It’s been ages since I last posted, but I have been so busy.
In November, I was back home and focusing on my school work. I was also training in the Surrey Sports Park, where I did my last 4 weeks of pre-season training and it was so hard! At the end of my last session I literally collapsed on the floor, but didn’t stay there too long as it was cold! On 23rd November, I attended the annual Godalming Sports Awards with two of my PE teachers and some other students from my school, where we won a total of 8 awards across different categories. I came runner up as the Sports Personality of the Year for my international and national achievements last year (including Innsbruck and the English Champs). About a week later, I’m very happy to tell you all that I passed my driving test – a great way to leave England and head out for the snow and mountains in Austria.
I have been training and racing in Austria for all of December, mainly focusing on slalom and gaining confidence in races. A group of Ambition athletes competed at 4 NJR slalom races in Kreuzberg Pass. The first two were held on 8th and 9th December, where I scored a 70 and DNFed. I was happy with this because although I didn’t ski fast, my technique was ok and I actually got down! So a sound starting point I think. The second two were held on 14th and 15th December and in the first one I came 3rd overall and 2nd in Junior 1, scoring 67 (3 points better than the previous weekend). In the second one I came 7th overall and 3rd in Junior 1 from bib 21, and scored 65 (2 points better – I told Marc, my coach, that its going in the right direction, progressively reducing my points each race and that it’ll come). I won two trophies – and it felt so good to be back on the podium! So all in all Kreuzberg was a good confidence booster!
After the race on the 15th, we headed over to San Viglio to watch Dave Ryding competing in a Europa Cup City Event. The atmosphere was great, despite the cold and snowy weather, and the athletes put on a good show, storming though the parallels and smashing the GS gates. Dave came 3rd – his first EC podium and we were there to witness it. It was awesome! After prize giving we all gathered for a group photo with Tristan and Dave:
..and we even made it into the highlights video on YouTube:
So after a rather fun weekend, we returned home to Leogang for two GS races. I wasn’t expecting much from these because since I had been out in December I had only done 2 days of GS training. I tried to ski well, but I was too timid and I DNFed both days. At least I learnt which areas I need to work on in GS from those 2 races. After the 2nd race, 6 of us packed up our bags, skis and benches and headed over to Kransjka Gora, Slovenia for two slalom CIT races – CIT races may sound easy but not when there are a group of 20-40 point skiers on the start list! The first day I skied average, maybe even a little bit timid and scored 66, coming 20th from bib 24, with the 2nd run containing in inverted hairpin..interesting! The 2nd day, I had bib 26 and an average, timid first run again, which I wasn’t too happy with. I couldn’t understand why, despite me mentally attacking the course and being a strong athlete with a good technique, my time was so slow. I discussed this with my coach, and then knew what I had to do – a 2nd run storm. And I did it! Fast but focused, didn’t even notice my mistakes and the inverted verticalie! — (I think that’s how you spell it…not too sure) — 0.8 off the winner’s 2nd run time and I scored a 53!!! Best result in a long time and 2nd best result ever!! And if I had had a 1st run like my 2nd, who knows what I could have scored?
So all in all, a great way to start my Christmas break and such a boost to my confidence. Now I know exactly what I have to work on and I am going to come back after Christmas and work really hard at it. And when I do, who knows what will happen?
I would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who support me at the Surrey Sports Park, you have been a great help to my development as an athlete this year. I’m very grateful for your support. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my parents who are always there for me whenever I need them to pick me off the ground and put me back on my two feet!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 🙂