So, bye beautiful Moritz and hello gloomy Altenberg. Well after a 10-hour travel day that is. We drove from morning to night and eventually made it to a place where the highlight is the kebab shop (they are pretty damn good). The track itself is an olden goldie; built in secret for the Germans to train on back in the day and now a frequent on all race circuits, known for its challenging omega and kriesel corners. It’s a track I respect and like so although I was dreading the food, I was looking forward to sliding.
Unfortunately, Altenberg didn’t live up to expectations or my rose-tinted memories from the previous year. That’s just the way with skeleton; despite the concrete structure remaining the same year in year out the way the ice is shaped changes even within one season as the ice grows and the track workers work on it. I sort of lost myself over this week. Not doing what I know works best when sliding to work it all out; instead getting caught up on one corner rather than what way maybe going on beforehand.
Race day came around super quickly just like in St. Moritz; not helped by me missing OT2 due to some illness/lack of energy (the struggle to eat the food was real). My first race run went really well; my best of the week and I was happy sitting in 6th. However, my second may have been the worst of the week I almost flipped on the exit of four which is super common except it hadn’t happened to me all week. This then compounded down the track and combined with extremely poor visibility (and a tinted visor!!) meant that I dropped down to 9th place. BOO!! The conditions got so bad that the men’s second run got cancelled whilst our result stood (sound familiar?!).
As is with ICC we had a double race so I was hopeful to replicate run one twice on day two (following me?) and build on 9th. Race 8 (the last one of the ICC circuit) was hands down my worst performance of the year in my opinion. Unlike Whistler where I was trying my best and sliding despite every part of me not wanting to in Altenberg I just slid really badly! I finished 13th, and was pretty frustrated with myself as you can imagine. Obviously, it was not the way I wanted to finish my last ICC race but if I have learned anything in this sport so far it is that the bad days teach you so much more than the good. I took a lot away from Altenburg; and I’ll be a better slider for it in the future. A small consolation was that I finished 9th and top Brit in the overall ICC standings despite have two less race results than the rest of the field (Whistler DNF and DNS). All things considered I am quite proud of this result and it’s well within the target set for me.