2016 was a difficult and frustrating year. I remember watching Laura Trott on TV after the Rio Olympics and her engagement was announced and she said that 2016 was the best year of her life. I couldn’t believe how my life could have been so different after hurting my knee and spending over half my year in rehab. However, it made me determined to appreciate 2017 as much as possible!
My year started off struggling through the winter season, making small changes in each race and slowly gaining confidence. I ended my season by defending my British Ladies Champion title for the fourth year in the row, despite not performing as well as I wanted in a number of events it was nice to know my skiing was still there.
After the season, I passed my BASI Level 2 in Hintertux, Austria. This meant that I could spend a few weeks coaching younger, up and coming British skiers with ATC. The camps were really good fun and even though I was worn out by the end of them, coaching was so rewarding. I also spent a week in Chill Factor in Manchester, coaching for Ambition and Atomic racing camps.
In my downtime this summer I learnt how to kiteboard on the lake by my home in Varese, Italy. There isn’t loads of wind but there was enough for me to get up and going! I’m definitely looking forward to more windy days next summer so I can practice more. When the wind was down I learnt to wakeboard and water ski too which made the summer go by quickly.
Before I knew it, it was time to head down to Chile for a three-week speed camp. The training was amazing but the races didn’t go to quite to plan… I kept making silly mistakes. It was so frustrating especially since I knew I had been fast in training throughout the summer months. Just before the final set of races in El Colorado, I hurt my knee landing off a jump. It made the final races very challenging as I struggled with pain and dosing painkillers so I could still attempt to ski.
While I was in Chile, the awful news of hurricane Irma and Maria came through. The hurricanes passed straight through the British Virgin Islands, where my family has a sailing boat and where I have spent weeks on holiday for the past 15 years. Unfortunately, our boat sunk during the hurricane. However, it was little compared to the damage the islands have sustained. Parts of the island still don’t have power and running water nearly 4 months later. If there was ever a time to take a holiday to the Caribbean, go now! The islands look like they did 50 years ago before they started to be developed.
When I came back from Chile I took a three week break to give my knee some rest, and although it took me a few weeks to realise it, my head also wanted a break. Even though I wasn’t skiing through much of 2016, I never stopped working towards being fitter and stronger and I just needed a time-out. I had become so tired and fed up with not getting the results I wanted in racing that I was ready to pack skiing in completely. Everything just seemed so much harder than before, I was done fighting and I had forgotten what it was that I enjoyed about the sport so much. I needed all the time off to get my head back to a place where I knew exactly what I wanted: I held onto that Olympic dream.
When I put my skis back on I started skiing faster than I had in over a year. I was ready to go again! The racing hasn’t stopped this season. I’ve done nearly 30 races and it’s not even January. I made my first ever EuropaCup points in Giant slalom in Norway and had some great runs and races. As usual the issue is putting two good runs together in one race… In order to avoid the two run problem, in January I will be focusing on speed which consists of only one run! There are still 3 weeks of races left before the Olympic qualification date and I’ll be keeping that goal in mind every time I push out the start gate.
I would like to thank my equipment and personal sponsors for standing by me for the past 12 months. My parents and coaches for always believing in me and pushing me every day. Thank you for reading my blogs, I hope you’ve found them interesting!
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It's me, Cara!