The snow has finally arrived in Europe and Eastern Canada and for a ski racer like myself, the season is already in full swing. This week I am busy getting ready for a World Cup competition in Davos, Switzerland, and the next weekend I am scheduled to race in Slovenia. Life of a ski racer is a little different from that of an average 27 year old, so I hope to share some insights and stories on what is it like to live with a single focus of being the fastest possible on cross-country skis.
I train almost every day, 11 ½ months per year. Some days I feel an absolute joy to be racing fast and confident, while other times the intense training leaves me feeling crippled with fatigue and barely able to move. It’s all part of the game though, and it does take a staggering amount of hard work and intense focus to become super-fast. Not that I am complaining!
Two days ago I had a challenging workout that involved me going through a sprint race simulation on the World Cup race course we will be racing on Sunday. The race course here is a long, challenging loop that we ski twice for a total of nearly 1.6km. I wanted to push the hardest I possibly can in this workout and I needed a “buddy” to do it with. I was hoping to get some emotional support as well as a chance to focus on racing against another skier as opposed to pushing hard on my own. I asked around to see if anyone would be interested in doing a sprint race simulation with me. Usually I really enjoy doing intensity with our team wax technicians. All male ex-ski racers, sometimes they actually train more than the athletes, skiing countless loops to test different ski wax combinations. I asked them first, but none of the team wax technicians looked too excited at hearing my proposal. Luckily, Chandra and Peri decided to bump their hard workout one day ahead and the three of us agreed to slightly modify our respective intensity protocols in order to do this workout together. Our intensity pace was fast and furious, and I had a great opportunity to test my speed limits on the course and try a couple of different tactics. Training together with Peri and Chandra gives me an ever growing sense of appreciation for my teammates as we were able to use each others’ strengths and weaknesses in a mutually beneficial way. Beyond the multitude of physical benefits, the experience of practicing on the loop instills in me great self-confidence going into the actual race. The workout was a success and now I am hungry and eager to rip it up for real!
Thank you for reading,