The Tribulations of Trials

Well, just getting myself reacquainted with my dual skier-student life here in Thunder Bay, which has proven to be more trying than I anticipated…Last week I raced in Canmore, Alberta at the World Junior, U23, and Olympic trials. Canmore is a hostile environment. It’s at altitude, it’s dry, it’s cold, it smells like chemicals along the warm up track (or is that just me?). I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m bitter, but it’s not that hard to be grumpy when I look back on it. Canmore is a hostile environment.

it's deceiving from this angle, but Canmore is a very hostile environment

it’s deceiving from this angle, but Canmore is a very hostile environment

Anyway, let’s backtrack a bit to before the trial races…
Plan A for this trip was to win a race, or to have consistent top 4 finishes, which would qualify me for the World Junior Championships in Val de Fiemme, Italy. Basically, ski where I know I’m capable of and duke it out with the rest of the top juniors.Plan B, if I didn’t qualify, was to go to Norway, soak up the fastness, race, and to try not to get crushed at their National Championships.

But I’m in Thunder Bay now, so clearly neither of those plans went through… and truth is, I didn’t have a Plan C until after the final race on Sunday.

Unfortunately, nothing went according to plans at Trials last week. After doing the first sprint race as a primer for the rest of the week I got some race cough, which I didn’t think to much of, and continued to push myself and compete through, thinking it would go away like it normally does.  Such was not the case and on Saturday afternoon I found myself having a particularly violent coughing fit which got me sent to the race doctor. Their diagnosis was that I had viral bronchitis, and may have some underlying asthma issues.

Bummer. Not something any endurance athlete ever wants to hear.

how I felt about everything at some point last week (stock photo)

how I felt about everything at some point last week (stock photo)

Being me (stubborn), I pushed on and completed the final races, mostly out of desperation, hoping for a miracle result that would put me on the World Champs team. But when the results didn’t come, and everything was said and done, I had to sit down with my coach to decide if going to Norway, possibly with bronchitis, was worth it. Since I didn’t know the extent of my illness, I made the call to instead return to Thunder Bay and try to get healthy for the next set of races in Ottawa at the start of February. This also meant driving across the Prairies, which sounds awful but wasn’t actually that bad. Looking back now, I think I was in a rather subdued state of mind where doing nothing was all I felt up for, so the drive was perfect.
me in my constant state of "what the heck is happening right now" (note Gavin approved of the lighting for this photo)

in my constant state of “what the heck is happening right now” (note Gavin approved of the lighting for this photo)

And so here I am now, back in Thunder Bay, back to health, and back training. As it turns out, I did not have bronchitis, just some really, really, really bad race cough (bloody awful race cough, literally). I still have to go in to get some breathing tests done this coming week to see if I have asthma. Fingers crossed that it’s not the case!Other than feeling rather swamped with school (yet failing to do anything about it) things are going quite well. I’ve borrowed Scott’s bike (thanks Scott) to do my commuting to school, to appointments, to get food, and whatnot. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, the stuff on the road that’s hard to walk and drive on is even harder to ride on, wheels don’t roll very freely in fresh snow, low tire pressure doesn’t help that much either so it’s rather exhausting (but still better than walking).

Back to skiing: big shout outs to my people who are now overseas racing in Norway (Bob, Nick, Jack, Alannah, Evan, Bella, Kieran, Joey, Julien, Dave). Looks like you guys are having a wicked awesome time, wish I could’ve been there to meet all those Norwegian superstars with you (guess they’ll just have to wait…). See y’all at Easterns.

Also big ups to Scott – who pre qualified for World Juniors back in December, Ben – who won the opening 10k classic event and also punched himself a ticket to Italy, and to Andy – who had to wait until the last day for the big Skiathlon where he took the top U23 spot and 6th overall. Good luck at World Champs!

Benny on the podium #soproud

Benny on top of the podium #soproud

oh and you can’t forget the guy who “strikes first” – congrats to Bob for taking the W and his first NorAm victory in the opening Olympic trials sprint.gee, what else… best wishes to everyone with races coming up:
to the entire WJ and U23 teams – I’ll be sending my best sprint qualifier vibes your way 29th.

to the Olympic team – we’re all rooting for you (we being me and my less talkative alter-ego…)
and to everyone who will be at Easterns – see ya there!Also, if you’re looking for more reading material here is my NDC “interest article” from December. A bit late, but still done and a good read (at least that’s what my parents and grandparents say, so…).

Jenn December Article – The Perfect Racing Mindset

our team, basically.

our team, basically.

3 thoughts on “The Tribulations of Trials

  1. Jenn, you rock. I love reading your blogs…so you, so real. If only life could know and follow plan A all the time!!!
    Hoping you are feeling 100% soon. And hope to see you at Easterns.


  2. You tell a great story Jenn! Love to read your blog! That d’ &+*#% cough! I had to watch Adam endure that cough. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Good luck at Easterns…and beyond.

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