I'm full swing into learning the curves of the cows, roads, mountain trails, new language and training rhythm. As with most of my learning curves, I'm on the two steps forward, one step backwards track. For everything I say correctly in German, guaranteed I've screwed up two other phrases. For every trail or road that I choose correctly, I've probably taken at least a few wrong turns prior. None the less, progress is progress and although it is slow and Heidi is impatient with the process at times, I have to remind myself where I am and what I'm undertaking. Then I do a little mountain yodel, take a deep breath, look at the mountains and life is pretty damn awesome.
Training has slowly been coming back into form and with every training camp that we do, I am a bit more confident in my energy, ability and fitness. Compared to what I'm used to, this year of training is completely different. I had a much bigger break in the spring than usual and a slow start in general to getting back into training, intensity and strength. Compared to Canada, the Swiss team does shorter training camps but more frequently. Every 2 to 3 weeks the team comes together to train for 5-7 days and in the time between, athletes go to their respective homes to train. In the past month we were in Flumserberg, SG for a training camp as well as Davos, GB. It is a different rhythm to get used to but I really enjoy the flexibility between camp dates as well as the frequency that the team comes together to train.
The camp in Flumserberg was combined with Junior level athletes and prospective Swiss Ski team athletes so it was a great mix of ability and ages. The weather was hot, the roads were steep and the training was hard but I was happy to have good food and happy faces alongside for the week. A couple of highlights included a 4 hour tour of the entire Walensee by foot and rollerskiing as well as cruising the rodelbahn down the mountain.
Last week, the training camp was based in Davos and exploring new terrain under great skies was another highlight while being able to sleep at home. The camp was wrapped up with a double pole test up the Sertig valley. Compared to the ~5min double pole test we do in Canmore, this was epic! It's over half an hour of double poling (for me anyway) for 7.2k, from gradual to steep climbs. Not an event that I'm training for in the winter but if I can compare my time in the fall to myself in August and note the improvement then I will be more motivated to try the test again. I could only stick to one gear speed and jammed it out for the whole way. That was no piece of cake.
Our next training camp will be on snow in the Oberhof ski tunnel at the end of the month and although it doesn't compare to skiing outdoors - I am pumped to be able to do some kick and glide in the summer!
My parents visiting, a new apartment and the language studying has kept me busy in between training. Learning German in Switzerland is a bit of a funny game. I'm taking an online course with Athabasca for High German yet surrounded by Swiss German. Which, the more I learn the more I realize, how different the two languages really are. Initially, I thought it was mainly pronunciation that differentiated the two languages. Now I'm realising the extent to which the vocabulary, pronunciation and conjugation also differs. At the moment, it seems like my English is getting worse (sometimes it takes me ages to remember simple words in English. Pantry?) and my German isn't getting any better! At a bit of a standstill but I'm hoping to either get a tutor here in Davos or take classes starting at the end of this month.
It feels so good to say that I am finding a rhythm and getting my feet underneath me! I'm now working on finding a head sponsor for this winter to support my expenses while living here. However, in the meantime, if you're interested in supporting me - there's a nifty button below that will guide you through the process!
The learning curve is far from over but I'm figuring out ways to ride the highs and lows of this massive wave.