Total 13 - f6WHfKH
Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Going With The Flow

Anyone who knows me knows that I like having a plan going in. Whether it is a training plan, my day plan, or a route plan in mind, I like plans—they give me a sense of direction. Ironically, I don’t care that much about whether I stick to the plans I make, it is just about having one going in and then changing things on the fly and going with the flow .

Last time I posted, I was headed back to Lahti, Finland for a World Cup, which marked the halfway point of the season and also the part of the season that I didn’t have a solid plan in place. The remaining part of the season was totally up in the air, dependent on how the previous races had gone and each race to come. Everything that followed could change on a weekly, or even daily basis. This part of the season also marked my low point (after coming down with a nasty norovirus followed by a terrible cold at the end of a disappointing U23 World Championships), but little did I know, it was also the start of series of many unexpected races follow!

We arrived in Cogne, Italy, welcomed by sunshine, warm weather, delicious food, and an incredible atmosphere, which after being sick in dark, cold Finland for 3 weeks felt especially good! Cogne already had a happy place in my heart, bringing me out of low last season, and this year it did exactly the same. The Cogne sprint results would determine the last sprint start at World Champs. I was in a really good mental state, feeling happy, reenergized by good food and sunshine, and surrounded by an incredible atmosphere, so I told myself over and over, “today is the day I make the semifinals for the first time”. After watching a few of the other quarterfinals, I decided to lead the whole heat and ski confident like I did in Germany, and narrowly made it on to the semifinals for the first time, finishing 11that the end of the day, earning my sprint spot at World Champs that was only 4 days later!

IMG_9284
Talk about an incredible atmosphere!
FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Cogne (ITA)
Sending it off the front and skiing aggressive.
IMG_9292
Moving onto the semis by a hair–when in doubt, always lunge!

This when the true whirlwind started and my plans were constantly changing, to the point where I was just rolling with whatever came at me. We headed straight over to Seefeld, Austria for World Champs, did race prep, and before I knew it, I was racing in my first ever Word Championships, placing 23rd. There was a start spot open in the 15km Skiathalon so I unexpectedly got to start that race and ended up finishing 19th. That result definitely took me by surprise, and I think everyone else as well, since I have always been classified as a “sprinter”.

IMG_9392
My teammates showing me how it is done during race prep!
IMG_9416.jpg
Sprinting to 23rd in the Skate Sprint in very hot temps! (PC: Reese Brown)
IMG_9426.jpg
Definitely the most fans I have ever raced in front of during the 15km Skiathalon!

The biggest surprise of all was being selected to be on the relay team. I LOVE relays and have always dreamt of representing our team in the relay, so I was very honored to be given the chance to lay it all out there with my teammates who have been my role models for a long time. I might have gotten too excited and really sent it on the first 2.5km and had one of the biggest blow-ups of my life in the last 1km. It was tough to lose time and not have the performance I wanted on such a big stage, especially since I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I was the right pick for that start spot. However, I gave it my all and left nothing on the trail and that is the most important thing at the end of the day.

Seefeld 2019 Women's Relay 2.27.19-8.jpg
Relay socks, face paint, and send mode on for the relay! (PC: Reese Brown)
Seefeld 2019 Women's Relay 2.27.19-4.jpg
Team hugs and laughs from my teammates to bring each other up after a disappointing relay. (PC: Reese Brown)
IMG_9535
Throwing snow on Jessie at the end of the relay after super warm conditions!

After World Champs, I fell back into my usual cycle of getting sick, getting my butt kicked (this time in Drammen, similar to everyone first experience racing in Drammen city sprint), hitting a low point, and then using my frustration to motivate me to reach a new high. In Falun, I narrowly missed qualifying in the sprint in probably the most competitive women’s sprint field of the season, but came back even more fired up the next day, earning my first ever distance World Cup points placing 25thin an individual 10km skate, which was a huge step forward for me. I guess I am not just a “sprinter” after all. This was confirmed by strong distance races in Quebec and at SuperTour Finals at the end of the season.

