Thursday, 25 October 2012
Why am I not racing the World Cup opener in Soelden?
In less than 48 hours the Ski World Cup tour will open with a bang in Soelden. Historically this has been a great race for me. It is tough, icy and foreboding. It is where I made history a few years ago - becoming the only British skier to ever win a run in World Cup. That was the day I started to really believe I could win. The day the rest of the world stopped seeing me as a smiley, friendly racer from unsnowy GB but as a threat! So it may surprise you now when I tell you that this year I won’t be starting.
There are numerous reasons for this.
First and foremost GS hasn’t yet clicked for me, as speed has. A combination of the new equipment and the harsh on/off pressure on my leg means that I am inconsistent - sometimes fast, sometimes slow. I have restricted the number of GS days in training I have done over the last 4 months so that my leg eases in to the demands and forces of ski races. In doing so, I have prioritised the speed disciplines - the longer the turn, the more constant the pressure and the less stress on my metal tibia. My downhill is proving to be my best discipline right now - my equipment set up is working fantastically (thanks to all at Atomic) and my feelings on the flats are night and day better than they were before I crashed (mainly thanks to Claire at The Third Space who stripped me back to my physical foundations last year and addressed all the reasons I wasn’t fast on the flats!)
Also I have had enough time away over the last few years to learn about my professional self. I looked long and hard at my results and there was a pattern to my performances, strong early season, strong end with a big dip February. Bearing in mind February is always the month of our most important races (Schladming World Champs 2013, Sochi Olympic Games 2014) it is my aim to change this. By not racing Soelden I am delaying the start to my year and I’m hopeful for a peak in my results come February. Being race ready for Soelden is always a tough one since we have almost a month off racing afterwards, for more training before the World Cup season ‘proper’ begins (and by proper I mean almost every weekend until April!) In past years with good performances at Soelden I have been gagging for the grueling week in week out schedule - harnessing this excitement for a month is tough.
I know it is not ideal. And it will be with sadness and jealousy that I watch the race this Saturday but I have to try something new. I want to be fast when I race. But more than that I want to give myself every opportunity to peak for the biggest goal of my sporting career in 2014.