So, after weeks of racing in Austria and Canada over Christmas, I returned back to school in January. I was exhausted and still suffering with stomach aches. I felt terrible and quite down in the dumps. I had lost a lot of weight and felt very feeble. So, after many visits to my GP, I finally spoke to Dr Niall Elliott at the Scottish Institute of Sports. He immediately got me an appointment to see a gastric doctor and after X-rays, ultra sound and an MRI, It turns out I am allergic to gluten and so now follow a strict gluten free diet. I feel so much better, both mentally and physically.
In the meantime, my fitness suffered. I did not have the energy to go to the gym or train. I missed World Cup races in January and February and so I was now slipping off the leader board. I also still didn’t have a permanent guide and had no energy to trial, yet another, new guide – things were looking a bit bleak.
Fortunately, although still not 100% fit yet, I am now so much happier about my future. I’m back at the gym, eating better and have regained my love of life. Being gluten free is not so bad…
In late February, I went to Austria to meet and train with a potential new guide, Mike Abromowitz. He was great and we hit it off immediately. We free skied together for four days. the next time we would ski together was going to be at the World Cup Finals in Aspen. I went home for a few days to go to school, then came back out to Austria to meet up with Brett Wild, another potential guide. He was great and we hit it off immediately. We free skied together for two days in fog and a whiteout, then Brett had to sort out his visa to travel with us to Colorado.
Guides are like the proverbial bus…
So, I now have 2 guides to go to the Aspen WC finals – 2 fabulous guides! I was going to do 2 GS races with Mike, then Slalom and speed events with Brett but the first time I was going to go through any training gates with these guys was in the races. I already trusted both of them. I already had faith in both of them. They have there own way of dealing with me and they ski really well and confidently. luckily the team needs a pool guide so we can keep them both.
With no race training over the last 2 months; my poor fitness; and brand new guides, things were stacked against us but we had nothing to lose. I was feeling so much better within myself and much more relaxed with kind, caring and confident guides.
Mike and I took on the GS and managed a Silver and a bronze…not a bad way to start a WC race camp. Then it was Brett’s turn with the slalom, this is not my strongest discipline but we did well with no practice together and managed another bronze. There is definitely more to give in these events. With a lot more practice and time, we could be formidable!
Brett and I took on the speed events, 2 training runs for the downhill ( my first ever proper DH race). we took them carefully at first, then by the fourth run we had made up 16 seconds. we took Silver and Gold in the 2 DH races.
Next the Super G, we were on a roll and took 2 Golds and the SG Crystal Globe for the season and Bronze for all disciplines. We were so chuffed and with Kelly and Menna doing so well too, the GB VI girls managed to dominate the podium with quite a few 1st, 2nd and 3rd podiums throughout the week.
I am now back at school to catch up for a couple of weeks, then I am hoping to do some training with Mike and Brett for the British Champs at the end of March…I’m so excited!
I obviously have to thank Mike and Brett for giving up so much of their time to guide me. I hope you enjoyed it – Here’s to the next couple of years!
The Coaches – Jutty and John for all your advice and wisdom, I want to thank you both.
To Euan Bennet for putting up with me and for helping me, Mike and Brett to gel together in Austria, and for sharing your Spotify playlist on the way to the slopes in the morning.
To Duncan, who is constantly working on our behalf, he never stops even when he’s not feeling too good…A huge thank you for all that you do for us.
A massive thank you to Cappy Smail- our Physio, she is great and looks after us so well and keeps us on our feet.
To Olly the Chef for his amazing cooking throughout the 2 weeks. I miss his gluten free food! And to his Sous chef, Margaret – the unsung hero.
Kelley Anne Fay – you are a star and an incredible sports psychologist. You have kept me sane and helped me get stronger and to cope with difficult situations. I miss you…Thank you!!
To my team mates who have been so supportive and kind, especially Kelly G who always knows just what to say to me.
To James Redpath for all his hardwork back at basecamp.
And finally, thank you to Fiona Young for being so easy to talk to and very persuasive. I wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for you.
Thank you to all my supporters and sponsors:
Get kids Going
KAP and Garry Furneaux for keeping us on the road.
J.C Rook and sons and Chris Rook
Choose leisure Motorhomes – Jenny and Paul Santos
Dynamix Group and Naz Khaliq
Hayward Design and Print – Geordie Hayward
Kent Sport KCC
University of Kent
Sena Bluetooth headsets
Uvex goggles and helmet
PSGB- to all the Coaches and support staff
A special thank you to Jane and Clive Austin for looking after Sausage again and again.
To Julia Exley for feeding Flash the fish – thank you.
To my friends back home who always give me moral support….thanks guys!