Once again, my bags have been packed and unpacked too many times to count since my last post. After Zwiesel, I headed to Obsertdorf for a German Cup with Hannah, which was our last stop on our Germany tour. After taking 3 full off days in hopes of kicking my illness for good (but really this time), I had my head up and eyes looking forward. I was ready to put my illnesses behind me and just go out and race hard.
The sprint day was shock to the system and gave my body the wake up call it needed to get back in gear and fired up again. I put my “Darth Vader mask” on at the start of the 10k skate mass start, told myself it is a new day and put my sensations from the sprint behind me, and was ready to charge (I mostly wore it because it was cold…but also for the intimidation, game face factor of course). 2.5km into the race I found myself sliding and spinning on my hip down the fast downhill, which was the one thing I told myself I should avoid at all costs in a draft heavy mass start. The adrenaline rushed through my veins as I got back on my feet and I quickly hammered to catch up with the leaders. At this point, I was so fired up that I was just ready to charge away, but I played it smart and waited until the 9km mark before dropping the hammer and pulling away to grab the win. Hannah and I packed our bags once again and headed to Italy to meet up with the OPA Trip group from the U.S.
Going into the OPA Cup races finally 100% healthy, I decided to put my mixed feelings in training and racing the past few months behind me, and approach the weekend with a blank slate. How I had felt the day before or raced 3 weeks ago didn’t matter, what mattered was how I could approach the upcoming races each day. My approach: go out hard, give it your all, and see how long you can sustain it—I have learned that if you want to ski for the podium, there is no going out slow and working your way into it. In both races I faded a little at the end, but I was very happy with skiing the courses aggressive from the start and really going for it, and finishing 9th and 10th. I saw that I can sustain that pace with a little more fitness, which is something that can be gained with training in the future.
And then the bags were packed again and we were on to the next stop, France. I was excited to explore a new country and get some rest and recovery after a few weekends of racing. I went on a some easy skis, learned a few French words, and ate delicious, fresh croissants. Before I knew it, we were in the van again and headed to our last stop, Spain (also a country I have never been to)!
I am really excited for this last weekend of racing in Europe! I am healthy and happy, the skiing is incredible, and all 3 race formats are extremely exciting. We have a skate sprint, a 10m classic mass start (I haven’t done a single classic mass start in a year and they are my favorite), and to wrap up the mini tour, a 10km skate pursuit…so how can you not be excited to race with a schedule like that?! My goal for this weekend is to approach each race with a blank slate. I don’t want to make assumptions going into my race based on how I felt in my warm up, how previous races have gone, the type of course I am racing, who my competitors are, or what result I should have; I want to lay it all out there and race as fast as I possibly can, and enjoy it most of all! Now it is time to turn the jets on and get fired up to finish off the season with some kick ass races the next two weeks!