Wow! It seems to me that the winter has gone by so fast. The past 5 months present themselves in my mind like a big whirl of awesome racing, fun Euro adventures with my teammates, some of the best family and friends time I have had in a while and quite possibly the most fun I have ever had in my life. It really was that good!
I finished the season with many new personal bests that I was so thrilled achieve. I finished 4th in an individual World Cup race in Czech, a mere centimeter off the podium. Then Peri and I won a bronze medal on the next year’s Olympic trails in Sochi. As the season was winding down, I also got a new personal best sprint qualification (4th), won a couple of gold medals at the Canadian Championships and finished the season ranked 17th sprinter overall on the World Cup. As I learn to believe more and more in what I’m capable of once I set my mind on a goal and work hard towards it, it’s truly exciting to see how much I can accomplish in the next season, the year of Sochi Olympics.
This winter also marked many special moments shared with dear friends and family close and far away. If I had to pick one such moment, it was without a doubt having my mom and dad cheer for me in Quebec World Cup sprints in December. I haven’t had a chance to spend Christmas at my parents home in many years because of the training commitments, but this year my Christmas was as close to perfect as could be. I was invited to join in for a wonderful celebration, dinner and carol singing at the house of my adopted Banff family of Mark, Jody, Kyla, Jonah and Jade. Most of all, it was the simple kindness of their invitation that I will remember for a long time to come.
Real and adopted families aside, seeing my best friend Natasha in March provided me with a much needed racing break, as we relaxed for 3 days far away from ski tracks in the stunningly lush rural English landscape. Finally, at the end of the racing season the best prize for me was visiting my granny Maria this past week. Unfortunately her little russian village was still covered in ankle-deep snow when I came to visit, so I could not help her with planting potatoes. Instead of working the dirt and planting perfect rows of vegetables in her garden, I completely surrendered to her unconditional love, allowing her to feed me until I could hardly breathe. How can anyone not feel happy after that?
If I try to mention everyone who has played an influential role in my race performances last season, this letter will have no end and I will probably still be writing. But you all know who you are and I am so thankful to you for making a difference and bringing me closer and closer to what I’m truly capable of.
It has been a wonderful winter, and the memories of Sochi World Cup bronze-medal finish, near podiums and some of the finest racing I’ve ever done in my life will carry me through the arduous spring and summer of training in preparations for the Olympic year ahead.
Thank you for helping me reach the excellence!
Captions to the pictures included in this post:
1. Racing in Liberec, Czech. This is how some of my fastest skiing looks like!
2. There was too much snow on the ground for gardening, so instead of planting potatoes, my grandma and I laughed and shared stories instead. Next time I’ll see her, she will be cheering for me at the Olympics in Sochi
3. Peri and I won a World Cup bronze in Sochi pre-Olympic World Cup
4. Meet Sacha Bergeron – my skis serviceman extraordinaire!
Thank you to my awesome sponsors:
Chen and Alice
Banff Ave Brewing Co