Sunday, November 25, 2012

First slalom finish and qualified for European Cup Slalom!

Thursday and Friday, November 22nd en 23rd I started the first slalom races of the new ski season. The races where held in snowworld Landgraaf and we had a big field, 120 athletes from 25 countries.

Thursday I was a bit nervous, probably the demon of not finishing any of my previous slalom races in the IPC circuit. After a descent first run my nerves where mostly gone and I really enjoyed it again. First run I finished 4th with a 0,25 second lead over number 5 the Swiss girl that’s around the same level as I am, the podium was pretty far away with all World Cup racers ranked in the top 10, so fourth was the best I could do, it was winning for me.
After second run I was still sitting in 4th place but I had built out my lead  to 0,82 seconds.
Because these where indoor races we had 3 runs to cover the minimum vertical drop needed to make this an official international race. After third run I finished the race in fourth place with a 1,75 second lead over number 5, this result earned me my first slalom points, 157,92 and this was an European Cup qualifying result (<240 points). I was so happy!
And Anna Jochemsen from the Netherlands won the race in the women standing category.
In the afternoon I watched the para-snowboarders who had a challenging indoor snowboard cross. And off course I had to prep my ski’s again because we had another slalom on Friday.

Friday I was a lot less nervous with nothing to lose I wanted to go all in and charge the course. First run was pretty good I started a lot more aggressive compared to Thursday.
I finished in 5th place after first run with a 1,5 second lead over the Swiss girl. One of the girls in front of me, also a top 10 ranked racer, was disqualified the day before for using a pole. If an athlete has an arm impaired which means he or she can’t hold a pole using a pole is not allowed, and she used a prosthetic with an attached pole pretty clever but illegal in her class.
Well second run was pretty difficult it was very icy and I struggled to stay in, I still finished in 5th place but I had given a second away. Third run again was icy and again I struggled to stay in so in the end the Swiss girl has beaten me, she earned it, she skied a lot better on the ice.
All though I off course wasn’t happy I gave away the 5th place it was a lot of fun and exciting to have a fight for 5th place. The race over all was exciting, the podium had changed over three runs and Anna won again. In the end I earned 186 points.

Over all the Dutch team with 14 athletes, national team and development team, had some very good results and it earned the coach a third place in the nations cup after Russia (1) and Germany (2).

The day ended with champagne for me to celebrate my results.
My next races are within 2 weeks in Pitztal Austria, I will have a GS and a Super Combined.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Landgraaf training and re-classification for IPCAS races

Sorry guys it has been way too long since my last update.

Since my last update I have done summer training and back to snow training in Landgraaf and in Austria. And I have been very busy with my studies and also I have been ill, much more then I realized at the time…

On September 20 I had done gym training in the morning and I felt fine training went very well nothing to be worried about. I went to a couple of lectures in the afternoon and I started to ache a bit, sore muscles? When I got home I felt a bit tired and my back hurted.
Well long story short in 5 hours I went from normal to seriously ill.
I was admitted to the hospital that night with a high fever and a very sore back.
It turned out I had an acute urinary tract infection which has spread to my kidneys in just hours. I stayed in the hospita,l got antibiotics and started to feel better quick.
Five days later I went to Austria with the team, well needless to say skiing didn’t go well, I pushed for it and I really shouldn’t have… I got some more antibiotics and the some more because this was one stubborn infection, just like me honestly.
Well I much needed rest and so I did I took the full 6 weeks of rest that was needed to get rid of the stupid bug.
I missed out on all the other training weeks in Austria but I did start some light gym training with my physical therapist. It was a long road and still is I’m not fit yet but getting stronger and back on ski’s.

Yesterday I arrived in Landgraaf, because it is that time of the year again, the season opening races in Landgraaf, the first IPCAS race of the season. I have trained today and things are getting better I feel good on my ski’s again, so ready to race? Maybe we will see.
There are a lot of athletes racing, 120 from 25 countries all over the world, from Korea to Rusland and Canada to Australia I even heard South Africa, and off course lots of European athletes.
New this year is that there are para-snowboard cross races as well, to race in the afternoon.
On another note I got re-classified today, as explained earlier classification is used to make this a fair race with athletes with all kinds of impairments. There are different groups (classes) with a similar impairment all those classes have a factor which is used to calculate the times. So we can race against each other.
I’m now in LW3 and I’m really happy about that this is a much more fair class for me.
Tomorrow we have another day of training and racing starts Thursday.
Some pictures J

 GS in Hintertux September-October 2012
With Tina Maze in Hintertux 
With a new helmet and goggles ready for the races ;)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dutch nationals paracycling time trial

It’s been a while since my last update so it’s about time to update my blog again.
In my last update I wrote that I had just started training again after my post op infection. Getting back on track was a bit harder then I had expected, it took longer then after I broke my leg. But the thing with infections is that they make you pretty sick, so I should have known that. Since last week I’m actually getting better and able to train more, almost normal.