IMG_9700.JPG
Fighting hard through tough conditions on my way to earning my first World Cup distance points.
IMG_5265
Ending the season on a high note, finishing 3rd in the 30km skate at U.S. Distance Nationals. (PC: Reese Brown)

 

My season ended up consisting of 32 races, by far the most racing I have ever done in a season, and I can assure you that those additional experiences has taught me lot. When I left World Champs, I left wanting more, feeling a mix of emotions. At the start of the season, it was a reach or “dream” goal to even qualify for the team, and racing 3 races wasn’t even something I considered was possible. So why did I leave World Champs a little disappointed and wanting more when I achieved way more than I ever set out to? As cliché as it may sound, my biggest take away from the season was that enjoying the journey is the most important thing. You can have all the best race results, but if you don’t stop enjoy the journey along the way, just good race results alone won’t make you happy. My biggest regret this season was getting too focused on “the next thing”. Every race, I was so focused on earning the next start spot, and once the race was over, I was focused on the next race—I didn’t stop to celebrate the milestones, however small or big they were along the way. The moments I remember and value the most from this season are not necessarily the ones with my best results, but the times where I slowed down to appreciate the people and experiences around me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My family cheering me on Quebec ❤
IMG_9434
My grandparents (and good luck charm) came to cheer me on at World Championships and it meant to world to me to have them there!
IMG_6429
Any day my sister is around to watch me race, it is a special day ❤
IMG_9926
A surprise visit from Max in Quebec followed by a ski with both Max and Nadja!
IMG_9979
Cherishing quality goofy time with my friends on the road.

My other big take away season is that I am super grateful and thankful for the incredible ski community. None of this would be possible without my family, teammates, coaches, wax techs, support staff, and all of my supporters so THANK YOU!!!

IMG_9749
Thank you to my family, my nonstop #1 supporters who came to Quebec to cheer me on!
IMG_9980
Thank you to my SMS T2 Family!
IMG_0886
Thank you to our team and support staff at World Championships!
IMG_9931
Thank you to my incredible teammates I learn from each and every day! (PC: Reese Brown)

The end of the season left my racing mind and body exhausted, but the adventurous side of me was itching to go out and backcountry ski to switch things up and take a break from thinking about racing. The spring term at Dartmouth allowed me to get outside on lots of adventures with friends, refreshing my mind for the new season ahead. My body also got a good hard reset after having elbow surgery to fix an 2.5 year long nerve issue I had been dealing with. Ironically, my recovery from surgery has felt the easiest of injuries to deal with since I have spent the last 2 summers modifying my plan around elbow pain. I am taking classes again this summer at Dartmouth while training with the team as I rehab back from surgery. I have been able to squeeze in some weekend visits to Stratton to train with my SMS T2 teammates as well and I am looking forward to getting back into normal training in the next few weeks! I was very excited to make a big jump forward to the B Team this year and I am excited to see what this next season has in stock! Thank you for following along and your continued support!

IMG_6528
Spring adventures with friends!
IMG_6927
Skiing the spring classics at Mnt. Washington.
IMG_7186
Fixing up that elbow so I can get strong this year.
IMG_4917
A quick visit to San Francisco between school terms to visit my sister.
IMG_1247
Fun runs to catch up with my SMS T2 teammates.
IMG_1595 2
Yay for 2 poles again!

-JKern

 

Whirlwind: Ups, Downs, Expectations

Every year the start of a new season marks uncertainty, excitement, goals, and lots of race opportunities. Expectations are loosely there, but it is not until you are a few races in that you can gage exactly what expectations are appropriate and the races start to matter. There is general race plan in place, but as the season goes along, things can change last minute and it all becomes a whirlwind as I hop from one location to next, finding myself in a new bed every week. It can be scary setting goals, unsure whether you will succeed or fail, and how you feel at certain points in the season. Since the CSU summer training camp I went to when I was 14, I have made a goal pyramid every year before the season. The process and smaller goals are at the bottom to build the foundation for the result…

The Pre-Season Mix

Everyone from New England knows that the weather in last few weeks leading up to the racing season is as unpredictable as it gets. One day you might be wearing a tank top and shorts, and the next you are bundled in your mid-winter ski outfit. This year the weather gods decided us New Englanders had gotten soft so they wanted to ensure us New Englanders are tough come the race season. I am not exaggerating when I say that I didn’t see the sun for 3 weeks straight. On top of that, many of those cloudy days included freezing, cold rain. Oddly enough, with one rainy day after the next, it started to be just another normal day in the east and each rainy day felt less dreary than the last. Maybe part of my reaction was due to the fact that I was at Dartmouth this fall, and…

