Woke up in Europe

As I am writing this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Toblach, Italy. How did I get here? Lets find out!

It has been a very busy last 4 months. So far, I have to say that the training centre life has suited me well. When days usually consist of training, eating, sleeping and the odd class, there really isn’t much to complain about. Before I came to the training centre, I had been warned many times by various people that because of the “shock” from moving away from home, I should expect to not do as well my first season on the training centre. To me this didn’t make sense. Why would you move somewhere to get better at skiing if you are supposed to expect no improvement? So, my biggest goal for the training season was to make the transition as smooth as possible and so far, I believe I have succeeded.

I am very happy to say that I have successfully managed to steer myself away from sickness (knock on wood)! This is a huge improvement from last summer and fall when I was sick for a total of 3 weeks. Although training has generally been going well, it has not been perfect. 
At the end of August, I left for a training camp in Mont-St Anne, Quebec. At the beginning of the Quebec Camp, I started feeling oddly tired. During workouts, my heart rate was abnormally high and my legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I skipped out on an intensity workout and made sure to sleep a couple of extra hours, but at the end of the first week, I was feeling the same. I was under recovered at the biggest volume camp of the summer. Even though it was hard to see all my teammates train hard as I rested up at the condo, it was exactly what my body needed. I managed to feel quite a bit better for the last 2 days of the camp and finished the camp with a decent skate TT. When we weren’t training, we kept ourselves busy with team dinners, regular stops at the Dairy Bar, swims and cliff jumps in the Jean-Larose waterfall, bracelet making and a couple of visits to downtown QC City.
Beautiful fall rollerskiing in Thunder Bay
So much has happened since this summer and nothing tells a story better than pictures, so here is a little review with mostly pictures (promise!)
After the Camp, we returned to Thunder Bay for some R&R and to begin the first university semester, yay! With 3 courses I kept myself busy until the next training camp in November. We returned to Quebec once again, this time to Foret Montmorency for a on snow volume camp. Over the course of 10 days I completed about 100 laps! The main focus was to get in a lot of easy skiing but we also did a time trial with CNEPH. 
Part of the 2.3km loop

From left to right: Mia, Alannah, me, Sadie and Jenn
Team picture in foret before we got our new Craft racing suits
At the end of November, I headed to Silver Star with half of the team for a week long altitude training camp. The other half of the team headed to West Yellowstone for some racing. The fact that it was my 7th year in a row training in Silver Star did not reduce my excitement at all, SS will always take my breath away!

The view was amazing

At the top of the mountain
Skiing is fun!

My goal coming into the first NorAm in Canmore was to be on the podium in at least one race so that I could qualify for the European “B tour”, a series of races including 3 OPA cup races ( kind of like NorAm but in Europe) and two World Cup race weekends. At the first race in Canmore, the 5km classic, I finished 2nd and achieved that goal ( and also won a pie, score!) Unfortunately, I did not ski to my potential in the rest of the races and I finished the Sovereign Lake NorAm feeling rather discouraged and disappointed in myself.  I decided not to dwell on it and took T Swifts advice to “shake it off”.

First ever senior NorAm podium, bonus: I won pie!

Before heading home for Christmas where the snow was non existent, I spent another week and a half skiing in Canmore.

Rollerskiing with the sis on  Christmas eve. In case you were wondering, she copied me

This brings me back to the beginning. I am now in Europe for the B tour. We spent the first 10 days in Obertiliach in Austria training for the upcoming races.

With the girls in Obertiliach. From left to right: Dahria, Cendrine,me,Emily and Maya
The past weekend we raced the OPA cup in Planica Slovenia which consisted of a skate sprint, a 10km classic and a 10km skate. The first two races where a little rough with a 31st and 27th place finish. I had trouble pushing hard and getting into my normal racing rhythm. Luckily, on Sunday I had a much better race. Although I did not feel in tip top shape, it was a big improvement and definitely a step in the right direction. I am now feeling much more ready to not only race hard, but to ski fast! 
I am looking forward to racing my very first World Cup race next weekend in Planica. I will keep you posted.
Thanks for reading,
Katherine

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