Taking one for the team…Just two days after dislocating my shoulder in the first World Cup of the season, I went up to check-out the course in Flaine (FRA) in order to make a decision on whether to race or not-- based on the size of the features and the risk factor. It was a fairly mellow course, so I opted to chill out and rest-up while the other athletes trained on-course …I would just wing it on race day and try to get one more result before heading home for surgery. The plan was to go up and just run the time-trials to get a few more World Cup points, as this would help with establishing the team as serious contenders for Olympic medals, in hopes of acquiring sufficient funding for next season. I had a pretty decent run in the time-trials, so we decided I would at least pull out of the start in the quarter-finals . I ended-up having a great run and advancing to the semi-finals. Again, I would just pull out and see what happened. I had some pretty serious pain in my shoulder and my power out of the start gate was all from my left arm. I even did the one-armed poling! I was 2nd going into the first corner and being as tentative as I was with the throbbing shoulder bringing my confidence down (or just smartening me up!), I swung wide and got hung-up in some soft snow and got passed by Karin Huttary. I decided not to hit the jump coming out of the first corner, and just cruised down the rest of the track. As soon as the gate dropped in the small-final, the adrenaline kicked-in and I forgot all about my shoulder until I tried to use it to push…ouch! I let out a bit of a moan and dropped into my tuck. Somehow, I had managed to get out ahead of the other chicks and I led the pack the whole way down, skiing to a 5th-place result.
We have decided that I will get my shoulder all fixed-up now rather than putting it off until springtime. This way I will have all summer to train and I’ll be ready to shred next season. I’ll get a full year of valuable experience before the Olympics.
So yesterday was pretty exciting! It was a gorgeous sunny day at Les Contamines so the track was substantially faster than it had been during training and qualifying. Perfect for me, cause a lot of the girls get intimidated hitting jumps at these speeds.
I was fastest out of the start in my quarter-final, with Hedda Berndtsen of Norway right behind me. I came off the side-hill double with a loaded ski and my feet just shot out from under me. I somehow held it together, but Hedda went rippin' by me. I stayed right on her the whole way down and went flying by her off the first set of doubles coming into the finish to take the win in that heat. My semi-final was even more intense. I was way out in front...just killin' it...and I got bucked by this one little roller before the final straight-stretch and dislocated my shoulder on the fly. I don't know how I did it, but I just dropped back into a half-tuck and sent it off the two doubles, holding on to my lead right through the finish. That was when it got ugly. I had so many different people yanking on it trying to get it back in, speaking in French, and it just wasn't happening for us. I had to try and remain calm for about 20 minutes of that and then, finally, the French doctor got it back in. It was quite the scene! At one point I let a piercing scream of agony slip out and I heard the crowd go "oooh".
Coach Arch got on the radio and suggested that I head back up and just slide out of the start for the finals, in case there was a crash and I could just cruise right into 3rd place. I was all for it, but they ran the race just before I got to the start. So I ended-up in 4th, which is still pretty killer, if you ask me! The girl that I beat in both my heats ended-up 2nd, and Ophelie David took the win.