On July 15 I raced in the Dutch national championships time trial, I had not trained towards this event, because I had troubles getting back on track after my post op infection,  but I decided to give it a shot anyway. The course was 22 km which is pretty long for paracycling. The first 15 km went pretty smooth, after 15 km it got tough, at km 20 it was really tough at km 22 I think I died….. wel not for real off course but sort of. The finnish was 200 metres too far, well at least I gave it my all. Afterwards I was pretty happy with my race, in my current shape I  couldn’t have done better and it was a true test of character. I got a third place, Alyda Norbruis who will compete in London at the paralympic games won the race.

On other news my vacation started last Tuesday after a marathon of exams, glad I made it through. I finnished my resaerch internship at pediatric cardiology but I still have to write the paper, I start tomorow, for sure…..
And my dutch website is online, I will continue the blog the way it is but for extra information you can vissit the site.
Since I have been pretty busy studying lately I have no more news and stories to tell now. I’ll trie to update the blog more regulary now I have more free time. On snow training will start soon and I’m planning to go to London to vissit the paralympic games and cheer on the Dutch team, so lots to come.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I get knocked down but I get up again…

I haven’t blogged in a long time, way too long…. I know. A lot has happened lately so here it goes. I’m on a ski break till August, so off snow training it is. A couple of weeks ago I entered a national indoor race (not an adaptive race but a 'regular' abled body race), the first indoor parallel slalom, unfortunately I didn’t made it to the finals but I got a nice picture.

On May 15 I had surgery, finally I got rid of the hardware in my ankle. Those little buggers have been bugging me a lot.

At first it looked like I bounced back quick, I healed up nice and felt pretty good as soon as 5 days after surgery. I wasn’t allowed to walk the first 2 weeks mostly because I wasn’t allowed to wear the orthosis. After 2 weeks it was time to remove the stitches, on Friday everything looked good but Friday night I got some pain and a lot of swelling, Saturday night I was pretty sick, I spend that weekend at my mom’s she took me to the ER. Yeah I had a post-op infection, not good…. the hardware even bottered me after it was removed seriously...

Got antibiotics and had to go back to the AMC, the hospital I had my surgery, on Monday. I was still pretty sick on Monday and in pain so the doc actually wanted to admit me to the hospital for 5 days to get IV antibiotics, well I didn’t totally agree to that plan. We had a nice little discussion and I was allowed to go home with the same antibiotic in pills, I had to take those pills on a clock, which meant I even had to weak up at night to take a pill. But it worked, I had a check up on Thursday and things looked good. Last Thursday I had my third and last post-op infection check up and I was cured, and back on my feet.
So after that little incident I bounced back, like I did last time. I feel fine, leaving out the fact that my fitness level is pretty damn low, off course, but it sucks. At least I’m walking again and since Friday back on the bike. I managed to fell off the bike on Saturday, yeah I’m good, didn’t hurt my leg, just the other one but that’s just bruised a bit, no big deal.

I was on training weekend with the cycling talent team and we had a great time on and off the bike. Yesterday morning we had a technique training, which I rocked, loved it, yeah we also did slalom stuff… Yesterday afternoon was the training in which I fell off my bike. It was about finding your limits, physically and mentally, I guess. We did a climbing training,  but well I’m nowhere near fit, so I had a little alternative program only did the first and the last climb. Well in the last climb I definitely found my limit. But as said I’m fine and I had a good time. I feel great that I’m physically active again after 4,5 weeks in a wheelchair and in bed.

Building back takes time and patience but 4 weeks isn’t that long so I’ll be back soon.
Besides being an orthopedic patient I also had an orthopedic test in med school, which I aced, lots of experience ;). 

And now I’m working on a research about congenital heart disease, pretty interesting, also pretty cool to work ‘with’ pediatric cardiologists. 

 weekend with friends in April

Trying to convince my dog to go for a walk

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenged Athletes Foundation

As I wrote in my previous blog I have been approved to recieve a grant from the challenged athletes foundation. This grant will help me pay for the necessary training camps. I’m very excited to be a part of the challenged athletes foundation family and to share in their mission, that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. For me personally sports play an important role in my life and it definitely improved my life, for instance it improved my walking a lot. To be able to walk the way I do you need to be fit and have a very strong core. And besides that I have met some incredible people through sports.

