Saturday, January 17, 2009

Training in Europe, 1st in Altenmarkt Training Run

It almost feels like the season hasn’t even begun. The fall was so packed with training leading up to the races, then having 2 out of 5 races cancelled due to weather….it now feels like we’re starting anew. However, I think this slower start to the season hasn’t been bad for me, giving me more time to adjust to my new boots and find my racing legs. After the holidays you could tell which athletes were technical racers and which were speed skiers. The technical skiers (GS & SL) are a bit more tired and felt the holidays were too short, the speed skiers on the other hand are itching to race. So finally we’ll get our wish, racing begin again this weekend!

Since arriving in Europe just after the new year, we quickly jumped into training in Garmish, Germany and Kirchberg, Austria. We also had the honour of being hosted on the Kitzbuhel downhill by the chief of course, and a few other excited and proud gentlemen. One of whom raced with Nancy Greene Raine! This hill was spectacular and the history it holds certainly left us all in awe. It was fun to see Rob Boyd, our coach, look like a kid in a candy shop…we could all see the racer in him come out on his old turf.

I’m now in Altenmarkt, Austria with two training runs finished as I get ready for Sunday’s race. I was a bit surprised to win the first training run, but also happy to know my normal skiing is fast. It was only my second time to ever win a Downhill training run, the last time I won a training run was in Torino during the Olympics. It was nice to win the first day knowing I had another training run to feel the jitters that come with winning the day before. I was again fast in the second run, but made a massive tactical error trying to go way to tight to the gates in one turn, giving myself no chance to make the next gate. However, I was fast in the other sections…that had turns at least….but I was dog slow on the flats. In other words, there are a few things to iron out for race day but no mysteries to solve.

I’m simply happy to know that this weekend is the beginning of a long stretch of racing. From here we’re off to Cortina, Italy, then Garmish, Germany. David Ford, my fiancée, will be joining me for those two weeks! A special treat indeed.

All the best,

Kelly VanderBeek

Posing with a statue in Kirchberg, Austria.

Can you see the injection?.... Kitzbuhel is injected nearly the whole way down.

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