Zina Kocher

3 x Olympian World Cup Medallist

The Start of World Cup Season 2013/14!

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Short and sweet update about my latest whereabouts... 

We started the first trimester of World Cups with the usual Ostersund, World Cup end of November. It was a test of true grit and perseverance with intense wind gusts all week long. The winds were so intense that the Women's Pursuit race was cancelled right in the middle of the competition! It was determined that it was too dangerous… and of course the wind was forcing 99% of the athletes into the penalty loop because of missed shots! Although I thoroughly like the Ostersund course, I was happy to move on  to the 2nd World Cup, as I had not been successful on the shooting range. Fortunately, my ski speed was excellent and I was feeling stronger skiing than I did anytime last season. Thus I held onto this positive note and focused for the next 2 weeks. 

The next week was in Hochfilzen, Austria. There I had a much better start to the week finishing 25th in the Sprint. The 3rd week we travelled to a new destination. Always a thrill because most of the time, we travel to the same venues year after year! 

The 3rd World Cup was in Le Grand-Bornand, France. A small beautiful village with a strong history in cheese making, about an hour away from Geneva up in a mountain valley. Our week started with a bang as our women's team finished 4th in the relay! A historic moment for the 4 of us, Rosanna Crawford, Megan Imrie, Megan Heinicke, and myself. A moment full of energy, excitement and truly feeling proud of each other!

The other highlight of Le-Grand Bornand was cheese. Très bon fromage! It was quite a treat to sample all the local varieties at dinner, buy cheese and smoked prosciutto in the open Wednesday market and finish the week off with a team raclette dinner! mmmm

There were also some team highlights during this month to mention. Jean Philippe Le Guellec placed 4th in the 20km Individual   in Ostersund. Nathan Smith had a personal best ever month of racing completing his Olympic qualification with 2x16th finishes in the Sprint in Ostersund and the Sprint in Le Grand-Bornand, and an 8th in the Pursuit. Megan Imrie & Megan Heinicke also completed their Olympic criteria in Hochfilzen and Le Grand-Bornand respectively. And Brendan Green, unfortunately came within a hair of making his criteria in Hochfilzen and had to return home for Olympic trials, but he had 2 excellent Sprint races here in Canmore to secure his position to Sochi. That means our Olympic team is Jean Philippe Le Guellec, Scott Perras, Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Rosanna Crawford, Megan Imrie, Megan Heinicke and myself! 

After the 3rd week of racing it was time to return home for Christmas, recovery and a few weeks of building the training volume once again. Of course, it has been great to be at home, sleep in my own bed and celebrate the holidays with family and friends! Usually I get out for a couple days for ski touring or downhill at Lake Louise, but this year the snow pack isn't great and it's actually quite dangerous in the backcountry right now. So instead I have been enjoying the variety of nordic trails in Canmore and the Bow Valley area (which there are plenty and in great condition). 

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful holiday time, Christmas and in a few days the New Year! 

More to come in 2014! As we all know, this is a BIG year ahead of us...

Cheers! 


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