Ever since the race in Saalbach, we have had a set-up problem and, unfortunately, we only found out after the first run in Kitzbühel. However, we reacted quickly and the set-up felt already much better in the second run.
I am not going to tell you exactly what it was but let me tell you this much – imagine driving with your car on a snowdrift and the profile of your tyres is suddenly losing its grip completely because it’s gone. It’s as if you’ve put on summer tyres.
At first, you do not know what’s going on and push all sorts of buttons in the car. Nothing helps. Then you drive to the nearest petrol station and spot it: the tyres are completely worn down.
Of course, you then put new tyres on. All buttons are reset to the starting point and you feel comfortable on the road again and can – where allowed – also drive just a little faster, without feeling unsafe.
I went to Schladming with the knowledge that my set-up was now right and that I could actually accelerate again and fully exploit my abilities.
Schladming is unique because of its atmosphere and spirit – the best race in the world. Racing here and performing in front of your home crowd is a privilege. It’s as if the crowd is carrying you all the way down the slope. I get goose bumps just thinking of my race and the audience’s euphoria.
But one step at a time. In the first run, I really pushed it and had a huge Gaudi (that’s basically Austrian for “extreme fun”). I did the same in the second run but, from around the first half onwards, I slowed down just a little bit so that I wouldn’t risk any mistakes and make sure I’d win the race.
But even if I would have bowed out in the second run – a gate straddle can always happen – I would have gone home feeling happy knowing that I skied at my best in the first run – and that’s what I’m all about.
I’m now going to take a break for two days after this unforgettable night race highlight.
On Friday and Saturday we are going to train giant slalom, before I head to Garmisch on Saturday afternoon to compete in the giant slalom there on Sunday, and then it’s already time for this year’s season highlight: the World Championships in Åre.
The plan is to travel to Sweden on February 13 to compete in both the giant slalom and slalom. Until then, I will prepare myself as best as I can and make sure I have enough time for my regeneration.
Of course, I’ll spend a few hours in front of the TV and keep my fingers crossed for our boys. We have a great team and will for sure win medals in all events.
See you in Garmisch,