CAF grant distribution statistics for 2012:
More than 1,689,273 dollar distributed to 1,102 individual grant recipients in 27 countries.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that  participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994 , more than 36 million dollar has been raised and more than 6,100 funding request from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more log on to

I want to thank CAF and their sponsors for approving me this grant and giving me the chance to ski next season. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pizol, Swiss nationals

Last weekend I went to Pizol for the Swiss nationals and I ended my season there. That said I didn’t reach my goal for this season which leaves me disappointed and I do have some explanations, but I believe losers have an excuse and winners have a plan. So I made a plan for next season, or at least the structure is there. I decided to write this post just about the Pizol trip and let the season recap wait so it can sink in a bit more, so I’ll get back on that.
On the other hand there is also some very positive news, I did get the grant from the challenged athletes foundations which is great! I’ll also write a post about this because it deserves a post so I’ll get back on that as well.

Back to Pizol.
We arrived in Bad Ragaz (Pizol) on Thursday March 29. The hotel we stayed was under construction but otherwise fine, I mean they had towels ;). On Friday we wanted to ski but there was thick, thick fog, we went for one run and I couldn’t see anything, just feel. So because of safety we skied only one run. The afternoon I spent in the spa and prepping my ski’s. Next day, Saturday was the GS race, because of a missing start list the start was delayed for about 90 minutes. It was already pretty warm and sunny by then so the course was soft and a bit slush. I still had a descent first run and was sitting in third place just a little bit behind. The second run I wanted to charge and I knew where I lost most time in the first run. The course was much softer in the second run so it was a tough race, I didn’t make any big mistakes but it was a bit slow and I ended staying in third place.

 Are they trying the new GS radius old scool or did they miss ski regulations (and helmet) all together?

I didn’t got a podium because the next Suisse girl got “my” price. To my surprise I lowered my points by 10, this wasn’t nearly as good as the unofficial Sestriere result but still a nice surprise considering the penalty was 187,76! That night we had a party in the restaurant on the mountain, what a view, it was nice and I enjoyed myself.

Sunday we woke up with a clouded sky again, and on the gondola ride the visibility decreased. We had a slalom race so I still had some hope they would run it. Also because I had a good feeling about this race and still wanted a result in slalom. The Russian team was competing now and they have girls with pretty good points so that would lower the penalty a lot. So all in all I really hoped we had a race, all though deep down I felt that it wasn’t going to happen. When I was putting my boots on in the restaurant  I heard people from the organization talking and a minute later we got the message that the race was postponed. After about an hour and a half they cancelled the race because of the fog. When standing in the course they weren’t able to see the next gate, so yeah this was the good decision. After I changed clothes and shoes we went down in the gondola and in the valley we saw on a screen that the fog on the hill was now completely gone. Well that sucked big time. But it happens it is an outdoor sport and weather can change our plans.
So off we went, heading home.

And now it’s time to rest up and time for summer training, back on the bike. I wrote last time that I started at a cycling club I really like it over there, training twice a week. This week I also got the news that I was selected for the national talent plan for cycling, which is really cool. Next Saturday we have our first training day together. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It is March and I all ready have tanning lines from my bike shorts, spring has definitely hit the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. So what have I been up to lately except for cycling, obviously. Well March was about being sick, had a fever for 12 days, and getting fit again, for the last races of the season in which I have to give it my best.
Last Sunday I went to the beach with a friend, it was a nice sunny spring day. We loved this sleeping dog, so cute, makes me miss my own dog though.

Two weeks ago I broke my daily orthosis so I wasn’t able to walk for two weeks, could limp with my crutches for small distances though.

That sucked, luckily I could still work out because I use my sporting orthosis for that. And I could ride my bike because I don’t use my leg at all, so I coped, by not going to school. To compensate for that last part I read my books in the sun every day, so this was a good excuse actually. And when classes where mandatory I went by car but parking at the hospital, even with the disabled parking permit, is widely expensive so I couldn’t do that for every lecture.
Today my orthosis got fixed again, for now, because it is pretty far gone and needs to be replaced. Also today I had test fittings for my new ‘leg’ we made some changes in the design compared to this one and I think it is going to be good, an improvement. Well I will know soon get it April 27. Thanks to Frank Jol and his team.

