Wow power blog post day!
We arrived at our hotel in Prince George this morning after a trying 24hour travel day. Everyone was pretty exhausted by the time we finally got here, but also in good spirits and excited for the week ahead! Athletes are all staying in hotels in downtown Prince George. Our hotel room has been refurnished (or de-furnished, depending how you look at it) to accommodate more bodies. I am rooming with NDC teammate Sadie and Team Hardwood clubmate Bella. There are two bunkbeds in our room, a desk, a tv, and an ottoman thing, but no chair or dresser. It’s a bit weird. Also interesting is that we don’t get regular bedding, but rather a sleeping bag…
Despite the somewhat unusual living quarters, we all slept soundly through to the morning. The atmosphere around the athlete village is pretty neat. Many of the other sports field younger age groups, but most people are around my age. You need to carry around your ID tag in order to get into the event buildings, onto shuttle buses (which take us to the race site) and to get food.
Our hotel is just over a block from the dining hall, which is actually a gymnasium, now filled with tables for eating and serving food. There was quite a good spread of food. I made sure to take it easy this morning and not overindulge in foods I don’t normally eat. I’m trying to maintain as normal of a diet to what I eat at home as possible.
After breakfast Bella and I went for a walk around the area near the village centre to check things out and to stretch our legs. The roads were empty, but I guess it was Sunday morning at 9am, so about what you would expect. Bella and I trained and raced together with Team Hardwood during my last year at home. We both agreed it was probably the best season of both of our (short) careers so far. I’m excited to be on trip with her again.
There are lots of things that happen and stuff around that makes this event seem very official. In the village there was what appeared to be a talk show spot set up. I think this is where local reports would be hosted from and some interviews conducted. It was only partially set up this morning.
The Team Ontario skiers took the 10am shuttle bus up to Otway Nordic Centre, where our competitions will be held. Shuttles run every half hour to and from the race site, so it’s important to be on time or else you’ll have to wait…
The temperature was just around zero and I was stoked to not need to wear four pairs of long underwear, three pairs of socks, and two buffs for my ski. The venue itself was well set up. There is a hospitable athlete tent right next to the waxing trailers, which each province and territory has one of, that is also directly adjacent to the trails.
Much to my dismay, the ground around the wax trailers was very icy and uneven. I will certainly not be risking another fall, and will sooner crawl than run from the wax rooms to the trail if that’s what it takes to not injure myself again. That said, I’ll need to be sure to stay on my feet during the races too! The trails here are super fun to ski, but also have potential to be quite treacherous if it gets icy and people start snow ploughing or skidding the corners.Today, all the descents were step-able and the hills stride-able, but if conditions deteriorate things could get messy and I would get a little scared.
I skied for an hour and a half today, pre-skiing the race course for tomorrow – 2×3.75km classic, and the 1.4k classic sprint course for Tuesday’s race. Both courses are fun and challenging. I skied with Eliza Jane-Kitchen who is here racing for British Columbia for a couple laps, then with Annah Hanthorn and Kendra Murray from Yukon for a bit near the end of my ski too. It was nice to chat and catch up with everyone after spending most of the winter away from the main ski-scene.
I also did some ski testing today. Since I haven’t had much opportunity to practice testing today, I narrowed my picks down to two pairs and Vic helped me make the final pick. I’m not very good at testing yet, but I’m way better than I was last year (which was quite bad).
And that was that for the morning. I’m hanging out in the library, where they have lots of space available for athletes to sit down and do schoolwork, although most of the kids here are playing video games on the provided PlayStations… So it isn’t the quiet calm you usually have in a library, but there is internet here, which makes it an attractive place to be.
Well, races get started tomorrow with a 7.5k classic for the women and 10k for the men. This will probably be the most challenging event of the week for me, as my classic skiing is coming back more slowly than I anticipated. Regardless, I’m excited to “start” my race season!