the last thing you want to see, we are all pretty tired by this time of the season and it’s easy to lose focus.

The great part about being at the World Cup finals is that you really do feel like you are part of the elite group of World Cup racers. Only the top 25 are there from each discipline, men and women together, usually racing on the same course together, and everyone is fighting to improve their ranking for the end of the season. Oh, and of course there’s those beautiful globes that we all would love to walk away with at the end of the season!

In the super G race I had a bit of an interesting incident. I was starting 20 th , in reverse order of our rankings, and I really wanted to try and move up in the rankings as the points were close with the girls around me. It would also be the last World Cup race of the season and I really wanted to go out with a bang, and in a sense I did! We inspected the super G course early in the morning with the men, and then watched them race. When 11:45 a.m. came around, I was ready to lay it on the line and race.

It all came to a halting end about eight gates into the course when I found a piece of the mountain with my left ski! There was a rock coming through the snow and I had run right over it. I attempted to make the next left-footed turn but had absolutely no grip on my ski. I could feel that something was not right, but how could I have hit a rock?

After the next turn I pulled out of the course, there was nothing I could do. As I was coming to a stop on the side of the hill, frustrated and “pissed off” about the situation, a crazy thought occurred to me — “I really hope there is a big scratch on my edge when I pick it up and look because otherwise I am really going to kick myself if I just stopped for nothing!” I lifted my ski up and there was my answer. The whole edge under my left boot was gone, with only a few pieces hanging on. The base had also been ripped off in places to show the metal underneath. I had definitely hit a rock! A few racers later Renate Goestchl hit the same rock, so consoled myself that I must have been on the fast line.

By not finishing that day’s race, my ranking moved back from fifth to seventh. However, with that ranking our wonderful sponsors at Pontiac GMC will be providing me with a car for the next year, which is something to look forward to.

I am now home in racing the Canadian championships and the events are going to be great. I would love to see some spectators out there, so come on over and watch the races. They will be running until March 28 on the Dave Murray Downhill over at Creekside.

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