Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

27 February 2007

Wells Fargo Bank Cup

This past weekend was one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Nationals Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), the 32nd Annual Wells Fargo Bank Cup. It’s a weekend full of sponsors, fun and racing. For the athletes that train here in Winter Park, we get a chance to “show our stuff” to the NSCD sponsors and open eyes for others about our program. The NSCD is one of the best outdoor recreation programs for people with disabilities in the world. Thanks to this event, Wells Fargo Bank, the Denver Post, Denver Broncos Alumni and Denver’s Channel 4 we are able to show sponsors and the general public what that really means.

For me, this past weekend really was a lot of fun. On Saturday I participated in the Frontier Cup which is triple SL team race. I want to send a special note of thanks to Don Marshall a member of the NSCD board of trustees and long time supporter of me and my racing. I had the privilege of being on his team “Wellskis” in the Frontier Cup and helping them advance to the second round of racing for the first time in years (maybe ever.) Yeah!

On Sunday I raced in the Disabled Invitational. This was the first time I’ve raced in this race because in the past, the Disabled Invitational was only open to men. This was because it was based on the pro-race format that was only open to men. Last year our head coach here in Winter Park, Erik Petersen, changed that and created a women’s category. Unfortunately for the NSCD most of the women who train here (including myself) were in Italy racing World Cup and Paralympics.

The race format is very different from our usual races. This race is a dual GS course with 3 bumps in the course that send us into the air. It’s exciting for spectators but really exciting for us. The weather didn’t cooperate as it was snowing really hard throughout the day but it didn’t dampen the excitement. During the qualifying runs I raced really well and actually won the qualifying round. I thought that set me up pretty well to win the race but I had to face my British teammate Liz Miller in the semi-finals and she edged me out by .12 seconds. That put me into the consolation round to race off for 3rd or 4th. I skied well against my teammate Ricci Kilgore but she ran into trouble both runs, and I was able win and take 3rd place. Liz took 2nd after my U.S.D.S.T teammate Elitsa Storey beat her by only .11 seconds in the finals. It was great day of racing and an overall great weekend!

26 February 2007

No Go...

…Our Austrian World Cup was officially cancelled Friday. This was not unexpected but disappointing none the less. I had been checking the weather almost daily only to see warm temperatures and rain. Just a few days before the announcement the IPC organizers had posted a “worst case scenario” on the website. It gave us a new schedule for the races, implying that they could just move some things around and we’d be all set. I guess this was not only to give us a little hope but them as well. As it turned out, the conditions in Abtenau just weren’t very good. We are still scheduled to run our races in Italy but as always it depends on the weather. So instead of leaving this Thursday we will now be leaving next Thursday for 1 Slalom race, 1 GS race and for those with the proper points, 2 Super G races.

08 February 2007

Trials and tribulations

There are definitely days that go your way and days that don’t. Tuesday didn’t go my way. I just wasn’t “feeling it.” During inspection I knew the course was going to be more difficult for me than the day before, and that’s how the race went. Sometimes in ski racing you have to take chances, and I’m not always really good at that because I have to trust myself and my legs. The course was a lot of fun but I sacrificed a lot of time to try to stay on line. I know better, I knew I was doing it while I was skiing, but knowing and being able to change it are WAY different. Needless to say, I didn’t have the best race and I didn’t get the Super G points I needed. It’s over now so I can’t really be sad. I did what I could at the time and that’s all I can really ask of myself. Now if I can just get my confidence back up I’ll be grand.

05 February 2007

Racing at home

I’m having a rough time at the moment. I feel like I’m skiing well and I’m trying to keep my head held high but each day I face a new challenge. It started on Friday this past week. The weather has been horrible and because of a 50 mph wind gust during early morning training, I had a bit of a crash. I strained a muscle in the upper part of my leg and around my hip. It’s not bad enough that I can’t ski but very bothersome during racing. I skied Saturday in a race course and just didn’t feel that great. Instead of pushing it I went home and tried to stretch and rest. A good friend Nancy Chang worked on me and tried to loosen up that leg. I felt better afterward but come Sunday morning I still felt a bit unsure. The first run of my SL race just didn’t go well. I didn’t feel like I could get on and off the edge quickly and I straddled a gate. I hiked to stay in the race but that’s not fast. Second run was lots better but my movements still weren’t very quick. At the end of the day I was a bit discouraged but optimistic for Super G since the key to that discipline is subtleness.

Today, for the first time in a very long time I felt comfortable on my speed skis (despite the sore leg.) This was a huge confidence builder. After a couple good warm-up runs and a thorough inspection I knew I could have a good run. Super G is one of the hardest events for me because at the higher speeds my legs don’t always cooperate. Today was no different and I definitely second guessed myself toward the bottom of the course, but, I hung in there and placed 5th. I’m not disappointed with where I finished, just with some of the unnecessary technical mistakes that I made in my run. We have another Super G tomorrow and I’m sanguine (I used a Thesaurus to find that word {smiley face}) that I can build on today and can have a better race.

01 February 2007

Winter Park

After many days on the road I have finally returned to Winter Park.
I took a few days off the snow to give my body a break. It’s nice to be home and to have some down time. It’s brutally cold up here right now making training a challenge. I’ll be toughing it out because we have a race starting Sunday. We have Slalom and 2 Super G’s.

I’m excited to be racing on my home hill. I know I need to ski well but I also know I need to relax and not think about that when I’m in the start gate. There’s a fine line between ready to go and over anxious. I’m shooting for ready to go.