3.28.16 Over and Out
This is your last blog post from me…because the World Cup season is now finished! It was a big year and I got to race over 40 times in 9 different countries! These are all the countries I trained and raced in, although I went to some of them more than once: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, USA. I had some great races and got 5 World Cup podiums, but I also had some races that weren’t so great and I learned a lot of lessons from them. Having bad races and then learning from them is what made me faster for the next ones! Overall, I’m very happy with how the year went, and I had a lot of fun traveling and racing with my teammates. We work hard to be good teammates to each other and it makes the long season a lot more fun when you are friends with the people you live with!
The last big block of races for the World Cup was pretty special this year, because we got to race in North America, which we almost never do! And yep, you guessed it…it was another tour! The Tour de Canada started in Gatineau, then went to Montreal and then to Quebec City. Then the entire World Cup hopped on a huge plane and flew to Canmore, on the west side of Canada where we finished up the last 4 races of an 8 stage tour.
It was my best tour yet as I got 3rd place in both the first day’s skate sprint and the last day’s classic pursuit race, and finished 5th overall in the Tour! But the best part of the whole thing was having so many family members there. My parents came to the whole tour with me, but I had a lot of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles that came to either the east side or the west side of the Canadian tour. Seeing them after each race and hearing them cheering for me on the side of the trail was so motivating and helped me race faster! They even made special Podiumwear “Go Jessie!” hats that were sparkly so I could always find them in the crowd! I feel very lucky to have a family that is always there cheering for me (in spirit when they can’t be in Europe with me) and while my parents never pushed me to do any sport, they always were there to cheer me on in every race I decided to enter!
Right now I’m in Craftsbury, Vermont, doing my last races of the year in what we call “spring series”. It’s our only chance to race in the US after being gone all year! And it’s exciting because it’s when all the US skiers can get together and race each other…but it’s also fun and there’s less pressure to race fast and more emphasis on having fun and enjoying going hard on the ski trails with your club teams.
Skiers from around the World:
The last part of the World Cup season was all in Canada. It was so nice to be back on this side of the ocean and on more familiar territory! However, when we were in Quebec it still sometimes felt like we were in Europe because French and English are both national languages in Canada and most of the people spoke primarily French on the eastern side of the tour! So when I would go out running or walking in Quebec city I heard people speaking French all around me and it made me feel like I was back on tour in Europe once again.
When we were racing in Canmore, it was hard not to be distracted by how beautiful the mountains were! Canmore is near Banff national park, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful with snowy peaked mountains surrounding the town and so many different outdoor activities to explore: hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and running. There’s also a ton of wildlife there. It’s not uncommon to see a moose or two, and on our way to the venue for a race one morning the bus had to stop for 5 huge elk to cross the road! During the skiathlon race, as we were flying down one of the big hills, I heard the girl next to me gasp and start to stand up. I looked up the trail and two squirrels were running across the tracks, and we narrowly avoided them. I’ve never hit a squirrel in a race before but I bet it wouldn’t end well for either the skier or the squirrel!
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most ski trails have a lot of winding sections with a lot of corners! If you can learn to go around corners quickly without tripping or wasting energy then it can make you a much faster skier in both sprinting and distance racing. So a fun drill that you can do in any flat open space is to set up a circle made of cones, or water bottles, (or just a line drawn in the snow!) that you have to go around.
Start slowly, using both your poles and your feet stepping around the circle. Then get faster and faster, and as you go around the circle faster you’ll find that you can lean towards the inside and kind of hop as you turn! Make sure you try both directions so you can turn to the right and the left equally well. You can make the circle bigger at the start and as you get better and more comfortable turning you can gradually make the circle smaller and tighter.
I hope you all had a great winter and a lot of fun with your families and friends outside!
Till next season,