Monday, 20 April 2015

From Lahti to Lappe to Lisbon with Love

As I fly over the Spanish countryside on a flight bound for Lisboa there is not a single speck of snow in sight. Seeking out warmth and sun, a strange concept for someone who is searching for snow most months of the year. Traveling to a sunny destination is a signal that the race season has come to an end. It is starting to seem like I am on an everlasting trip. I have been living out of a suitcase for the past 2 months and these last 2 weeks, I have been able to enjoy the company of my mother and sister in beautiful Italy and Portugal where I have had the chance to rest and recover after a long season.
We found some beautiful flowers in a castle courtyard

With my mom and sister in Tavira Portugal

I found some friends on the beach in Portugal #puppylove

Since January 1st I have spent 15 of the possible 97 in Canmore, for the rest of the time I have been traveling, sometimes near, sometimes a far. Every year I am getting closer and closer to living the oh so coveted lifestyle of a World Cup athlete. Although I have not yet made it to the full winter living in Europe with the World Cup Team status, this season has been the closest thing yet. I have been on the road since January 24th. In this time I have been to Turkey, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Italy and have raced everything from National level races and Scandinavian Cups to World Championships and my first European World Cup. From these adventures I flew directly to Thunder Bay for the Canadian Nationals, so home is nothing but a distant memory for me right now, one that is popping into my head more and more frequently as of late.
The last races of the year were in Thunder Bay Ontario. When I arrived, I was hosted by local skiers for the few days before the rest of my team arrived and I was able to experience the true Thunder Bay community. I was very thankful to be able to cook a real meal myself for a day or two. Thanks to Jenn, Erin and Katherine for taking me in and letting me play with your adorable kitten Boomer. 
Thunder Bay Nationals were my first National Championships as a senior athlete. It was a great week overall and I was really excited to capture a Gold medal in the first individual race of the week and then to finish off the week once again on the podium with a close 3rd place in the 30km skate, which was my first 30k of my life.  With a 3rd in the team sprint a 5th and 6th in the 10k classic and the sprint, after falling in the final, being on top of the U23 aggregate podium was something I am very proud of as a first year. Not to mention finishing 2nd aggregate in Open Women to Perianne who has been an inspiration to me over the years! A huge thanks to all the volunteers at Lappe Nordic for putting on such an amazing event!

Annah tagging off to me in the team sprint



Skating into the exchange zone
5km Freestyle podium, my first senior gold at Nationals

5km skate
10km Classic

Excited to be wearing the leaders bib after winning the 5k


The group of 4, racing my first 30k


30k podium at Nationals
Haywood Ski Nationals Awards banquet- 1st place U23

The 2015 Ski Nationals were a great way to finish my season after a 6-week block of racing overseas. I was disappointed about being sick while racing at the U23 World Championships this season and not being able to perform my best there. Despite sickness I was still happy to get a top 20 in the classic sprint the first day of the competition. My 2 weeks of racing on the Sando Cup circuit after U23’s was a great experience for me, qualifying 22nd and 23rd respectively in the two sprints, I was much closer time wise to the winners (who have won WC qualifiers) than when I raced the Scando last season. Seeing this improvement for last season made me confident that with a bit more experience at the highest of levels, such as racing the Lahti World Cup, I will be able to feel comfortable racing at that level and start to be able to become competitive with time as Emily has been this season. With the Tour du Canada next season I am looking forward to hosting the World in our backyard and taking advantage of not having to travel to hopefully make a transition from where I am now towards the World Cup Team!          
20km Mass Start in Madona Latvia
Racing in Latvia
The finishing stretch. On my way to a 1st place qualification in Vietalva
My coach Chris and I getting ready for the World Cup in Lahti
Canadian Women after the sprint qualification in Lahti

Training day in Lahti

There are a couple more weeks of "spring break" left before the new training season begins, I am headed back to Whitehorse to enjoy the end of their ski season. This season as well as this career I have chosen to pursue would not be possible without the amazing support of my sponsors, family and friends. My sponsors: Skookum Asphalt, Alkan Air, Capital Helicopters, Icycle Sport, Rancho Vignola, Lanctot, the Yukon Government and my amazing grandparents and my adopted Canmore family you are all amazing and I thank you for being part of my journey and believing in me!
Thank you all so much and I am looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming weeks!

Dahria


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