Happy Winter/Christmas Season/Race Season - take your pick!
I hope this email finds you hunkering down for a good season, wherever you might be; healthy and happy and looking forward to some of the exciting things that lay ahead in the Canadian winter.
Things are well here in Canmore as I sharpen up and fine-tune my racing leading into the coming weeks. It's been strangely warm, but finally now is cold enough for them to make snow overnight at the Nordic Centre, and Lake Louise has enough snow to groom all their xc trails!
I had a solid few weeks of training through the end of October and early November, relishing skiing on real snow (the stockpiled snow from last year was spread out on a 2km loop) and enjoying ramping up the harder intervals with shooting. The past couple of weeks have involved intensity on the loop of stockpiled snow, driving to Lake Louise for longer distance training, and making some final gains in strength/power and technique on snow.
I had a very solid showing at the Biathlon Canada time trials mid-month, initially snagging a World Cup starting spot when the trials were suddenly moved a few days earlier due to dicey conditions - talk about performing under pressure! However, the other two trials races did end going ahead the following week, and thus the later trials results stood. The women's field was tighter than it's ever been, showing good promise for our international results. I wasn't quite able to repeat my first stellar performance, and after some stressful sports politics, will be starting this season on the IBU Cup - the extremely competitive tier just below the World Cup that I have been on the past couple of years. However, the four of us women starting on the IBU Cup have been told that they will consider bouncing athletes between the WC and IBU Cup, results dependent..so I am determined to get onto the World Cup yet this winter :) Competing on the IBU Cup means I will be aiming for a top-16 result, whereas on the World Cup a top-40 would be the goal, so this opportunity allows me to fight closer to the front of the pack (hopefully!). Sadly, the IBU Cup tours are self-funded, whereas the WC is paid for by Biathlon Canada, so my aim is to perform well on the IBU before Christmas and see what happens in the following trimester.
So, I'm headed to Italy and the Austria later this week, for some sprints, a pursuit, and my favourite, a 15km individual! (Canada chose to skip the first IBU Cup in Norway.) I love both race venues, high altitude, amazing scenery, and even better food..and I couldn't be more excited to go race my heart out in the sport I love, no matter what circuit I'm on, and no matter the politics behind it all. Then I will stop in Ontario on the way back for a few days for Christmas (looking forward to skiing at Highlands Nordic!) and will return to Canmore by Boxing Day. I'll likely train here for about a week at that time, and then we shall see what the rest of the season will hold in terms of racing; the unknown potential is part of what makes it fun!
Now is the time of year when rest wins out over training more and more.. and when tucking lower, seeking out a few more inches of glide, and the gentlest of trigger squeezes are vital. Literally, every second counts. I was recently told that "the precious seconds you need are a result of all those breezes in your life who help create the hurricane." I couldn't agree more. All of my family, friends, sponsors, and supporters are little wisps of wind that swirl inside me to create a storm whooshing out on course!
So, thank you all for your sparkling energetic breezes this year....it's time for me to blast now; the easy part after all this build!
I'll be in touch around Christmastime with an update and plans.
Thank you all again - SFSS as my Dad says (our version of keep it simple stupid - ski fast shoot straight) -
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!