Since my last post from Slovenia, the rain thankfully stopped and the water that fell as rain in Slovenia, blanketed Davos in snow. I was so grateful to come back to my Swiss home and have winter for real. It's been great to catch up with winter, I almost forgot what it really felt like! Skiing up the Dischma and Sertig valleys is hard to beat. The month of January was also filled up with a weekend of World Cup skate sprinting, both individual and team sprint, as well as racing the anchor leg in the 4x5km Relay in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
Quick Note: New personally designed greeting cards available here - just in time for Valentine's Day.
The weekend following the COC races in Planica, SLO saw us back at the same site but suiting up for a World Cup this time around. I was stoked to have snuck into the top-30 yet again this season, qualifying in 27th. It's a slow collection of World Cup points, but I am proud of every one! My one and only quarter final heat was over before I knew it. I spent to much gas trying to find a hole through the field and was spent 2/3's of the way through. I can't forget to mention that all four Swiss women posted top-30 results. It may only take two to tango, but four is even better.
You can check out the action from sprint day here
The day following the skate individual sprint, I started in the sprint relay with Tatjana Stiffler. An incredible opportunity and great to have two Swiss ladies' teams starting! That makes four ladies tangoing on the World Cup. I was on the starting leg and unfortunately, the high speed through the first curve with a lot of aggressive (and sketchy) women saw me into the boards. In my peripheral vision I could see someone going down and although I moved as far out of the way as possible, the perimeter boards to my left broke my fall. I was taken out along with another competitor.Three down in one fall is some pretty good human bowling! However, all skis, poles and bones were intact. As frustrating as it was to bail in a team sprint, getting back up and chasing is always good practice. Tatjana skied really well and we ended the day in 14th overall. Pumped for the next chance we can tango again!
I have slowly been adapting the Euro mentality and concept of time and travel. Driving 7 1/2 hours back from Slovenia is now epic and even more than that is driving the following weekend to Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. 8 1/2 hours on Thursday and then back on Sunday afternoon. When compared to North American standards, that's an average weekend of racing for a lot of athletes yet is almost lunatic in the Euro mindset. Driving hours aside, the travel was well worth the racing. Nathalie Von Siebenthal, Lydia Hiernickel, Nadine Fähndrich and myself started the 4 x 5km Relay for Switzerland. The first women's relay start since 2010, and the first completed women's relay since 2007. I was super nervous leading into this race. So much nervous excitement! I started the final skate leg, and felt amazing on my first of two 2.5k laps. The thoughts in my head were something like 'Those girls don't look like they're going very fast, I feel great, I'm gonna go for it'. I was way too excited and although I had us in 6th position for the first half of my race, the world caught up with me and we finished in 8th. Any successful 5k that I've had in the past has happened because I skied it aggressively but a little patience and strategy would've gone a long way for me on Sunday! Hold your horses, Heidi. I am really proud to have been part of this team and I hope to see more of that from Switzerland in the future. An important first step for our team and program is even having a team on the start line.
Coverage of the relay can be found here
Looking ahead to the next couple of weeks, I have my sights on the COC races February 5-7 in Campra, SUI as well as World Cup start in Lahti, Finland for the skate sprint on February 20th. Looking forward to taking a spin on the course for the 2017 World Championships!
I've been asked about my chances at the Tour de Canada and - it will be a long shot. Like, a really long and honestly impossible shot for me to have a start there. The Swiss team will mainly be taking athletes in the red group and keeping the team relatively small due to travel costs and service support for the month of March. As much as I would love to race in beautiful Canada, there is more than enough competition and racing here to keep me busy! In March, I'll race a COC distance race weekend in Germany, a night sprint and Engadin Marathon as well as the Swiss Nationals.
Have you heard? Pachamamma Greeting Cards are available for purchase and would you look at that? A perfect design for your loved one, secret crush or family member for Valentine's Day. Share the love!