This time of year, I would be reflecting upon the recently concluded season. This year is different. Can I end a season that may have never truly begun? How do you define what a season is? I went through the Winter season, but was it a competitive season? I raced a handful of races between November and April. I usually have more races before Christmas than I have this entire season. I had to ask myself earlier in the Winter how I defined a race. I had to change the definition of a race in my mind to get a few more lines in the race column. There were times where I provided the bib so that I could replicate the feeling of racing. But this change in the definition of racing allowed me to shift my focus over the Winter months and focus on competitive opportunities from a new point of view. Opportunities and lessons that otherwise are hard to come by because we did not think about them in more regular seasons. I focus on the process, my own goals and performance rather than the result. I cannot control the outcome, so why be bothered by it. This season let me solely focus on my performance as there were no results to be had. It was almost a relief to measure myself against a different standard, my standard. I could work on aspects of my performance in intensities or time trials. I still had plenty of solid performances, but I could take away much more from these efforts than I might have been able to if it was another race.
Reflecting on the training season, there were many different training opportunities this year. There was hesitation as to whether these new opportunities would be as good as our previous training plan. It was good to try a few new things this year. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in how we trained in past years, but this year, I gained confidence by trying new ideas, and I think that will go a long way leading into this Games year. I have approached much of the past year about what I could gain rather than what I was losing. In the end, it was a fantastic year for me. I felt progress throughout every stage of the past year. I felt stronger and more efficient when it mattered to me. Most of the Winter, I thought I was holding better form than typical years.
After what I hope will be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of year, I have a lot of confidence going into this final year of the Beijing Quad. I tried to work on my performance elements that might not receive as much focus in typical years—using these elements to better shape my overall performance. A large part of any performance is about adaptability, staying focused on what matters and staying level-headed. This year has been a fantastic opportunity to work on those aspects if you chose to do so. This next year, I’m sure will still require much adjusting before it is all over, but I feel I’m in a great position to deal with the changing circumstances and remain focused on what I will need to achieve my goals for this upcoming year.
I do not often make New Year’s resolutions for January 1. I always list my goals or areas I want to work on for Skier’s New Year. There are still many hard days of work ahead, but most of the work is banked already. This year is about intelligent choices on my way to the true goal of being at my best come March 5, 2022, in Beijing. Staying focused on the task at hand as the excitement builds month after month. The final refinements that shift elements from good to great. And maybe, more importantly, doing so when required, or on-demand and under pressure.
This is the fun year! As this year begins, I want to share with you all my heartfelt appreciation for all the support you have given me over the years.