Canadian National Skeleton Team; Community Leader

Pandemic Racing

The international racing season finally kicked off!!

After a lengthy pre-season/selections/training camp looped all into one in Whistler in the latter half of 2020, I was unsure of what was next for the season. 

With more questions, than answers, I finally got the info that the North American Cups in Park City & Lake Placid would be a go! 

So, it was off to isolation (our team rule to come together as a team), for 5 days, a negative test, and then my first airplane ride since February 2020! 

Weirdly enough, it was satisfying to have my cart full of luggage at the early hours of the morning, ready to start the tour. (*it may also have helped that the prior 5 days were completely alone in a hotel room...*) 

My first impression of flying during COVID was great. Empty plane, whole row to myself, sanitizing wipes given out... etc. 

and then we got to Denver (our layover). 

People everywhere. Sensory overload... remember that crowds have been no good for 11 months almost. It was stressful, and overwhelming. So we found a nook of seats & camped out until our flight. 

We finally made it to Park City via Salt Lake City (and via Denver) & I instantly fell back in love with this place. 

Not to mention, we stayed at the new athlete residences at Utah Olympic Park & they are so well designed, and accomodating to athletes training just up the road. 

The IBSF organized a COVID test for us before we could get our accreditation to access the track everyday. In conjunction with this, distancing, daily health checks, I actually was quite impressed overall with my first race internationally during a pandemic. 

I'd also like to say, that Karbon/Qwixskinz outdid themselves this year with our gear. Thanks for helping us stay warm & go fast!! 

Park City & I actually seemed to get along for the first time ever. I let myself make some mistakes, glide a litttle more & react. My mindset was actually the best its been in a bit to race. 

Now, unfortunately, lockdown has made my activity level decrease & I weighed 0.4kg off on the first day (despite not eating/drinking & pulling out a ton of other stops). 

So dissapointing, but there was nothing I could do more in that moment. 

The compressed official training (3 runs per 2 days) rather than (2 runs per 3 days) also threw a bit of a wrench in. I never take 3 runs really, but I was forced to in a sense to ensure I could execute a race plan. 

Overall, mentally, best I've ever felt sliding. 

Physically, one of the toughest weeks with fasting, dehydration & feeling like my legs were made of lead. 

After Utah, we made a quick turnaround to hop on a flight to Newark (and got to say hi to NYC from afar!!) so that we could make our way up to Lake Placid, NY. 

Our usual travel plan a few hours down from Montreal was a no-go (obviously because of quarantine rules), so this was also a new adventure! Once we got up to Lake Placid, we were required to isolate in our hotel room for 3 days, and then go get tested prior to the next race week. 

I spent a lot of time in Lake Placid last year, so I was looking forward to bringing that flow back to the track. 

Unfortunately I just couldn't find it the first few runs of training. 

Finally in the second race day I remembered what the flow was... too little too late I guess. 

I kept framing my run reviews to what we would attack in our 1.5 weeks of training after the race, as we were supposed to stay in Lake Placid and train. 

and then shit hit the fan. 

The NWHL bubble, just down the road from us folded & we also got told to go home... get out of the county that Lake Placid is in for numerous reasons. it was a massive bombshell dropped on us 12 hours before our race, but it was something, again we couldn't control. 

With that in mind, I had 4 more runs to really enjoy Lake Placid. I left feeling a bit more comfortable, and looking forward to next trip out there. 

So, we hurried up to get our COVID tests after race day 1 (needed to return to Canada), raced 1 more day, packed our bags & started the journey home. 

Traveling for sliding is always an ordeal... but it is somethingn that feels like a privilege after going so long without it, so it is hard to complain. 

The travel day ended up being close to 20 hours long from Lake Placid, to my basement at home, but it feels so good to be home. I am officially in quarantine! 

So all in all, for 2 weeks of racing, 3 weeks of quarantine, 5 COVID tests, and a whole ton of learning. 

It was a tough decision to travel during a pandemic, but overall the safety exhibited at the track was up to par, and we limited our trips to any public place outside of what was necessary. 

Next, post quarantine, we will head out to Whistler for a few weeks to wrap up our season out there! 

Thanks for following along on the journey! 

GD 

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