The Downhill Challenge Continues

I have said from the beginning: I am excited about what I am trying to accomplish because of the challenge. The challenge is what motivates me. What comes with those challenges besides the highs of reaching goals, having success, and performing well are the lows, the hard times; of totally sucking at races and/or not reaching the goals you’ve been so focused on.

Looking back at my first races in this new year, I probably didn’t make the smartest choices. I had just had 3 weeks off from skiing with injuries that had needed some time and rest to heal. I had then flown 28 hrs from Melbs to Munich, before driving 5.5hrs to the Australian European Training Center that same day (New Years Eve) to pick up all my skis and equipment, spent the night there and then drove another 5.5 hrs to Tignes, France where my first lot of races started the very next day!

It’s hard to get Downhill or Super G training in Europe, so race training is some of the best type of training you’ll get. What I wasn’t expecting is for the French Women’s World Cup and Europa Cup Teams to rock up and race!! I went from being pretty relaxed to being a bit panicked, realising that these racers could be a great opportunity to do well but feeling totally unorganised and not really ready to race at all….

Little did I know, getting back into a speed race after 3 weeks off – jet lagged / tired, knee still playing up – was going to feel so uncomfortable. I’m not sure why I thought I could at all ski competitively!!! Looking back… I see how rookie this was but (at the time), I thought I could manage it!

There nothing quite like setting yourself up to fail, knocking your confidence right down to the ground. That of course, then leads to you questioning what the hell you are doing ski racing at all again!!! These thoughts take a bit of time to heal, time to grow in confidence again. I have made these sorts of mistakes before, when I was much younger. It’s a mistake I won’t be making again for some time!

Since then, each day I have managed to find my feet again, bit by bit, slowly rebuild my confidence, and remember my “WHY” again!

It’s so easy to fall back into old habits, focusing on results, rather then your own process, goals and development. I was never going to France to “race” those races. I lost total focus on my process and was too busy worrying about everything around me.

After France, I drove to Zurich where I got to hang out with my Dad and step-mum, Jan for the day. We meet up with my sister, Jacqui and headed to Lech in Austria where I spent two nights with them. I haven’t been on a family ski holiday since I was a little kid so it was fun to ski around, eat good food and have loads of laughs.

Jacqui & Jenny Owens skiing in Lech, Austria Arthur and Jan Owens Arthur, Jacqui and Jenny Owens in Lech, Austria 2017 Lech, Austria Jacqui and Jenny Owens skiing in Lech, Austria Arthur, Jacqui and Jenny Owens out for dinner in Lech, Austria Arthur, Jacqui and Jenny Owens in Lech, Austria 

Back to racing: I have just finished competing at my first Europa Cup of the season which was ok – not amazing, but ok. Race day one I made two big mistakes costing me a lot of time and not even coming close to my training times… Race day two I definitely skied a litle better with less mistakes, but still not up to the level I could have. I placed 29th and made some EC and FIS points. It is also the first time an Aussie has placed in the top 30 of a Europa Cup DH since Craig Branch in 2010.

I have a long way to go yet to be skiing how I want, while trying to stay patient with myself. This is definitely hard at times. With World Champs qualifications ending in a few days, I think I had a lot of pressure on myself in the back of my mind to perform but I also feel, that now it’s race season, I wanted to prove myself to myself. For some reason I have still been wanting to also prove myself to those who think I’m an idiot for doing what I’m doing! I’m not sure why I care about those people because generally I have a lot of support from amazing people and they think what I am doing is awesome! Everyone is going to have their own opinion and I would be wasting a lot of my time even bothering with trying to get everyone’s approval, so it’s time to let go of all of the that side of things, get back to my process and trying to execute it on a daily basis.

If I do qualify to represent Australia at the Alpine World Champs in St Moritz, I will be over the moon with being able to tick off another goal I have set out to acheive. If not, I have a Plan B in place which will also be great for my development. Aiming towards the bigger picture next year, the Pyeongchang Olympics. Once the team is announced, I will update you on social media.

For now I am in Innsbruck, using the time for a few days of fitness, doing some washing, refreshing, before heading to Italy for some more Downhills!

My fundraising for this season has finally come to an end and I am really grateful to those that were able to donate/support. I was able to raise just over $5,000 which has helped me come this far. I have also been able to find a super kind supporter: someone who has supported me since I can remember and is still really keen to help me reach my 4th Olympics. This amazing person has helped me with a lot of my expenses and I can’t wait to be able to work with them to give back in any way I can. There is no way I’d still be over here in Europe without this kind of support and help. Thank you so very much to all. 

Jacqui & Jenny Owens skiing in Lech, Austria2 Jacqui & Jenny in Lech, Austria Birthday for Arthur and Jacqui Owens IMG_7745 Jacqui and Jenny Owens - Lech, Austria

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