People come and people go, and some people are there for life. I think I must be one of the "lifers." That's the way I feel right now being a part of the Canadian Snowboard Team. The number one question that I have received since February is "What are you going to do now?"
The answer is easy. Too easy it seems, because the answer I give doesn't seem to satisfy the people asking it.
"I'm going to keep going," I tell them. "I love snowboarding and I love being on the snowboardcross team."
I spent so much time and effort getting to the level that I'm at now that I don't see a reason to stop. It would be the equivalent of someone becoming a doctor and then quitting as soon as he/she got the degree to do something else. I'm not ready to do something else yet.
I didn't even know how much I loved it until last summer when we actually had some time off. Waiting for the next team camp was agonizing! We were supposed to go to Australia for training before hitting our first World Cup in Argentina in September. Both of the trips were eventually cancelled. I was feeling antsy because I was so used to being on the go. I was excited to come back to training together as a team. Sitting still is not one of my strong points.
However, after being away from the team and "snowboardcross life" for so long this summer I got complacent. I wouldn't use the words "unmotivated" or "lazy," but I definitely felt heavy and lethargic. Getting back on my race boards in September was difficult. I was still doing all the necessary gym and bike training, but my legs lacked luster this pre-season. My balance and feel on my boards felt all wrong. It was like driving a rental car on the left side of the road.
Slowly but surely things are turning around. I felt much better on my boards in the last weeks and raced well at the first three stops of the World Cup tour. Patience and some mental strength paid off in the long run.
We just finished racing two events in Lech, Austria and one in Telluride, Colorado. My teammate, Dominique Maltais, destroyed the women's field in all three races. So far this year she has won all the qualifying races and all the heats of racing. It's so fun to race her right now. In Lech, we had exciting finals together. In Telluride however, I have to say that I have never ridden with a girl so dominant that I felt like I couldn't make speed on her in the course. I'm looking forward to the new year of not only racing her, but also being her teammate. We did some fun training runs together at the team event last week in Telluride. Ultimately the level of women's SBX is just rising.
I'm now at the stage of my riding where I feel like I'm making the biggest jumps in progression. I have an amazing team with great staff supporting snowboardcross. The courses we race on are getting better and better. Our equipment is evolving to allow even more speed and accuracy on course. The team atmosphere is easy. Everyone is friendly, everyone is eager to improve, and everyone is there because they love it.
The New Year starts with a bang. In January we will be training at some Europa Cup races in France before going to the World Championships in Spain, and then coming back to Colorado for Winter X-Games. But for now it's time to get into the holiday spirit with some Whistler powder and family fun! Happy Holidays from the SBX team!