Here we are at the end of February and the main objective of my season I've accomplished. Now it's time for the second part of the season with the last objectives for this year which are more centred on lowering my points and of course, the national championships in April!
The past weeks were amazing. I’ve travelled to France for my first race at the world championships (Alpine combined: one super g run and one slalom run). Not being very experienced in speed, and not training it this year, I went into the race just to get the experience of a world championship start before the main event (slalom) which would come the following week. Not to make things easier, the «Eclipse»(race slope), is one of the most difficult on the whole circuit and it has been very well prepared by the organisation. So not actually much snow left, more ice!!
My first run actually went quite well despite two huge mistakes (little direction problem on one gate where I lost quite a lot of time, followed by and arm caught in a gate at 100km/h!) but despite those mistakes, I actually surprised myself and everyone else on my performance because I attacked from top to bottom without being overwhelmed by the atmosphere. I finished 42nd from bib 51.
But now with the super g done, it was my favourite leg coming up - The slalom. The slope was very steep and icy adding to a very challenging course. The best skiers will naturally stand out. So I started knowing I had nothing to lose from 42nd and it would only be experience for the future.
I skied really well down the steep, which at the first spilt time put me from 42nd into 12th! Unfortunately after that, a speed mistake lead into a straddle (again). So I was out. But I decided to hike back up to complete the race, and I finished! 22nd and last, but I showed everyone what I was made of. I felt proud despite the result.
Straight after the race I headed to Switzerland to compete in two Europa cups, where ill be joining some team mates. Unfortunately this very icy slope got us all out both days.
I then headed back to France for my second race, the slalom. Because I’m not in the top 50 in the world, I need to go through a Qualification the day before where I have to finish in the top 25 to be able to compete the next day. This race is a very tactical race because knowing my level, I just have to make it both runs in the finish and I will qualify easily. I skied very securely and made it into 8th, qualifying me for the main race. The main race was the most stressful race I’ve ever performed in, and after the second run when I saw the results: I was liberated from a huge weight!!
The next day it was race day! I joined Laurie, Billy, and Dave to make it 4 brits in a world championship slalom, (which I guess didn't happen often).
The slope was looking even more icy which isn't going to make things easy.
I started really good, but then a mistake at the same place as in the combined nearly got me out but I pushed back in and gave it my all to finish, from the first split down to the finish I was battling for a really good result (34-38place) not far off the top 30 but my big mistake on top made me finish in 48th, which is not that bad actually but I was disappointed with myself because I knew I could do much better than that. BUT there was still a second run to prove them wrong.
Britain went into the second run with 4 athletes still on course, which is amazing. The second runs course was quite extreme, very turny and slow on a very icy slope. Not my favourite, but we have to send it as always. I pushed out of the start very determined but unfortunately the swingy course caught me low and came out. So not the result I expected but what an experience it was and I know that the whole event will help me in the future.
After the race, we left to go back to Austria, where I found out that I was getting dropped in Innsbruck for two races in one day the following day.
I finished 4th on the first race, and if it wasn’t enough, I finished 4th on the second race again.
After that huge block very demanding mentally and physically, I had a little health collapse. I needed a break! So at the moment I’m having a week off, to get me back in form before starting the second part of the season with my mind free of all pressure.