Saturday, December 29, 2012

Second top 10 for the season

Four World Cups in four different countries and over two continents in just over 2 weeks… Now that’s a busy schedule!

After the race in Telluride, Val Thorens was the next stop on the World Cup circuit. We had just three days to fly to Milan, drive to France and get over jetlag before the third race of the season. Val Thorens didn’t go quite as well as I would have hoped, just missing out on finals by 3 spots. Conditions were difficult for all the athletes, with more than 50cm of fresh snow over the past 3 days and limited training on the course. I finished 19th, meaning that I didn’t get a chance to race head-to-head against the top 16 qualifying women. A bit disappointing after such a great result in the US just a few days earlier.

After a post-race nutella crepe, the team once again jumped back in the vans and headed to the Dolomites, Italy, for the last race before Christmas. San Candido was the venue for the next event; a beautiful town in the north of Italy nestled beneath some of Europe’s biggest mountains. San Candido has been a stop on the ski cross circuit for four years now. Although I love the place, it has never been my favourite race venue purely because of the ‘average’ results I have had there.  I was convinced that this year would be different!

A fast qualification run put me into 13th place out of a field of 43 girls; a big step in the right direction after Val Thorens.  In the quarterfinals, I had a solid start and pulled out in second place behind Kelsey Serwa of Canada. Half way down the track I made a mistake through one of the turns and was passed by Marion Josserand. I fought the entire way down to make a pass again, but the regrettable mistake kept me back in third, knocking me out of the semi finals. An exciting heat none-the-less. I finished in 10th overall, making it my second top-10 result this season, and putting me in 13th place in the overall rankings.

The women’s big final was undoubtedly one of the most exciting ski cross races I’ve seen. A pass made by Serwa from fourth into first in the middle of the course was textbook and inspiring; an intentional ‘elbow’ from Ophelie David right before the finish caused the Swiss girls to crash hard into the fences; and a last minute disqualification of one of the sports leading athletes (Ophelie David) made for a very exciting race! On a well-built course like this, the sport is incredibly dynamic, vibrant and exciting.

I now have a break over Christmas where I will be spending time with friends and family in Europe. The Aussie ski cross team then re-groups early in the New Year, and we head to France for some training before the next World Cup in Les Contamines.

Public bib draw with local kids before finals, Val Thorens, France.

Plenty of snow in France.

My biggest fans; Mum and Dad. At the World Cup in Val Thorens.

Froggy-style moves in San Candido, Italy. 

Getting air in the Dolomites during qualifications. 

Last minute tactics before finals; San Candido. Scotty, myself, Anton and Matt.

View from my bedroom at the Australian Institute of Sport in Varese, Italy.

La Sella Ronda, Domolites.