Judging by my lack of writing, you have probably already figured out that I'm back in Ottawa. It's funny how much busier one is when they're at home. I've been back for a week, and I have a couple more weeks at home before I head back out. I'm leaving for Canmore, this time for Para-Nordic Nationals, on February 26, and from there, if all goes according to plan, we head to Vancouver/Whistler on March 8. For now, I'm just taking a little break from hard-core racing, seeing some of my friends, hanging out with my fiancé, watching the Olympics, and of course, getting the last bit of training in before the Games.
Cliff, Jenna and I checking out the ice sculptures at Winterlude (Jesse F. was there too: he took the picture :))
Last weekend, we got lots of skiing in in the Gatineau Park. We did another biathlon simulation on Sunday, focusing on faster shooting. I shot 22 out of 25 with range times of around 1 minute to 1:10. Those are much faster range times than I had in my World Cup races, where I usually took over 2 minutes to shoot. If I can emmulate this at the Paralympics, it would help me a lot. I also worked on some high-speed downhill corners last weekend because we figure that is where I can gain some speed in my races in the short time we have left. Step-turning around difficult corners has always been really difficult for me, but snowplowing around them makes me lose most of my speed. This means I have to start climbing the next hill almost from a dead stop, while my competitors' speed carries them up part of the hill. In Whistler, the most important thing for me will be to get really familiar with all of the downhills, so that I can go down them confidently and let my momentum carry me up as far as possible.
Next weekend is the Gatineau Loppet in the Gatineau Park, and I'm taking part in its shorter distances this year: the 16 km classic and 10 km free. It'll be good to do another couple of races before Nationals the weekend after and the Paralympic Games in March. The Gatineau Loppet is especially valuable experience because it is a mass start and it will allow me to practise racing in a crowd, passing people and being passed.
Well, it's time to do some shooting practice. It's my day off but it's always good to practice shooting whenever possible. After all, there are only a few weeks left! Good morning from Ottawa.