One Athlete's Mind
It's been so long I don't even remember how to write one of these... Lucky for me it's just a blog so there aren't too many rules :P.
So 2013 Nationals went well. The event brought me back to the beautiful Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley British Columbia, where I once had the worst races of my life, and I can now say it's where I've had the best races of my life! I really couldn't have asked for a better week. Blue skies all 10 days we were there, beautiful spring like temperatures, and the best skiers in Canada were the makings of my favorite Nationals to date. Racing kicked off with the Team Sprint in which my long time friend and teammate Bob Thompson and I teamed up for a 7th place finish, our best result yet! The next day brought the first individual race of the week, a 10km Skate individual start, and my week continued to brighten. This was probably the most fun race I've done in a couple years, and lucky for me it brought me to a 14th (Canadian) finishing spot, my best result to date. A couple days later gave me a more humbling experience as I slogged my way through a tough 15km Classic individual start race in which another top 15 result just wasn't in the cards.
But two days later was the 1.6km Classic Sprint race, and what a fun day that was! A few minutes before the start of my qualifier I reminded myself about how one year ago, when I failed to qualify for the heats (context for those who don't know: a cross country ski sprint race involves a timed individual qualifier in the morning, from which only the top 30 athletes advance to the heats) at the 2012 National Championships, I told myself that would be the last time I would ever fail to do so. Having failed to keep that promise earlier this season, let's just say I was motivated to have a good time. And alas, I finished with a time good enough to qualify in 26th place. I was quite pleased with myself, but I couldn't help remember that every other time I have ever advanced to the heats in the Senior Men category, I was always a very comfortable last place in my quarterfinal. But with my fitness FINALLY coming through that week, I was able to silence that old tidbit by finishing 4th in my quarterfinal and moving up to an 18th final ranking. And with the international racers taken out of the mix, I was the 13th Canadian, improving my PB from a few days earlier by one spot.
The day of my first 50km Skate race arrived on the final day of competition. Unfortunately due to some lower leg issues during the middle 20km, I was unable to top my results from earlier in the week, but once I managed to shake those pains I had a delightful last 20km and fought my way back to a 22nd finish, 18th Cdn. So all in all, a fantastic week of racing and reclaiming my passion for this wonderful sport.
A couple weeks before Nationals I started contemplating what my plans might be for the 2013-2014 year. After lots of pondering different paths and what I wanted to do, I decided to start looking for a University program that would allow me to get a start on an education, while still allowing me to train and continue progressing towards my skiing goals. There's a saying I'm not quite thinking of... something to the effect of "Look and you shall find," and find I did. After a couple weeks of negotiations, I met with the Head Coach of the Nipissing University ski team while we were at Nationals and signed a contract for an 'Athletic Financial Award' that will allow me to ski for Nipissing, and attend school full time next Fall for a nicely subsidized tuition cost!
And last week, about a month after enrolling in University, I received an email naming me to the 2013 FISU Canadian Nordic Ski Team for the Universiade in Trentino, Italy. In other words, I made Team Canada for the 2013 World University Games! This means I'll be heading over to Northern Italy in December for two weeks of international competition!
So big plans for next year! And as for the next few months, I am back living in Penetang for the summer. While the weather isn't helping my work schedule these days, I must say the thought of being back in Penetang for the summer months is just delightful. 4 years without the anything remotely close to the lovely beaches of Georgian Bay does not a great summer make.
Who'd a' thunk I could sum up the past several months in just 6 paragraphs :P.
Hope you enjoyed the read!
Until next time,
Jordan Cascagnette, Student-Athlete, Ski Coach