I can remember vividly when the IOC made the announcement on July 2, 2003, that the 2010 Olympic Games would be held in Vancouver. At the time I was 19 years old, and in the minutes following that announcement, I decided that I would do everything I possibly could to represent Canada at our home Olympics in 7 years time. Every squat, every cold training session, and all the pain of physical exertion was worth it to get me one step closer to fulfilling my Olympic aspirations.
This spring, after the season had come to an end, I found myself lost. I no longer had something to strive for day in and day out. All of the build-up and excitement of not only representing Canada at the Olympics, but the process of getting there was all behind me now. Setting my sights forward to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi seemed so far away, and I didn’t know where or how to start all over again. There was no question in my mind that I wanted to continue my journey towards Olympic gold; it was just a matter of how to motivate myself in the short term in order to reap the benefits long term.
I was suffering from an Olympic hangover. I had mentally and physically exerted myself, charging at an unsustainable rate of 110% for the past three seasons.
In order to clear my head and rest some ailing injuries, I needed to get away and give myself an opportunity to recharge. The three weeks in the spring that we call our off-season couldn’t have come any sooner. I packed a bag with my warm weather gear and headed for the Tropics. First I went to Maui with a few teammates and a great group of friends, and then I was off to Sayulita, Mexico with my girlfriend for 10 days. The warm sunshine and pristine blue waters are definitely a good way to clear the body and mind. This summer marked the start of a new 4-year cycle. With the exception of our head coach, Dusan Grasic, the entire coaching staff on the technical team has changed. Generally speaking, the end of an Olympic cycle marks a time for new beginnings. After working with the same strength and conditioning trainer for the previous five years, the addition of two new trainers this summer was a refreshing change. With a stronger focus on Sport Science, our new trainers bring to the table a far more sport-specific approach to off snow training. Having shocked my body with a whole new array of exercises, I definitely feel more prepared physically for the upcoming season, and as the on-snow portion of our summer training resumes, I feel like I am already ahead of where I left off at the end of last season.
Currently I am in Solden, Austria for a unique 1-on-1 training camp with our head coach. Earlier this summer a lingering knee injury forced me to leave the on-snow training camp in New Zealand ahead of schedule to return home to have minor arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. I am happy to report that the knee is feeling close to 100% and the pain that I was dealing with since a crash last January has nearly all subsided. When the rest of the team flies over later this week, I will be ready to join them in Tignes, France as we move into the race-specific phase of our training. With the World Cup season just around the corner, it is time to find my race form again and get ready to kick some European butt.
With my first complete World Cup season under my belt, I no longer consider myself a rookie. I finished last season ranked 24th in the World in slalom, and I’m definitely looking to improve on that this year. My goals for this season are mainly slalom-based, but I still want to keep progressing in giant slalom as well since I am looking to defend my Canadian giant slalom title at the end of the season. Specifically speaking I’m looking to finish inside the top-16 in slalom. In order to do so, I’d like to see myself consistently finishing in the top 15, and ultimately, sneak inside the top 10 in at least two races this season.
Well, that’s all from me for now. I have a few days left to get myself in the competitive spirit before the rest of the team. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer and I will be in touch soon.
Until next time,
PS – For those of you that haven’t been to my website lately, I’m happy to report that there was a complete overhaul on it this summer. Working with Jenn from Purplelemon Graphics – a new sponsor of mine – was a huge treat and a great experience. The two of us spent quite a few hours together over the summer to not only revamp my website, but to put together a sponsorship package that was an integral part of helping me secure some new sponsors for the upcoming season (more on that in my next update).