I’ve finished the last of the summer races that I will do this season and we are well into October. The big fall storms are rolling in strong and we had our first on-snow training day on October 9th (my earliest ever was in 2013 on Oct 3rd)! This time of year is also where I’ve transitioned from playing in the mountains, big long adventure days, to more focused, skimo specific training.
Fall training is almost all uphill specific. I add more intensity to prepare for high-output races but the workouts are always uphill, usually using poles. Easy workouts are also uphill, frequently hiking up where I can get a gondola assist back down to avoid too much strain on my legs. Finally, it is also strength training time. In September, I started adding back in easy strength workouts with high repetitions but low weight. Now that my form is coming back and the muscles are getting used to the movements, it’s time to add weight!
It’s also the time where I have to nail down exactly what I’m going to do this winter. The ’14-’15 season was an incredible one. I spent almost four months living and racing in the Alps on the biggest stage for our sport. When I returned from Europe that Spring, I couldn’t help but feel like while I had a great season, I had only just barely started to figure things out. I knew that if I went back, without the added stress of learning a new continent (my first time to Europe) and a new style of racing, I could certainly improve my performance.
While my ’15-’16 season was a success, I only spent a short amount of time in Europe, competing in two World Cups. I raced in the US and Canada and focused on my PhD research.
The ’16-’17 season is a World Championships year. I’m ready to go back and build on the fitness I’ve been developing and the lessons I learned over the past two years while dedicating my time to another full race season in the Alps. It’s not an easy decision. It’s a really long time to be away from my home, girlfriend, and friends. A season living and racing is also incredibly expensive. Finally, it means time off from school. The plus side though is access to the highest level of racing on the World Cup, a stable living environment with minimal travel, excellent training, and all of the other awesome things that come with spending time in the greatest alpine playground there is. Plus the pizza. I love pizza.
So the plan is to continue training hard this fall to prepare for the US National Team qualifying races in December and January. My goal is to be one of the top four American athletes and qualify for a spot in the Individual event at the World Championships. After the second qualifying race in mid-January, I’ll head to Europe for the first World Cup of the season in Andorra. This was my first World Cup ever in 2015 and I can’t wait to go back. From there, I’ll race throughout the Alps, leading into the World Championships in Italy in February. Immediately following Worlds, is the super-classic race: The Pierra Menta, a four-day team race in which Nick and I have unfinished business. Definitely my ‘A’ race of the season. I’ll stay through the final World Cup and return to Canada at the beginning of April.
I’ve got a big list of race goals but also goals for training. I’ll be looking for a place to stay in Europe (so give me a shout if you have an idea!) and training hard here in BC. I’ve started working on some new aspects of training and will be putting a strong focus on technique. I’ll do my best to write a few more blog posts about that but in the mean time, follow my Instagram (mostly pretty pictures) and my Facebook Page (more about training). This would of course, all not be possible without the help of some great sponsors. More on that soon but for now, it’s been awesome working with Dynafit, Fischer Canada, and Ultimate Direction and I’m looking forward to more in the future!