This week our team has taken on many casualties, any one of which are bad enough on their own. We’ve had two people too sick to race, two concussions, five broken poles, three broken skis and two broken boots. Despite everything that has happened this week, we managed to have one of our best race weekends since I joined the team five years ago. The amount of resilience it takes to overcome obstacles in ski racing is one of the many things I find so fascinating about the sport. On any day anything can go wrong for anyone. It is the athlete who is able to adapt to these changes and push through them regardless, that becomes truly great.
My portion of the bad luck came on Wednesday when one of my skis broke during our scheduled downhill practice. This is where our entire team lines up at the top of a hill and races to the bottom as fast as we can. On our last run of the day, we were about halfway down the hill when all of a sudden there was a ski between my legs. I tried to stay on my feet but the entanglement was too much. The next thing I knew I was brushing snow off my jacket, picked up my right foot and saw that the tip of my ski had completely snapped. Awesome. Good thing they weren’t race skis… oh wait… they were one of my favorite pairs of race skis.
My parents and coach immediately offered their assistance in finding replacements before the end of the season. I’m so lucky to have this kind of support system.
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”
The weekend found us at Telemark Resort in Cable, WI.
Saturday was a 5k Classic and I started right in front of my teammate Ulrika. We agreed before the start that, if she caught me (which was very likely because she’s a great classic skier) we would stick together and push each other just like we do in practice each day. Sure enough, as we go by Joe near the 2.5k mark, she comes striding by and I hop in behind her doing my best to keep up. From there we executed our plan perfectly. The unspoken encouragement of a teammate’s skis rhythmically gliding along, their poles striking at a perfect tempo and the intensity of their breathing can be way more encouraging than anyone standing on the side of the trail. If all classic races were that fun I’d have to reconsider my favoritism towards skating. There’s something about striding with perfect kick and perfect glide that makes you feel like you’re soaring across the frozen trail.
We’re so lucky to have this possibility available to us.
Sunday Skate Day!
Jordyn Ross and I have been skiing together since Highschool. We are currently some of the oldest members of our team and have the pleasure of starting next to each other at nearly every race. This has resulted in the latest testament of our friendship, Team Old!
Sunday’s skate race was no different. We knew we’d be skiing with each other; just like all of the summer practices throughout the years. My skis were rock-stars again on Sunday (Thanks Wax Techs!) and by the time we hit the first hill they’d carried me into the lead position. I was able to keep place through the first loop, up the first climbs on lap two and almost all the way through the rolling section at the end of the course. As things sometimes go in ski racing, my legs had a different plan than my brain and they decided it would be fun to sit on a tree at the side of the trail. Right when I thought I’d be able to hurdle Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, my ski got stuck on a log and I smushed the poor thing. Rather ungracefully, I picked myself up and got back on course just in time to have Jordyn sail past. It was a hard race, but yet again I had the opportunity to race with my friends. It was hard, really hard, but we made it fun! That’s what ski racing is; voluntarily pushing the limits of your body, throw in some cold weather, lots of uncertainty and come out with something you love.
We’re pretty lucky.