Good is good. But not good enough. There’s a start line and a finish line. There’s a results page, an elapsed time and then there’s my name. Yet that doesn’t even begin to capture the whole story! My season has been going well to date and I feel great racing and am having a lot of fun. I'm cherishing these races because I know it is my last season. This past weekend of Continental Cup racing in Campra, Ticino (classic sprint and 10km Skate) was no exception. The snow was dumping, avalanche danger caused course closures because of a potential slide path on the course, the wind was vicious, not to mention rain and sleet who came to party too. Being exposed to the elements and whatever nature throws your way is so thrilling. That added chaos to an already nervous race venue environment gives me butterflies. This was not always the case. I’ve always been confident in skate technique, but classic was another beast. Often times, when the conditions weren’t perfect and I didn’t have an autobahn-of-a-classic track with blue kick wax and moderate climbs, I had already counted myself out. Avoiding this sort of amygdala high-jack is something I’ve worked on as diligently on as I have on my technique.
I finished 9th place in the classic sprint prologue and 11th place overall this past weekend. This means that my dream of making the Swiss Olympic team is over. I am the strongest domestic Swiss woman when it comes to sprint qualifiers and feel really proud of my accomplishments to date, but without a win or at least a podium on the COC circuit and no World Cup points this season, there is no chance of further World Cup starts and therefore making an Olympic qualification standard; facts that I have to accept. A tangle in my semi-final in Campra meant that I didn’t advance into the final. I didn’t realize that this upset me until yesterday! I was having so much fun and pumped up on adrenaline that I didn’t feel like that should be how my Olympic dream ended. You just can’t lose when you’re having fun! The reality has now caught up to me, and my dear mother listened to my tears of defeat on the phone.
Away from the start and finish line, behind the results page and the elapsed time is my all-encompassing story. I won’t be going to the 2018 Olympics, but I refuse to let this define me and prevent me from enjoying what I’m doing. I didn’t move to Switzerland as a safe option. I was well aware of the Swiss Olympic criteria from the beginning, and that choosing this more challenging road could compromise my shot at the Olympics. Not achieving your dreams – hurts! Being good, but not good enough – hurts! Being so close, and coming up short – ouch doggie! Despite this hurt, I am enjoying most liberating feeling of all. I performed well and have no regrets.
Since moving to Davos in 2015 and racing for Switzerland, I haven’t become a new Heidi, but rather more ‘Heidi’. I have identified myself as a Swiss-Canadian and throughout my triumphs and upsets, I feel more myself than ever before. Exploring my Swiss heritage, learning a language, adventuring and a new challenge is exactly what I came here for. And boy did I get what I signed up for! So, what now? I’m going to be following some Loppets around central Europe and seeing what kind of long distances this sprint body can handle. Planoiras in Lenzerheide on Sunday (25km Skate), Night Sprint in Lienz, Dolomitenlauf (42km Skate), Surselva (25km Skate) and König Ludwiglauf (50km classic) to name a few.