It’s been a long few weeks since leaving St. Moritz after the last speed World Cups where the wind sabotaged a good Downhill run I had going for myself and where I earned some of my first Super-G World Cup points in several years then it was back to the states for the World Champs in Beaver Creek. As many times as I pictured the World Champs, thought about it, dreamed about it, fought for it and did all that I could to be there and show my skiing it was still a pretty disappointing week for me. All the great images I had in mind and great hopes were slowly dashed day by day as the speed week went on. It felt like missing Sochi all over again.
I had hopes going into World Champs that I could have some amazing Downhill training runs and show that I had a real shot at making the podium and that I should be given the chance to race. Unfortunately I did not show that spark in the training runs and things felt so stacked against me with not having ever run the Downhill course on the Raptor before, the second of three Downhill training runs being cancelled, the snow being soft and bally the third training run not allowing anyone to push the limit, to the final training run before the Super Combi being stuck on the chairlift for 15 minutes while I stared at the start and watched racers go out of the gate while my start number crept closer and closer till I was only getting off the chairlift when I was supposed to kick out of the gate. As I had the last starting bib of the day the start referee graciously(one of the many amazing workers,officials,organizers and volunteers that made the World Champs run so smoothly) gave me an extra interval to rip my clothing off, click into my Downhill skis, hear a quick scrambled course report and then seconds later kick out of the gate as the lights went out with clouds moving in and putting a dark shadow on the course top to bottom. Not exactly feeling prepared and ready to hurl myself down the Raptor after that ordeal…
I always knew Sochi was a long shot with my injury but really felt like I could be a contender by the World Champs and that was always my goal and I never doubted that I couldn’t do it. In the end I’m not upset with not being selected to race in the Downhill or Super Combi, I simply did not earn it or deserve it. Looking at the results there was no way I should I have been chosen for the Downhill, the numbers simply did not add up. I feel bad about the whole thing in general, but as I experienced with missing Sochi I know it will only be some less than happy memories and that I have the future to look forward to and that anything is possible in the future. One of the consolations I have is that I am actually healthy at this point and skiing and able to do what I love even if it is a struggle at certain moments and I just want to be over “being hurt” and forget the whole thing like it never happened.
Just a couple days ago I was in Davos, Switzerland for some Europa Cup Super-G’s where the first race I skied like a silly Sally and was over two seconds out (I still do not even understand how that happened, I swear I felt FINE) to the next day having a pretty good run and finally feeling some stuff on course that I have been working at for a long time. I actually felt myself skiing deep into the turn gate after gate, and not panicking and throwing my feet away from me and loosing that connection to the snow and ski, I just kept it going and it was AWESOME. I felt that feeling I have in Downhill where everything is linking and I felt so strong and trusting of myself and thinking “oh yea I’m gonna ski deep in to this turn, and wow, I’ve got like tons of time, I don’t need to hook the end of the turn cause I’m totally cool and confident right now, so I’ll just build the pressure up over my new outside ski, stick my ski right there, nice, and waaaaaaaa, sick turn, ok, now again,….blah, blah, blah,” or something like that.
So after Beaver Creek where I felt so let down and crushed, like a total failure and like it was all pointless if I can’t even reach “plan B” as my goal (Sochi being Plan A) and that ski racing was giving me so much pain, stress, unhappiness and ski racing was being a total jerk to me and not being fair or nice that I got right back on that sardine can of an airplane, flew over to Switzerland and had one of those runs that reminded of the good and great things of the sport that keep me coming back. No matter how much a jerk ski racing can be…those great moments of skiing, friendship, camaraderie and sweet moments of success and happiness somehow can overcome all the crappy days when you want to give up.