I know it is long overdue so here is my season blog!
January was a rough month, I knew what I wanted to do on skis and I could visualise myself doing it but when it came to actually doing it on race day I was lost. It was so frustrating having a good run here and there but never being able to stick two good runs together. It was also a constant frustration watching good race opportunities pass me by and beating myself up definitely didn’t help. However, slowly but surely a few more races started to come together until I scored a result in GS. It wasn’t the career changing result I was looking for but it was an important day for me because I managed to put two good runs together.
I actually did a couple of slalom races in my season too. My aim was to get my points down for the British Championships where my goal was to reclaim my overall title. Funnily enough, going into a race with no expectations and actually not really caring about the result meant that I scored my second best ever slalom result… not too bad considering it was my first slalom race in a few years! It was interesting to see what a few encouraging words from a coach did to my confidence in slalom too.
My favourite part of the season was probably the last 6 weeks. Mainly because I got back on my Super G skis! My first races were in Pila, not my ideal slope as most of it is as flat as a pancake but it felt so good to be doing speed again! Next up was the Europa Cup Super G Finals in Sella Nevea, Italy. I had never been and I had no idea what to expect of the hill and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how technical it was. I was also surprised to see that the slope was the iciest I had ever seen a speed track. Despite perfect weather, the race was pushed back a day due to the snow not having frozen enough and the race organisers were worried that the icy surface could crack to reveal slush underneath. The good part was that this gave me another day to memorise the technical course. On race day I was nervous but confident. I knew the course perfectly and I was determined to prove my place in the Europa Cup standings. My confidence paid off as I crossed the finish line in 19th place from bib 45 making my best ever Europa Cup result, my first top 20 and my first Europa Cup points in Super G. It was a really cool race. My teammate, Alice, came second and the best part was that the night before, in the ski room, all the other teams were looking at us like we were a joke because we were brushing our own skis and then when it came down to it, we beat a lot of those girls in the race!
After the Europa Cup there was just time for a few more Super G races in Italy where I took a win and 2nd place and then it was time to head over to France for the French and British Championships. On the way to France I stopped in at my bikini factory to pick up my newest product, sports bras. There are only a limited number of sports bras left, which you can buy here, but they were such a hit that I will be producing more!
First up were the French Championships. I didn’t ski well in the first run pf the GS which is why I’m proud that I got my butt into gear to have a really good second run, just over a second off Tessa Worley! Knowing I could do better in the Super G I was ready to go. The super G didn’t look difficult, it was a nice mixture of steep and flat and the snow was perfect. It was a lot faster than I expected. I think it was probably the fastest super g I have ever done and I’m not afraid to admit that I felt like I was going too fast on a few turns to actually turn my skis! However, I stuck with it and actually did ok, finishing in the top 10 amongst the best French racers in the world. Luckily, we had a second super g race and I knew I had to really go for it. The snow had melted a little so the speeds were lower and I’m really proud of the way I skied, finishing 9th and scoring a 37, which takes my points to the lowest they have ever been! This season I really trusted my coaches and I know they know what they’re talking about when it comes to speed so despite doing less speed training than ever before during the winter, I’m better than I’ve ever been before.
In between the French Champs and the British I raced in Val Thorens. I took a win in the GS which was a great feeling, especially because I got to share the podium with one old Orsatus team mate and one new ISRA teammate! Unfortunately, I then became very ill, just a good old dose of the flu but I had it bad. In the second GS I had to go to the van to nap between inspection and the race runs and despite winning the first run by over a second, I couldn’t keep it together and I skied out just 5 gates into the second run. I needed some serious rest and medicine to make it through the last week of the season!
It was time for the British Championships that this year, were held again in Tignes, France. It was nice to be back to racing in such a familiar resort. Due to the weather the downhill was up first. It was my first and last one of the season! The last time I had skied a downhill had been in Tignes the previous year… when I had broken my leg. It didn’t inspire me with confidence so thank goodness for the training runs. I have to admit that I threw my skis sideways before the jump in the first training run though! It was a big jump and I wasn’t ready for it. I had two good training runs and I knew what to do for the race run. The downhill race was really good. I skied well, I got my line right and I took the win! It was a nice feeling to be able to get my name back on that trophy. I was over the moon when I took the win in the Super G too meaning that for the first time I was British “speed” champion, taking the win in both disciplines in the same year.
Next up was the slalom… I was starting bib 45 with 147 points. Not ideal! But it was a fun day and I fought my way to the finish in 10th place and 5th Brit. The last event of the championships was the GS. I was so nervous, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for a race. This resulted in me skiing the most cautious GS run of my life which left me 4th Brit and not where I wanted to be! I knew I needed to fight my way back up the rankings for second run and with nothing to lose I did, finishing 2nd Brit behind Tilley. This result also secured me the British Overall title for the 5th time; what a relief! I also won the Victor Ludorum, always a good one to win because it meant I beat the boys too!
Looking back at my season I’m pleased with my super g skiing although I don’t think my results yet reflect the level I can be skiing at. My relationship with GS was very up and down. The frustration of not being able to race the way I train was huge and I’m determined not to make the same mistake in this coming season. After the winter it was time for a break and I was so excited to head to the Caribbean for 3 weeks of sailing. Being away from skiing does great things for my head and although I do struggle to leave behind sailing to go back to the snow, I know it’s where I’m meant to be for now. The next time I’m on snow will be in Mammoth in California for a two-week training camp. It’s exciting to be skiing somewhere new and I’m looking forward to starting the 2019/2020 season.
It's me, Cara!