As you know, a few weeks ago, I was in Whistler for the 2013 Haywood Nationals. I had such a great experience with my team members, as well as friends from other ski clubs. All together I raced 4 races; 700m sprints, 2.5 km, 5 km, and 7.5 km as the longest distance. Collette Bourgonje, national team member, was able to make it to the event, which made it exciting both for me racing, and for my coaches watching, they said.
Looking back, I would say that the 5 km distance was my best race. It started early in the morning so that the snow would be firm and icy… which means fast. When I finished, I knew that I had crossed the line first, with a lead, but I wasn’t sure if the gap was big enough to take first place. In sit skiing, every athlete needs to be assessed according to their disability. I am an LW12, which means that my time is 100%. Some other athletes at the event were LW10’s- at 86%, which means that I have to be at least 14% faster. During the week, I realized how huge this aspect of the sport is and how it makes it different from able body, even more. It was hard to know just how hard to push myself. For the 5 km I just put it all out there and it turned out it was enough for first place, which was really exciting and made it the performance I’m most proud of. In the other races, I placed 2nd for the 2.5 Km and 7.5 Km, and 1st in the 700 m Sprints.
Each race day, we woke up pretty early, depending on start times. Most days we were out on the trails before 9 am, when the sun would come up over the top of the mountains. By that time our skis had been waxed with the top of the line powders and hi-fluoro’s, thanks to Black Jack Ski Team, the BC Ski Team and our local coach. These guys lowered their VO2 Max while in the containers of toxins, to help us ski fast… I was almost worried I would loose control when I switched from my warm up skis to my race skis.
Aside from actually racing, we had off days and “official training days”, too. The trails were crowded with skiers, and it was great to be out in the sun with the Revy team.
On one of our off days, we drove up to the trails and watched the Junior Men and Women’s sprint races. They were pretty exciting to watch and we could definitely learn something from their technique.
Another day, about 8 sit skiers at the event went for a group ski. Being out with other people who do exactly what I do, made me feel so content. I learned a lot from watching how others take a hill, from advice they gave me, and from trying to give them advice too.
I also participated in a workshop held by Fast And Female, an organization that works to promote young females in sport, started by Chandra Crawford. There was about 20 group leaders or ambassadors, that shared their knowledge with the 200+ girls who attended. They each shared their story about how they worked their way up to the top in the skiing world. It was inspiring and encouraging, for sure.
On the last night there was a banquet for all the skiers, their family, the wax techs and the coaches. It was a great way to end off the season! I’m surprised by how fast this winter went by. Training and racing made it fun and kept me busy and active. I think most of all the week confirmed in my head that I will always continue skiing, whether racing or not, I love it.
Thank you so much to the Live it! Love it! team, for helping me get there, I couldn’t have done it without you guys! I hope you continue doing what you do for others in the community.