This weekend was a great way to kick off the race season and shake out the jet lag, the pre-race jitters, and the months of hard training, and see what shape we’re in as we head towards the World Cup season opener in Kuusamo next weekend. I like racing in Gällivare, because the tracks are challenging with a lot of climbing and twisty, turning descents, and because Sweden is always so good to our team!
The funny thing about my pre-race game face is that it usually looks pretty happy. And that’s a good thing, for me. A lot of times people have told me to focus, to stop goofing around, to “get in the zone”…but, folks, my happy zone IS my zone, and me smiling and bouncing around the start pen? That IS my game face. I’m most focused and ready to rock and roll when I’m happy and enjoying the sport, because to me skiing is fun. It’s like a game…how fast can I possibly go? How small can I tuck on the downhills? How hard can I push myself over this hill?
Everyone has a different pre-race ritual, and different ways to get themselves psyched up. I’m not saying my way is better or worse, but it works for me. And the great thing about it is, if I’m not in the right head-space during warmup, there’s always time to turn it around! This morning I showed up to test skis with Cork feeling pretty tired and a little out of it. I didn’t make any tasteless, cheesy jokes, and Cork could tell that something was up. I went and gave myself 10 minutes to get happy and to get psyched about this skiing game we play, and I showed up on the warmup track in an infinitely better mood. Then I raced really, really hard. And I won my second race this weekend, which was an awesome confidence boost, and simultaneously a round of applause for the techs and coaches for bringing their A-game right from the start.
This week has been a great training block before the races started, and a good opportunity to get back on snow and get used to the new time zone. It’s also a good time to test out new equipment and skis!
Part of the team is living in a big hotel, and the other half is living in these little cabins. The Czech team has been pulling some funny pranks, and I couldn’t resist putting up the photo of the life-size snowman…that was leaning against the Czech girls team door. Good one, guys.
We also had a birthday girl this week! Sadie turned 26 and Rosie, Caitlin and I had so much fun making her birthday cake. Unfortunately, using grams and ml instead of cups to measure ingredients may have impacted the cake a tiny bit…but don’t worry, it was still good.
The Gällivare newspaper came to the ski tracks one day looking for quotes and photos, so we posed it up, mostly as a joke with the selfie shots. But then….guess what showed up on the front page of the local paper? We then, of course, had to take a selfie of us with our selfie in the newspaper. We thought we were pretty funny. Obviously, we take ourselves quite seriously and never joke around.
Kikkan is, of course, not with us right now since she’s having a baby in April, but she’s such a part of the team that we now have a Kikkan Barbie doll to travel with us! We’re taking her to team meetings, important events, and of course now I finally get to do Kikkan’s pre-race hairdo.
Tomorrow we will be driving from Gällivare to Kuusamo (also called Ruka), where the World Cup opens next weekend. We’ll have the whole week to train, test skis, and go neon bowling underneath the shopping center. Should be a good time!