Ok....season over. I’ll admit I’m a little bummed out. I think I get this way every year at this time. Always have for the last 30+ years of racing. The bummage mostly comes from not living up to pre-season race expectations and sadness that the excitement of racing is over. Mostly the first one though. Especially this year. This was going to be my last world cup skimo go round I wanted to finally prove to myself that I could perform respectably at that level. However, I didn’t live up to my dreams. I’ve got a blog post on my sportfaith blog that discusses this in detail: www.sportfaith.blogspot.ca
Yesterday I went for a little walk (& prayer) to mull over things. It took all of about 5 minutes to move from disappointment and disheartenment to hopeful expectation to the future. Shouldn’t be surprising if you take the time to read my sportfaith entry on "Dealing with Disappointment". I share how sport (& really all of life) is a challenging game....a puzzle. A chance to break an endeavour down into it’s micro pieces, find a way to improve each one and in the process get faster, and also grow in character. Ultimately, it’s not about results (though if you consistently chip away at each area you’ll certainly end up getting faster).
If you just focus on the end result, you’re fated to be disappointed continually as there’s always someone faster than you (especially for me now as I’m getting older, with new fresh blood coming into the sport....defiantly a good thing for the sport in Canada). The real challenge is improving yourself... making yourself better. If I can isolate areas of growth and measure them against myself, I can have satisfaction.
In my last race of the year, Lake Louise skimo race, there were about 6 national caliber guys. I finished 6th. Was I disappointed? Nope. My main goal was to make some headway on the downhills. This race especially featured 4 challenging double black diamond downhills. For me, I rocked them. Went faster than any downhill I’ve done in a race so far. Probably slower than most of the guys in front of me, but good for me. For this, I came away from my race satisfied. I felt I skied consistently hard too, with good transitions. Overall a personally solid effort. Just not podium worthy (didn’t even get a door prize!).
The week before, I pre-skied the DogTooth Dash race course with eventual winner Scott Simmons. He really went fast on the downhills. Really, quite unbelievable on the skinny race sticks. There was deep, manky, cut up powder and he just rocketed through it. It was a bit of a revelation for me. I now saw what one has to do to compete at a high level in this sport. Scott told me he only owns 3 pair of skis. All skimo race skis. It’s all he skis on. He mentioned to really get good at skiing all one has to do is ski every day on race sticks exclusively. The conversation made me feel like I need to cull my quiver a bit.
With my XC background and primary weakness being fast downhill skiing, my springtime goal now is to work on this deficiency while I can. No time for emotional let downs, there’s (fun) work to do! Plus, my good friend Mike Norton, has asked me to be a part of his "Ski to Sea" team in May (a huge televised race in Oregon with over 500 teams). One more chance to rock those downhills!