A winter race season is long and with competitions almost every weekend from early November on it can sometimes feel non-stop.
This is why it is so important to recognize the times when you can take some rest to refuel your system. It is especially important this winter to find that extra time and fuel as it’s an Olympic year. By the time the Games arrive we’ve already had three full months of World Cup racing!
The goal for all athletes in an Olympic year is to peak for the Games. You want to be racing your absolute best by the time February comes around and, if everything goes to plan, that Olympic medal could be yours.
In the months leading up to the Games the emphasis by Alpine Canada and our coaches has been put on our off-hill preparation (dryland training), our on-hill training, our nutrition (coming into and throughout the season), and our mental preparation. We have even had a chef come on the road with us a few times this season. (Remember our trip in the Czech Republic? Yep, the chef was there and he was appalled by the quality of food that was served to us!)
My point is that all effort is being made in order to ensure optimal performance at the Games. But one piece of the puzzle that is easily forgotten is the need to take some time to rest and rejuvenate.
Rest to me means a few days off snow, and taking myself away from the team. In the winter this can be difficult, but if you can find the time to squeeze in a few days off it can make a world of difference for your next races.
The most important factor for me is to take a step away from the team. Many of the North American athletes have apartments that they rent in Europe for the winter season. This allows them to have a home base overseas, away from all the madness of the race circuit.
I was able to "escape" at New Year’s and visited some friends in Austria. I still went up and skied, of course, but the difference was that those days were for myself. There weren’t any coaches around, no teammates, just friends and time to relax.
I also spent a week at "home" in Collingwood (Whistler is still home to me!) as the race schedule allowed it. I will be back in Europe and racing by the time you read this, but as I sit here today, the day I fly back to Europe, my mind feels fresh and my body rejuvenated. As is the case with any job, it’s easy to just keep going, jumping into the trenches day after day. The hard part is recognizing those moments when the best thing for you is rest.
My schedule for the next few weeks will be just like the last trip – relentless! I will be racing Europa Cup events to start and if my results are there I’ll go to the World Cup events. We have four technical events left before the Olympic Games and I have the opportunity to qualify right up until the Games. That’s the plan.
The team is currently spread all across Europe, racing FIS races, Europa Cups and World Cups.
Last week, the girls were running a new downhill course in Austria and Allison Forsyth posted some career best finishes in downhill and super G. I spoke with the girls and all were very excited about the new track as it was more technical than most on the circuit. I think that’s why we saw more of the technical skiers finishing in the top 10, like Marlies Schild, who is known more for her slalom talent.
The men were running a track in Wengen, Switzerland and I’m not sure if many of you were able to catch the coverage – you were probably out skiing powder – but the views from that race course are just unbelievable. Every year when that race takes place the skies are blue and the sun is shining. The downhill is also over two minutes long and challenging from start to finish. It is amazing to watch – and I wasn’t skiing powder that day!
Enjoy the snow.