Monday, January 17, 2005 - Perspective
Gordís Ski Newsletter Vol.7, No.5: Ups and Downs

- By: Gord Jewett

As I sit in the airport in Minneapolis taking advantage of one of the coveted wireless hotspots that are miraculously springing up around the globe, I have a moment to reflect on the season and look ahead to the next few months of winter. Iím on route to Zurich, Switzerland via Amsterdam (itís going to be a long day) where Iíll meet head coach Dave Wood for the drive to Oberstdorf, Germany. The World Championships will take place in Oberstdorf from February 17th to 27th, but before then Iíll race a European Continental Cup race next weekend on the same trails. So, looking ahead the World Championships in Oberstdorf are square in my sights, particularly the opening days 15km skate race and the two relay events a week later.

But looking ahead should always involve a thorough check of the rearview mirror. The past few months of the season have had their ups and downs that have led to my appearance in the Minneapolis airport.

Just before the first races of the season this year in Silver Star, BC, I started to feel a bit tired. Nothing drastic, but my energy was low and my muscles and joints were achy. Since it wasnít serious I raced through the weekend and turned in some pretty dismal performances. In the following 2 weeks at home I was hoping to turn things around and get some energy back, but it was to no avail. I went into the World Championships trial races in Quebec before Christmas feeling rough and without much confidence. The first classic race at Foret Montmorency did nothing to turn my frown to a smile, as I finished a distant 15th. Things got a little better the following day in the 30km skate race where I finished 6th. A start, but still far from the performance I was hoping for. At least there was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

I knew that the following midweek sprint race at Mont Sainte Anne was my best chance to punch a ticket to the World Championships in Germany, an event I was desperate to compete in. I was still feeling rough come sprint day, but I knew that if I was aggressive I could get away with a good performance in such a short event. The qualifying round was an adrenaline filled heart stopper. Due to a lack of course officials I found myself dodging walkers and alpine skiers that were all over the course. I even made contact with two people, but managed to keep upright. The lack of course control only made me angry and made me ski harder. My aggression paid off as a qualified 3rd, one of my better qualifying performances. From then on the night felt like a blur. Although I wasnít feeling great I had some speed in the tank, and I was able to walk through the early rounds without much trouble before meeting up with 3 of my team mates in the final. The final was hectic as I did everything I could to get to the front at the top of the big climb. From there it was a desperate ski to the finish, where I won my first NorAm race. The feeling of crossing the line and putting a claim to a World Championship team spot was incredible.

The following weekendís races didnít start much better. In the classic I was again left without any gas in the tank and I struggled to 16th place. I was tired of finishing so far back and I went into the final race, a 15km skate, with something to prove. I finally managed to find a bit of form on that final day to finish 2nd behind my team mate Chris Jeffries, who was simply dominant all week long. Although 2nd was a decent placing, I still knew that I could ski at least a minute faster if I was healthy.

I was hoping that a break over Christmas and a relaxing visit with my family would turn things around, but after 5 weeks of feeling terrible I was still plagued by a mystery health problem. I skipped the early January Canada Cup races in Canmore and instead focused on recovering and trying to diagnose my problem. After what seems like endless blood tests it looks like I have some kind of virus, although the details are pretty foggy and itís a vague diagnosis. I decided to stay in Canada and continue resting when the World Cup team left for Europe last weekend, and after feeling a turn around this week in my energy levels Iíve decided to head over and start to get to work racing and preparing for the big event in February.

After feeling lousy for the past 8 weeks Iím just looking forward to doing some races where I can be aggressive and feel good, because racing just isnít fun any other way. So far things have not gone according to plan this winter, but Iím heading to the World Championships and with one good race I can make this into a dream season.

Gordon Jewett
Minneapolis St.Paul Internationl Airport, 256.3m above sea-level

Gordon would like to thank his sponsors:

Thank you also to:
James Coatsworth
Peter and Robin Jewett
George Kalmar
Michael and Brenda Jewett
Alan Gallie
Irving Wartsman
Jim Meekison
Harold Macklin
Albert Latner
Oscar Grubert

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