Today marks the start of our third week on B-Tour! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in central Europe, and coming back has reminded me just how much I love travelling here and racing in new places.
The trip started out with a long but easy flight from Calgary to Innsbruck, Austria. Upon arrival, we headed to Untertilliach, Austria, for a week of training and adjusting to new time zones. Despite the current lack of natural snow in Europe, we were able to take advantage of the extensive set of man-made ski trails down the valley at Obertilliach.
The first weekend after we arrived, I headed with some of the team to Villach, Austria, to do a 5km classic Austrian Cup race. I had been planning on doing some sort of intensity session that weekend, and was very happy to get to do a last-minute race instead.
I finished a respectable 6th place, and it felt great to start the tour with fun, a low-pressure event. Seeing the huge number of excited kids and older athletes at that race made me realize that one of the reasons that European nations have so many strong skiers is that they do a great job of keeping racers in the sport!
Following the Austrian Cup race, we spent a couple more days in Untertilliach before heading to Planica, Slovenia for a weekend of OPA cup racing. Despite the continuing lack of natural snow, the race organizers did a great job of using their 2km loop to run a successful weekend of racing.
The weekend started off with a skate sprint, where I finished 20th. After a slow qualifier to start the day, I managed to make up some ground and finish 4th in my quarter-final, missing out on a lucky loser spot to the semi-final. The next two races were a 10km classic, where I finished 18th, and a 10km skate, where I finished 25th. Overall, I left the weekend wanting more, but happy with my effort. Getting the chance to compete in three OPA races was a great experience, because I know that one of the best ways for me to improve is to race against girls who are faster than me.
Right now, I’m in Toblach, Italy, recovering and getting ready for some upcoming World Cup racing in Slovenia and the Czech Republic. These will be my first non-domestic World Cup races, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to push myself to my limits on the world stage.