After two incredibly exciting and exhausting weeks, I’m so happy to say that I completed the entire Ski Tour Canada! Starting the tour, I didn’t even think that I would make it to the Canmore section of the tour, let alone all the way to the end.
I couldn’t have done it without our outstanding support staff and wax team, the encouragement from my coaches, family, friends and teammates, and the amazing cheering from spectators at races all across the country. Thank you Canada!
The tour started on March 1st with a skate sprint in downtown Gatineau, a race that had been making me excited/nervous for a while. I usually get nervous for races, but the big nerves only hit when I know that I have an opportunity to achieve one of my goals. Going into the tour, my goal was to finish once in the top-30, and I knew that I would have a shot at that in the Gatineau sprint.
Fortunately, I was able to turn my nerves into focus that first morning. I warmed up as usual (trying to not get distracted by the fact that I was warming up alongside the best skiers in the world!), I raced my heart out, and snuck into the heats in 30th place!
Lining up for my quarter final with athletes like Ingvild Oestberg, Jessie Diggins, and Therese Johaug was a surreal experience. Racing with them was even more crazy– I felt like I should be asking for their autographs instead of standing on the start line with them! In the end, I finished the day in 29th, earning myself my first ever World Cup point!
The next few days flew by in a whirlwind. After the sprint, I headed to Montreal to meet up with the rest of the team, where we woke up the next morning and raced a 10km classic mass start. Despite challenging conditions, big crashes, and lots of broken poles, all the Canadians finished the race and moved on to the next two stages of the tour in Quebec City.
The first Quebec City race was a skate sprint, where I finished 34th– less than a second out of qualifying. Although I was disappointed to miss out on the heats, I was happy to have another consistent skate sprint qualifier.
The next day, we had a 10km skate pursuit, where I finished 57th. Although the result was nothing special, it was both mentally and physically one of my best distance races of the season!
With the tour halfway done, we headed to Canmore for the final four stages. After two days of hibernation rest, we had a grueling classic sprint followed by a 15km skiathlon the next day. I finished 53rd in the sprint and 51st in the skiathlon. Although I was disappointed with my performance in both of those races, I was so excited to see my friend Dahria Beatty score her first ever world cup points by qualifying and then finishing 15th in the classic sprint!
For the final two stages, the women had a 10km skate individual start and a 10km classic pursuit. By this point in the tour, exhaustion had set in and racers were dropping out daily. Somehow, in the 10km skate, I managed to pull out a solid race and finish 46th– my best distance World Cup result so far!
In the classic pursuit, the last race of the tour, all I wanted was to not get lapped so that I could finish the tour. In the end, I blew up completely halfway through the race but managed to not get caught! I finished the race absolutely exhausted and in last place but so happy to have finished.
Racing in the Ski Tour Canada was one of the hardest and yet most fun things I have ever done. Earning my first ever world cup points and watching the other Canadians have some kick-ass races has made me more motivated and inspired than ever to improve.
For now though, my schedule over the next few days is packed with sleeping, eating, and more sleeping until Thursday, when I’ll be heading to Whitehorse for Nationals to finish off the season!