Just rolling with the punches... as everyone has been this year! After facing a bit of disappointment this season I've been trying to focus on the positives. I'm appreciative of the opportunities I have had and I know not many are as fortunate. Regardless of how races go, I do love being able to travel and continue to chase my goals. So, on a more light-hearted note here is a random compilation of some of the highlights from the past few weeks in Europe :)
The World Cup races take a TREMENDOUS amount of work to put together and on race day everything seems to go pretty smoothly. However, when you arrive at a venue a week early, things are still getting set up and you have to make do with what you've got.
There is also a lot of waiting that happens while on the World Cup. Waiting for your race, allotted training time, scheduled transportation, meal times, meetings...
Being a bit of a foodie myself I love exploring the different food options when I travel abroad. Sometimes it's super interesting stuff (I once tried horse tongue in Kazakhstan) and sometimes it's just fish and potatoes.
Jessie and I were so excited to be staying in cabins while in Falun, Sweden, we thought we might have the chance to cook/bake some yummy treats for ourselves. You can imagine the disappointment when we realized we had no oven... so instead we got creative!
No matter what type of race it's been I always enjoy cooling down with friends. Sometimes that means talking through the course about wild crashes we saw, sketchy corners we're proud of making or sections of the course we thought we saw God. Other times we talk about anything and everything else, wanting to take a quick break from what just happened and focus on how pretty it is outside.
After racing in Ulricehamn, Sweden a few weeks ago, there was an off week before the Nove Mesto World Cup in the Czech Republic. The other skiers planning to race in Nove Mesto were either coming from World Juniors or from the US, while the World Championship team was off at a training camp. This left Peter Holmes and me as American athletes needing to find our own training location in Europe for about a week!
We thought we could just stay in Sweden for an extra week to limit the number of travel days we'd have to face, but I was craving some sunshine and mountains. So, I had to twist Peter's arm to convince him to join me in Ramsau, Austria for some beautiful skiing.
I think Peter and I made a pretty good team, taking turns driving, cooking, cleaning, supporting each other during workouts and cheering each other on in intervals.
In Austria, most things were closed because of Covid so we didn't get too many opportunities to explore the surrounding area, but we tried our best!
Despite the situation, I think we did a good job at making friends with the locals...
After a week of paradise and good training, Peter and I started hearing rumors about Nove Mesto: Czech was going into a stricter lockdown and the WC could be canceled. We started to prepare ourselves for whatever might happen. Sadly, by Valentine's Day we found out we would not have the opportunity to race again in Europe and that it was time to go home.
Just another unfortunate situation to add to the list. Peter and I were both excited for another chance to race a World Cup. I had started to feel better energy-wise while training and was feeling optimistic about having a good race in Nove Mesto. As bummed as we both were, it was completely out of our control, so we scheduled a Covid test and changed our flights.
The silver lining of this situation is that I get to be at home with my family AND take advantage of Birkie Fever! I'm excited to be back in the Midwest just in time to compete in the American Birkebeiner next week, which is always a fun event and something that means a lot to me. Excited to see how many kilometers my legs can hang on for!
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.