What My Teammates Have Taught Me

Upon returning from our last U.S. Ski Team camp of the year in Park City, Utah back to Dartmouth to finish up fall term, I have been thinking a lot about how I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by incredible teammates wherever I go. Each team and individual teammate has taught me something different, and I know I wouldn’t be nearly as fast or have nearly as much fun without them! For starters, I am very appreciative that each of my teams support me to pursue both my skiing and academic pursuits.  The past few years I have been hopping between the Dartmouth, SMS T2, and the U.S. Ski Team and the amount I spend with each team has changed every year. My teammates on all three teams have been extremely supportive and understanding as I phase in and out (for example leaving Dartmouth for a U.S. Ski Team…

Walking The Fine Line

Since high school, I have been bouncing back and forth between doing a full term at Dartmouth while training, and solely focusing on skiing. These two lifestyles fall on opposite side of the spectrum—when I am in school I am wishing I had more free time and while when I am just skiing, I have too much free time to fill. My frustrating season last year didn’t discourage me, it actually did the exact opposite—it made me want to be “all in” this year and set really big goals. Ironically, I came to conclusion that being “all in” for me meant not just focusing on skiing, but rather, it meant the opposite—that I would go to school and train with the Dartmouth team while taking a full course load in the spring, summer, and fall (a full year of school). Focused and “all in” at training camp (Pat). Growing up,…

Finishing Strong

If your parents were anything like mine, then you were probably tossed into the deep end and had to learn how to swim from there. You could say that is what it felt like to jump on the World Cup circuit for the first time, spend 4 straight months in Europe (which is my longest streak yet), and travel across 10 different countries. I am going to admit, the first few weekends on the World Cup were really tough. I had some expectations and goals based off the end of last season, but I fell short of what I had hoped for—not just in results—but in my general form as well (unfortunately in part due to being injured the 5 months leading up to the season). Fortunately, just like your parents are there to help you learn how to swim, I was surrounded by teammates, coaches, family, and friends, who…

Blank Slate

Once again, my bags have been packed and unpacked too many times to count since my last post. After Zwiesel, I headed to Obsertdorf for a German Cup with Hannah, which was our last stop on our Germany tour. After taking 3 full off days in hopes of kicking my illness for good (but really this time), I had my head up and eyes looking forward. I was ready to put my illnesses behind me and just go out and race hard. The sprint day was shock to the system and gave my body the wake up call it needed to get back in gear and fired up again. I put my “Darth Vader mask” on at the start of the 10k skate mass start, told myself it is a new day and put my sensations from the sprint behind me, and was ready to charge (I mostly wore it…

Turning Things Around

*Sorry for the long hiatus mid season, my computer was broken all of January, and it is hard to get a new one when you are in Europe all winter. I am going to be brutally honest and say that the past 7 weeks have been really hard for me. I usually try to see the positive side of things and can deal with setbacks pretty well, but that gets really tiring after a while. 5 days ago I was ready to book a ticket home—that is when things turned around (once again)… Rewind 7 weeks ago. I kicked off the New Year by coming down with a bad cold, leaving me lying in bed for 7 days and not even training for 10 days. I was bummed to miss some OPA Cup races, but kept my mind focused on resting a lot so I would be ready for my…

Little Fish, Big Pond

A little fish in a big pond—that is what it felt like when I jumped into Period 1 of the World Cup, which arguably are some of the most competitive World Cups all year. They don’t call us youngsters the “little gupps” for nothing! I took the big leap to the next level and right … More Little Fish, Big Pond

Little Fish, Big Pond

A little fish in a big pond—that is what it felt like when I jumped into Period 1 of the World Cup, which arguably are some of the most competitive World Cups all year. They don’t call us youngsters the “little gupps” for nothing! I took the big leap to the next level and right off the bat, I was blown away by how fast the skiers on the World Cup are. I immediately had expectations and set result goals even though I was told these races were for gaining experience and learning. It wasn’t until someone reminded me that my teammates who have been crushing it this season, were in the same place as I am now a few years ago. Normally, people don’t jump in and start winning right away, it takes racing and experience over time to gradually work your way to the top. So what was…