I left off on my last post with returning back to Canada for Christmas. This year things worked out so that I was able to make it all the way home to Hay River and spend Christmas with my family for the first time in a couple of years. Last season I stayed over in Europe during Christmas to train, so it was extra special to make it home this year.
|After the Olympics, the Hay River Ski Club officially named one of the trails in my honor! I was able to ski the trail for the first time this Christmas - it was awesome!|
|A section of the 'Brendan Green Olympic Trail'|
Before flying home I spent a few highly focused days on rehab while doing lots of physio to try and get things to settle down with my back. When I returned back to Canmore after Christmas, it was again a lot of rehab before heading back to Europe to continue the World Cup circuit. I was able to get things to the point where my back felt more stable but it was still far from perfect. I did feel though that as long as I was on top of my physio exercises my body would be able to handle the tour, hopefully without too much problem.
|My ski bag full of Madshus skis before being zipped up.|
First stop on the road in 2012 was Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for World Cup #5. The venue had just recently been upgraded with new trails and a refurbished stadium in preparation to host the 2013 World Championships. The upgrades to the trails are pretty sweet and the venue is definitely world class. The only thing I dislike is the wind. The shooting range is notoriously windy and gusty which made the shooting very challenging, but fortunately I handled the conditions well. In the 20km Individual race I finished in 19th, which I was pretty pumped about, especially with just having gotten off the plane a few days prior and still very much dealing with jet lag. I also posted the 8th fastest ski time, which was my best ski of the season. In the 10km Sprint race I struggled a bit with my shooting in the windy conditions and finished up in 32nd. I followed up with a solid performance in the 12.5km Pursuit and moved up to finish in 20th.
From Czech it was straight to Antholz, Italy to race WC#6. I always love racing in Antholz at the amazing venue situated in the Dolomites. The great skiing, incredible food, sunshine, and awesome fans definitely make it my favorite and most anticipated stop on tour. Unfortunately my racing wasn’t stellar. My ski speed was awesome but my shooting was not up to par. With perfect conditions I finished 34th in the Sprint with 3 misses. Normally 3 misses would make for not a great race, but thankfully my skiing was really on that day and kept me in the game. The highlight of the week was the Relay. I woke up the morning of the race with a chest cold, but managed to get the race done and the team finished the day in 7th tying our best ever Relay result which was pretty sweet!
There was 10 day break before our next World Cup races in Oslo, Norway, which the team took advantage of by training at altitude in Italy for a few more days. We then finished off the week by training and getting in some intensity at a bit lower altitude in Mittenwald, Germany. I spent the first few days recovering from whatever chest bug or virus I was fighting, but was able to lay down some solid intensity and training over the remainder of the week. The snow and conditions in Mittenwald were amazing and I really enjoyed the training and network of trails that the area had to offer.
|The sweet sweet nightly appetizer buffet at our hotel in Italy.|
|Since I was sick a spent a few days in quarantine. I had my own table for meals, complete with rose petals!|
|Panoramic shot during one of our altitude skis in Italy.|
|Racing in Oslo, Norway.|
Another one of my favorite places to race on the circuit is in Norway, and this year it definitely did not disappoint as far as results go. I think I enjoy Norway so much because skiing is so deeply embedded in Norwegian culture. World Cup #7 in Oslo was the coldest World Cup we had raced so far this season, but despite cold hands and toes the racing was awesome and I raced to the top 3 results of my career! I also qualified for the Mass Start race, which I was super pumped about and one of my goals for the season. I was able to combine solid shooting throughout the week with consistently fast skiing to finish 9th in the Sprint, 13th in the Pursuit, and 10th in the Mass Start. I had been hoping to crack the top ten all season and to do it twice in one week was a truly awesome feeling. Unfortunately I didn’t get to relish in the excitement long as I ended the week in a lot of pain with re injuring my back, only this time a lot worse.
Since this post is also getting too long, I’ll finally get to the details about my back in my next blog.