Black and Blue by Kelsey Serwa
The previous stop on our World Cup tour was in Blue Mountain, Ontario. Last year, this event was amazing with tons of eager spectators cheering on their Canadian team. This year was much of the same story. There were over 1500 young students lined up along the fences hootin’ and hollering at the finish line, along with some 3000 other spectators. Blue Mountain is an amazing venue and I enjoy racing here. The Canadian cheering team is one of the biggest crowds we see on all of our World Cup events.
Some would argue that the track here did not live up to its potential. I felt uncomfortable running heats of four and briefly considered pulling myself out of this race. I was still broken heading into the race, and another crash wasn’t something my body needed.
Our track was more of a snowboard track, which would have worked perfect for them. A snowboarder is able to ollie over an abrupt feature and their speeds are generally slower than skiers. Skiers get more bucked off these kicky jumps and as a result get tangled up a lot easier. Since our speeds are a little faster, it would have been better if the track stretched across the entire run rather than only using half of the space available. Crashing is a part of this sport, but the numbers of athletes that went down were a little more than necessary.
Of the first three heats of men, not one full heat survived.
In my first heat I was able to avoid all carnage by getting out in front and creating a comfortable gap between the other girls for the majority of the way down.
My plan was the same going into the semi final. The gate dropped and I got out in front. All of a sudden I felt someone take out the tails of my skis and I went for a couple good bounces through the rollers. Perfect, this is just what my body needed. I laid still a moment to assess the damage. I must of whacked my head on the ground since a slight head ache was coming on. My back felt alright. My arm, not so much.
I hurried to get back around to the start to prepare for the small finals. Mike, our physiotherapist, took a look at the ligaments in my elbow and decided a quick tape job would do the trick to get me through one more round.
Bandaged up and pissed off that Anna had taken me out in the heat before, I mustered up the courage and energy to win the small finals. Anna led most of the way down until I picked out the opportune moment to pass. It was on the very last turn of the course heading into the finish. She scrubbed a little speed in the turn before and I was able to accelerate from her draft to pass on the inside corner of the next turn.
Success, I finished in 5th but have a new injury. Good thing we are heading home for 2 weeks to recover!
Stan also had a gnarly crash in the quarters which left him crippled in pain. Shouts were coming over the radio saying that he he had head trauma and a broken back, which wasn’t the case. They really should think about putting in ear pieces so not everyone can hear that type of thing. Stan made it to the hospital and had X-rays and a CT scan to see the extent of his injuries. The tests showed a sprained pelvis, which is a lot worse than it sounds, and a bunch of torn muscles and ligaments. He will be out for the rest of the season and we are all going to miss him...especially me! Have a quick and healthy recovery Stan!
Thank you to all of the volunteers for doing such an amazing job at this race in Blue Mountain. This was a great event and everyone did an exceptional job attending to the fallen, keeping the track clear, and organizing the event, all with smiles on their faces!
Congratulations to teammates Chris Del Bosco for taking gold on the men’s side, as well as Nick Zorcic for winning the small finals to finish in 5th.