Slowing Down to Speed Up

Another whirlwind winter in the books, 9 countries, 31 races and 15 flights later, I was ready for some rest. During April, I was able to spending some quality time at home in Whitehorse as well as take a spring road trip down the Washington and Oregon coast. As May approached and it was time to get back to regular training, I did what any good skier would do, went in search of snow. I kicked off the training season with a great week of spring skiing at Sovereign Lake Nordic followed by a, for the most part sunny, week of skiing at Sunshine Meadow here in the Bow Valley.

Family time- enjoying time out at the cabin with dad and mom.
First day back to training, long bike ride along the Oregon coast ft. Rancho Vignola trail mix.
Beautiful spring skiing at Sunshine Meadows with beautiful people!

Since the middle of may I have been back in Canmore and settled into a routine, happy to not be living out of a suitcase, building my training base for the upcoming year and targeting weaknesses I want to work on before next race season.

I have been in Canmore for over a month and it has me feeling more organized, grounded and prepared for the rest of the year. Over the past few years, I have discovered the importance of slowing down my travel schedule once or twice a summer, for 3 to 5 weeks, to allow me to have that feeling of being settled at home. This allows me to maintain balance and be fully energized and excited about hitting the road come race season. It also gives me a chance to focus on the little things that are more easily done at home.

One of my focuses at the start of each year is identifying gaps from the past season and searching for ways to bridge those gaps for the coming year. May is a great month to do that, between the many hours of general training, biking, running, hiking, skiing that get logged there is lots of room to test things out and try new things. The more general spring training gives me the chance to build changes into my skiing and daily routine before the more race specific sessions become more frequent later in the summer. I have been using this time to experiment with a few new workouts, playing around with new ideas, keeping what I like and discarding the others. The habits created in May and June also help set the tone for the year. If all goes well the prep done in May and June will keep me ahead of injury and with increased stability when the racing gets tough. This means keeping on top of the stretching and mobility gains from the spring rest period. It also means getting regular massages and working with the right people like my strength coach and physio to develop a plan that strengthens and targets those small weaknesses and imbalances to prevent injuries from occurring and make me even more efficient on my skis.

The first ride of the season in the Bow Valley in short sleeves! Yay!
Showing my new (Alberta World Cup Academy) teammates the area. Annika enjoying the views on our hike up Tent Ridge. Excited to have a positive influx of female training partners in Canmore this summer!

Settling back into a routine has brought more than just good training consistency. It has also allowed me to fully immerse myself in many of the perks of being “at home”: gardening, cooking, baking, sleeping my own bed and catching up with friends in the community that I haven’t seen since the fall. All these little things, that are just givens in most people’s daily lives, are things I really look forward to at the end of a long winter on the road.

One of the most important friends to catch up with!

My garden this year consist of lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, arugula, kale and an assortments of herbs. It  has now almost grown enough to start showing up on my dinner plate and is properly protected so that the neighbourhood deer can’t enjoy it first, like they did my chard last summer. This morning I harvested my first bunch of arugula along with some chives and basil to put in my scrambled eggs, albeit the arugula leave are still quite small.    

Things grown slowly in the mountains. Hoping a baby greens salad is in my near future.

In the kitchen, I have almost gotten through cooking all the recipes that I pinned, photographed or saved during my winter travels. Just in time to start tackling all the summer recipes ideas I have been inspired by this spring!

Some of the cooking and baking that was noteworthy enough to send a picture to mom and dad, featured below:

With the first NST camp of the year starting up this weekend here in Canmore, there will be a lot less time for cooking and gardening for a couple weeks. I am looking forward to a fun block of training with friends and teammates for across the country before heading home to Whitehorse for a mid summer break. It’s crazy to think that the first month an a half of training is already behind us. I am feeling happy with where my training and fitness is currently and more importantly, I am healthy and ready to keep working hard toward those bit gains I am aiming for next season.

Positive vibes after the first time trial of the summer. Photo: Doug Stephen

Thanks for reading! Wishing everyone a summer filled with many wonderful adventures!


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