Next week marks the end of a generation for me. It has been eight years since I first put on the Canadian suit to represent my country against the best cross-country skiers my age in the world. This was at the 2010 World Junior/ U23 Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany. Now 7 years and hundreds of races later I will be competing at my final World Junior/ U23 Championships still with the same maple leaf on my suit but as a very different person and racer and with very different goals. Instead of being the 15-year-old baby of the team with only 2 pairs of skis and no expectations except for to do my best, I am now the oldest on the trip, the experienced World Cup athlete with more skis to test than I can carry.
How times have changed. As I go into my final U23 World Championships, I am trying to remember the feelings I had my first time racing for Canada in order to minimize the thoughts of pressure I put in my own head and to focus on doing my best by having fun racing my heart out in the sport I love for the country I love.
With the U23 World Championships in Utah it is a huge advantage for us. We do not have to travel over to Europe and we know the courses we will be racing. I have set high expectations for myself and will do my best to try to achieve them but in the back of my mind I keep reminding myself that I am not defined by one week of racing. No matter what the results, there will be many more days to come where I will have great races wearing the maple leaf and U23’s are just three races in a season where I will do over 30 races. There are many great races behind me this year and many more amazing opportunities to come, including Senior World Championships in Lahti, Finland and World Cup finals, which are being held in Quebec City, Canada.
|Relay's are amazing because you are racing for more than just yourself and those are the times when grit you didn't know you had shows through. Racing my best race of the season in the World Cup relay in La Clusaz, France in December|
I am super grateful for the amazing season I have been able to enjoy already and the opportunities I have been giving for the coming months. It has been a highlight to be able to race to 25th and 26th place finishes on the World Cup on back to back weekends in December and record the second fastest time on my leg in a World Cup relay. To race to a 3 second victory in the skate sprint prologue at U.S. Nationals and to start out so hard in a race that I ended up losing over 30 places in the final kilometer, an experience that is frustrating and humbling but will not doubt make me stronger the next time.
With only a few days left before the World Junior/ U23 team travels to Utah, I am enjoying some quiet moments in one place before I hit the road again to kick off the second half of my season which includes 17 race starts and 6 countries. I won’t be back home until the end of March, good thing I’m used to living out of a suitcase.
Until next time!
|On top of the U.S Nationals Sprint podium in Solder Hollow, site of the upcoming World Junior/U23 World Championships|
|Enjoying being back in my AWCA race suit with some amazing teammates for the final U23 World Champs prep racing at Western Canadian Champs in Whistler last weekend.|
|Top of the sprint podium at Westerns in Whistler, feeling ready for Worlds.|
|Some days all you need is a long ski with coach.|