Ever since the very first workout of the season last May, my eyes have been set on U23 World Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah. I sat down with my coach, as I do every season, and we put together the ideal plan, Plan A. The plan was pretty simple. Part 1 would consist of the summer and fall training, arguably the most important months of the year for cross-country skiers. The main focus would be on training at altitude to be as prepared as possible when it was time to race at 1800m in Utah. Part 2 would consist of the ski season leading up to the championships. Together, we decided it would be best for me to race the Noram circuit in December rather than race on the World Cup circuit. This would allow me to build into the season, gain confidence (something I was lacking last season) and hopefully race at my fastest come February. After Worlds we had no plans, I would go with the flow. Plan B was buried somewhere in the back on my mind, but I would not allow myself to think about it.
How did Plan A work out I the end?
The summer training went almost perfectly. With only a few minor setbacks I came out of the training season feeling fitter than ever! Then, as planned, I built into the racing season and earned myself a spot on the U23 World Champs team. Seems alright doesn’t it?
Then came time for the real test: U23 World Champs.
If I had to describe my races at U23’s in one word it would be “okay”.
OK1 (əʊˈkeɪ/) (adjective): Satisfactory but not especially good.
Although now that I read the actual definition I realize that it is somewhat flawed. “Good but not especially satisfactory” would be a better description. Overall I am quite happy with my races. I pushed hard, I had a lot of fun and I learned a couple of things along the way. But am I satisfied? No. Like any high level athlete, I am constantly on the search of that “perfect feeling”. The feeling where you are racing your heart out and your legs, your arms and your lungs are hurting but you feel amazing all at the same time. The feeling where everything comes together. For all 3 races in Soldier Hollow, I can think of many positive points and these small accomplishments are what make them good races but I was missing that “perfect feeling”. I left U23 World Champs with a pit in my stomach, a growing hunger that got me fired up for the rest of the season.
Fortunately my season was not even close to being over. I was given the opportunity represent Canada at senior World Champs in Lahti, Finland. SENIOR WORLD CHAMPS!!!!!!!
This was a dream come true.
To add a little bit of suspense, a blog post about Senior World Champs will be posted later this week.
As always, thank you for reading!