Happy 2013 everyone!
On December 30th of last year I hopped on a plane to Thunder Bay. This year, World Junior Trials (the Canadian qualifier event for Worlds) was to be held in this northerly town on the edge of Lake Superior from January 3rd-6th; I wanted to get in a couple of days of pre-race training on the race courses. My team was not showing up until the 1st of January, so I spent my first two nights rooming with my friends Greg Kilroy (the Cross Country Canada athlete rep) and Leif Lenny (former NDC Thunder Bay athlete). Huge thanks to them for putting me up, and to their landlord (none other than Adam Kates, coach of Lakehead University and Big Thunder ski teams!) for lending me a super comfy mattress so I didn’t have to crash on the couch!
After some solid pre-race training days at Lappe Nordic I moved, on the 1st, into the hotel where my team would stay until our return to Ottawa on the 6th. On Thursday (the 3rd), the first race of the event was relatively late in the day. I don’t think I have ever been more stressed before a race in my life. At 1:17pm, the “3 minutes to start” was shouted out over the speakers at the Nordic Centre, and I pulled off my warm-ups and stepped into my skis. “2 minutes to start.” “1 minute.” “30 seconds. . .”
At the beginning of the training season last year, I posted up a big piece of paper on my wall. It was to be a map. At the top I wrote “goals for May”. At the bottom I wrote “qualify for and place top 30 in each race at Worlds”.
. . .and the race started.
I have been pretty confident about my abilities this year but, unfortunately, in sport and in life, nothing can be taken for granted--and there’s always a part of you, deep down, that has doubts.
As it turned out, the skiathlon on Thursday was one of the better races I’ve had, and I managed to carry that momentum into the classic sprint race on Saturday, and the 15km skate race Sunday.
Finally after the skate race (and an hour or two of anxious anticipation in the Lappe Nordic lodge!) I was congratulated and informed that I had made the Canadian Junior Team for Worlds!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited.
So! Now comes the hard part. Next Saturday I’ll leave Ottawa for Europe--and the most competitive, intense races of my life! I am so stoked.
This last week has been an amazing one--and not just for me! I’d like to give a shout-out to Katherine and Patrick Stewart-Jones, fellow teammates who made the Junior Worlds and U23 Worlds teams respectively!! I also have to make a shout-out to all the other Nakkertok athletes who did so well this past week: more than once it was one of you guys at the finish line first. Congrats!!
HUGE thanks to the awesome Nakkertok support team as they did everything and more to make this week a best ever. Huge thanks to SuperMikeVieira for the years of coaching that have prepared me, and many other athletes for this event, and--of course--for the spirited race motivation and cheering!! And, last but most definitely not least, huge thanks to my awesome coach Kieran, who has done everything to make me and the other Nakkertokers SUPERFAST!
Find pictures from the event here: http://www.lappenordic.ca/gallery.html
Find results here: http://new.zone4.ca/
The race season has only just begun: dream big, people!!