I’m walking through Whistler Village eating a slice of Avalanche Pizza and I don’t think I could be any happier. This place has never felt more like home. I have so many great memories in this space- grateful to have spent so much time here.
The team arrived in Whistler directly from a training week in Norway. The track here in Whistler is still the fastest in the world. The trackcrew keeps the ice flawless. It feels like the sled is running on rails- it's so smooth. Even though sleds push 140 km/h, it’s easy to keep your composure because you can’t feel the bumps.
I’ve had more trips down this track than anywhere else- I’ve been coming here to train since 2008. It really is my home track. The thing about getting comfortable with a track is that you can eventually let the sled do all the work; All the steers and corrections you have to make start to become lighter and almost effortless. I call that feeling flow. It’s what I try chase everywhere I go. The key to the track is to strike the balance between flow and effort- you want to steer as little as you can while still staying on the correct line.
The best part about growing up on this ice is that I know I can handle anything coming my way. It's a great feeling to sit at the start, peer down at the track, and feel nothing but eagerness to go as fast as I can. When I’m sliding here, unlike anywhere else, I can let the sled find it's way down the track. I don't have to force anything. Everything just makes sense.
This week tested my mental toughness. We did double sliding sessions on top of weight training. The days were long and hard and we didn't get many breaks. There were a few times where I thought I couldn’t hack it. But, I reminded myself that this challenge would help me foster a sense of self-confidence for this season. I know that every run I take will help me get to where I want to be. I can always find something to improve.
We wrapped the week off with a race amongst the team. This was the first race of the Olympic year and the first opportunity we had to really push ourselves. This was the first race in a series of 3 races to determine who makes the national team and, eventually, who will be given the chance to compete for an Olympic Spot. Read more on Olympic selection on the next blog.
The track was immaculate and, despite some mental fatigue, I knew I was ready to hit it. It's always nice waking up to fresh snow on race day- it means the temperature is low enough for fast ice.
I felt rushed getting together and had to cut my warmup short to get ready for the first run. The run itself felt easy. As the corners went by, I could feel myself relax and go into autopilot. I have done this track so many times that I didn’t need to think about it. I nailed the transitions and did my best to melt into the sled. I had one driving error in the lower section, but nothing major. For the second run, I had more time to get ready. As I was going to down, the transitions between curves felt even better than the first. I knew that I could just let the sled fly. I’m happy to say that those were the two best runs I could deliver that day. I’m proud of them.
I want to find this feeling on different tracks this year. I think this is the mental-state in which I am my best. The first face I saw at the finish was my mom-- who made a quick trip to watch me race. I was so thrilled. The whole week came together in the best way. The runs were clean and I learned a lot about the state in which I like to compete. I'm happy to leave Whistler on a positive note.
Honestly, this track feels like home. The people, the crew, the ice, the scenery, the memories— all hold a special place in my heart and always will. Next test- a week of training in Calgary.
In the meantime,
Whistler, I love you.