Photo cred: Emilie Stewart-Jones
Canmore ➡️ Vancouver
Racing at World's was my single and only goal of my season. I had other things that I wanted to accomplish, but they were simply second tier to making the U23 team.
On the 24 hour road trip from Thunder Bay to Canmore following trials, other than staring out the windshield watching the little yellow road lines zip by, it gave me ample time to think about what I wanted to accomplish when I did get to Romania. What expectations did I have of myself, when I lined up on the start, bib on my chest, sweaty palms and heart pounding?
I knew one thing for certain, I was going there to race, and race faster than I have ever gone before. When my heart was pounding out of my chest, and I was pulling my gloves over my sweaty, jittery hands, Id be ready to race at my absolute peak. Just because it was going to be my first up to bat in the majors, doesn't mean that I couldn't hit it out of the park...with the bat flip of course.
I boarded a plane on February 12th from Calgary, flew to Toronto, met up with rest of the band, and boarded a plane to Germany.
Munich. We loaded up the vehicles and drove to Seefield, Austria, snow capital of Europe 2016.
We spent five days in Seefield training and acclimatizing to the jet lag. Perfect tracks and weather every day, delicious food and a beautiful town to ease into the trip.
Austria was the good life, hard to top. With most of the jet lag out of our system we boarded another plane to Buckerest, Romania.
From Burkerest, we bussed through the Romanian country side to the village of Rasnov.
Coming from Seefield to Rasnov, it was a contrast in environment and way of life.
Lack of snow was definitely a big concern upon arrival.
Once I knew that the races were a go, it was a huge relief, weight off my shoulders. Conditions were not ideal, but that sort of thing falls under the department of "everyone is in the same boat".
When the day came, I was ready to race. I was mentally and physically prepared. I raced as fast as I could each day, and that is all that I could have asked of myself. I had the highest of expectations. Did I reach those heights? No, but leaving Romania I can say that I made everything of the opportunity and still skied great races.
The coaches, wax techs and support staff were incredible and worked themselves to the bone to make sure that all the athletes could race to their best.
I returned from Romania still in a great mental and physical place, excited by the thought of racing. I have been to eight Nationals and this was the first that was a repeat venue. It is pretty special that I have had the privilege to travel to Whitehorse and race there more than once.
Nationals was a perfect cap off to my season. Finished 3rd Aggregate U23 and posted some of my best races of the season on the board. It was my best National Championships to date.
I can say through a crooked smile that this is my best season to date. I am proud of what I have achieved, but I know that where I want to go in the sport requires another level of work ethic, focus and sacrifice. The challenge excites me and I can’t wait to take it on next season.
Sprint was fun, looking forward to the 15 km classic tomorrow.
Race day tomorrow.