Just got back from Argentina. We travelled around the Patagonia region to different places for racing and training, starting off in Esquel, where the weather was not great! We could not ski, so we played football instead. However on the last day, the weather got a tiny bit better and we managed 4 runs of powdery GS before our first race the next day in Chapelco, which was a South American Cup race.
Despite having bare minimum training before hand, and being one of very few competitors on the new 30m radius 188 skis, I managed to score a PB of 55 points. I also got to see a fantastic view of the Lanin volcano! The next day we were supposed to have another GS but it got cancelled due to the uphill wind on a near-flat slope and the poor visibility. Thanks to Racer Ready for the race report.
Next stop was Cerro Cathedral for a couple of days of training and 3 races – 2 slaloms and 1 GS. The first slalom (the Argentinian National Champs) was tough, having not skied gates (except for the previous day) since the Val Thorens slalom race in April, it took me a while to get into a rhythm on both runs. However the 2nd run was faster compared to the relative performance of the rest of the racers. The second slalom (a South American Cup) was much better, I attacked a lot more and went much faster, coming 5th on the first run. Sadly the 2nd run I got thrown off balance in a rutt and crashed, after having skied very well up until then. Could have scored well that day, but this didn’t break my spirits because not only had I skied well, I also got a set of A level results of which I am very proud. Last, but not least in Cerro Cathedral, was the Argentinian National Champs GS race – which was tough! Steep, ice cookies and a course averaging at 23m radius on the new GS skis was no piece of cake! However, I managed to get a decent photograph out of the day, thanks to informeblanco 🙂
After finishing the race, we packed our bags and headed off for Antillanca in Chile for two more races. Antillanca was amazing, topped Chapelco for sight seeing. We could see not one, but 5 volcanoes!! And to make it even better, we were skiing on one!!! I was not only racing, but having a Geography field trip! It was very exciting, especially because I could see the Puyehue-Cordon volcanic structure that erupted in 2011. Check out the view:
Back to the skiing…The first race was the Chilean National Champs GS. I’m not going to lie, I had a slow first run, getting the line marjorly wrong in some key sections! So 2nd run, I went absolutely full gas out of the start gate, pushing like there was no tomorrow. Seven gates later, I found myself falling down the slopes of a volcano on my back, head first….I took the opportunity to test out the friction levels produced by my race suit. After the race, we went back to where we were staying and enjoyed a stunning sunset, living up to what I was expecting, having watched 28 sunsets in La Parva last year.
The final race of the southern hemisphere for me was a South American Cup slalom. It was another beautiful day in Antillanca and I had bib 16. My first run was clean, just not quite generating enough speed out of the turns in some sections to get a fast time, I ended up 1.8 seconds behind the leader after the 1st run. However, I channelled my energy into the 2nd run and was much more focused, I ended up 6th on the run and only 0.7 behind the winning time, scoring 40.94 points, just missing the 30s! A great finish to a productive set of races.
Our last stop, after a long drive, was El Bolson for a solid block of training at long last! The great thing about El Bolson is it has its own mini micro-climate, so it is sheltered from bad weather. It also has a glacier higher up, but there are no lifts, the only was up is via a piste-basher and we were very lucky to be the first people to ever train up there!
All in all, a good trip 🙂 Just a quick thank you to the various photographers who took photos at the races and during training sessions, including Informeblanco, Ski Cao Antillanca and Gunn. Muchas Gracias!
Now its back home for a bit, training at the Surrey Sports Park, who I’d also like to say thank you to for their continued support. I really enjoy training there and I am very lucky to have access to such a wonderful facility near home.
I would also like to say thank you to my supporters.