The final race/event of the season was the one I was looking forward to the most! Our first taste of next year’s Olympic track. Not knowing what lay ahead we boarded yet another plane and took off for PyeongChang. It was simultaneously the most exciting yet exhausting 3 weeks of sliding I’ve ever been through.
It’s been a while since I’ve experienced a track for the first time, a nice change after my first few years on tour. PyeongChang however was a completely different experience for me. We had no track notes, no video and only our guts/sliding knowledge to guide us. Usually when you’re learning a new track there’s video to watch and other’s experience to guide you and honestly, I underestimated how much of a toll that difference would take.
I have a tendency to overthink things at times but this was actually useful, during the right moments, for a change. We had so much to go through so wanting to talk, dissect and figure it out constantly was a good thing. I’m sure I talked my coach’s ears off more days than not…sorry Rob and Phil! Oh and I definitely drove them crazy when I started thinking I wasn’t progressing fast enough. I’m learning to master that but old habits die hard sometimes. Progress is progress and you’ve just got to trust the process.
To finally experience the place I’ll hopefully make my Olympic debut was incredible! Thankfully too the track is nothing like the rumours we had heard. It’s short and far from the fastest but the design well and truly makes up for it. There’s just as many places to gain speed as there are to lose it, a straight that’s far from it and a couple of negative pressures which are pure fun. From the very first run I knew I was going to love it. You know it’s a good one when you can’t wipe the smile off your face. Given its’ intricacies I think it’ll be a good Olympic track. It’s technical but rewarding; a pushers yet also a drivers track. It’ll reward great positioning and relaxation and punish those who try to force it a little. It looks simple but dig a little deeper and it’s so much more. I think the best aspect for me is that it’s fun.
Everything about the experience was positive. Even the little mental slip I had at the start of our second week. Thinking about it now makes me long for October and our next opportunity to put more pieces of the puzzle together. We made incredible progress during the 3 weeks we had and that was only the beginning. Bring on off season training!