Since last checking in with you, I’ve had several races and come back to the eastern United States. My races went well early on at Nakiska, but I was deteriorating due to trouble breathing and was unfortunately unable to start my last race. Since returning home, I have visited the doctor and been diagnosed with relatively mild asthma which warranted me getting an inhaler to use pre race. Keeping a positive outlook through my trials and tribulations can be difficult, but I try to keep in mind that becoming a great racer is a process and that figuring out where you have troubles and shortcomings is simply part of the process.
After all, if you showed up to your first race and could win handily, everyone would do it! And besides, where is the fun in that? Spending a fair bit of time around high level athletes, you garner many different perspectives and ideas as to how to go about racing, from the technical side of things, like how to improve absorption on roller sections with a taller build and more leg to torso ratio, to the mental side of things, like understanding how you got passed in your first heat and how to prevent it from happening again. But regardless of the advice you get from most, the best will always tell you that it’s a process, and your willingness to work with that process is what will get you better results, whatever you may do.
Before leaving the west coast, I already had a doctors appointment scheduled for a couple days after my return date. In that time, I trained at Whiteface for a day and managed to wind myself landing at an angle on the heels of my skis and getting muscle contusions in both of my legs. Seeing that I was in tremendous amounts of pain trying to put my feet in my ski boots the following day, I decided to go back home a day early and get some much needed family time. My doctor’s appointment went well and I now have an inhaler to help me with my breathing before athletic events. But, the problem with my legs remained and didn’t provide me with much confidence going into Empire State Games taking place just three days later. After heading back up to Whiteface, I realized the weather was going to allow me a little more time to try and get myself back into shape, since we had torrential rain and wind on Wednesday and it was too warm to practice on the course Thursday, so we would all be in the same situation going into race day Friday on a relatively recently finished course. Since I was still in pain, yet too stubborn to not race, I took a combination of rolled up socks, foam pads, and compression socks and situated my feet in my boots so that I could take pressure off of the affected areas. Believe it or not, it worked out just fine for me and I managed to squeak out a first place finish on the day! I had really tight competition, as my friend and colleague AJ Baker showed up and ran a really fast time trial and pushed me and my abilities to the edge. It was a really close finish, but at the end of the day I was really happy to have him there pushing me to race my fastest and be the best I can be, even when I’m not feeling perfectly healthy. As rough and rowdy as ski cross may seem, most of us have a level of mutual respect for each other as much as we might give each other a hard time! So I’m back at home now trying to get myself rested and back into decent shape before I head off to Ski Cooper in Colorado for more NorAm fun, as well as the first Rev Tour races of the season. I look forward to letting you all know how it goes when I get out there!