I have also been on my bike a lot more last month, soaking up the sunshine. To learn more about cycling and the technique and because I want to get better at it I joined a local club. I train 2 times a week with the club, those are good training sessions and I all ready made progress. And Saturday I made my first long bike ride of the season with a friend.
So that was March so far, leaving for Suisse tomorrow time for the last races of the season, wish me luck.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sestriere Februari 27-29

I have been back from Sestriere for over a week now but I haven’t been blogging about it because I have been sick since I got back and the trip turned out to be some kind of a disappointment. I went to Sestriere for a short trip with my brother, so it was just the 2 of us no team. I had raced in Sestriere 6 weeks earlier as well and it felt like a good opportunity to go back there and learn from my earlier mistakes and I did.
On the 27th I trained GS and I was skiing much much better than 6 weeks earlier, really charging the course now. Next day was GS race day and I felt confident and way more relax then I usually do in the start, first run was pretty good, I charged the course again, did make a big mistake on the middle steep part but recovered nice after that. The Italian girl that won these races last time was racing again so I could compare my times, I was out about a third less than last time, I improved even with that mistake. Second run I charged again and this was my first completely clean run in a race ever! I was so much faster still behind Melania but she is nr3 of the world so that’s ok for now, I took a big chunk off my time again.

In the end results I had cut my race points in half compared to last time I raced here and I was so happy because with this results I was half way qualifying for the Europa Cup and the national team. And I was the second fastest girl overall. But now the disappointment part….
When I first came back from the hill there was a result list with the race points and the penalty and I got the result I needed and wanted so I was happy. I went to the price giving ceremony and it was there that I found out that the penalty for the girls race was removed, making the results unofficial. Well that was a shock I drove 1150 km to get myself some points and now I found out that I wouldn’t get any points at all. The problem was this was a national championship and somehow they allowed people to race without an international license and off course those girls didn’t count in the international results and after they were removed the number of competitors on the girls side was less than 5 making this race unofficial…. Sucks but can’t do anything about it now, would have wanted to know this upfront because I wouldn’t have come all this way. The organization was sorry for me so they offered to let my come next year for free, which I really appreciate, thanks, off course they would have wanted a bigger race on the girls side to. The men off course didn’t had this problem.

Well the next day was slalom but unofficial as well. Melania invited me to go out with her that night and I went and had a lot of fun. The next morning I woke up hot with a sore throat and some weakness in my good leg, thought it was because I didn’t had enough sleep but as it turned out I was hit with a bad case of the flu. I went to slalom race far from feeling good but I wanted to race anyway, race to finish. in the first run one gate was skied out, but they had let me start before changing the gate, so well I needed a restart. I started again after the last standing male and because I wasn’t feeling well I wasn’t skiing full out I skied a bit conservative and made it in to the finish without any major mistakes but slow. Second run I was feeling better and I thought this course would suit me better so I tried to attack more in the second run, which let to me almost DNFing again well probably because my leg was feeling a bit weak and I couldn’t react as fast as I am used to, but I managed to stay in although I was standing almost still. After this I skied the bottom part pretty good and I finished.

Got another second place. But still no official result in slalom. After that my brother and I drove home and we arrived back at home at 2.30 am. Big thanks to my brother who drove almost the whole way because I was too sick to drive, only did 240 km out of the 1150.

So last weekend I was being sick sitting on the couch trying to come up with a plan on how to ski my point limit with only one Giant Slalom and one Slalom race left in this season.

I was watching the lady’s worldcup in Ofterschwang and I saw Erin Mielzynski win her First worldcup without even breaking in to the top 10 before. I have been reading Erin’s blog (and the blogs of some of the other Canadian girls Like AnnaGoodman, they are really good, check it out!) since the summer of 2010 so I have read about everything she did to achieve her dream about the disappointments on the way. And well this win inspired me because if I ski like I did in the second run of my GS race in Sestriere I can still make it in the last race in Switzerland and if I don’t well at least I have tried. I know I can do it, keep faith, I have been growing in my season getting better results in every race.

If you are having struggles keep going Erin Mielzynski march 4 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chamonix; February 10th – 16th

I went to Chamonix for the open French national championships. We were there with a small team of 3 athletes, a trainer and a coach. The first two days we trained GS mostly, did one run of slalom free skiing. Since Abtenau I took a step in my GS, things are starting to click.

Kim Monsieu, me, Tim Kant (trainer), Thomas Mulder
The team missing Stephanie (coach for this trip)

After two days we had to move to the ‘hotel’ of the organization, which wasn’t a hotel but just a building with beds, dirty old blankets, food and NO towels….. just a club house, probably.
Good thing was that it was impossible to break anything. Other then the fact that we had no towels (I mean seriously how can I deal with that) this didn’t bother me too much, I slept ok and the food was ok (except for the fact that I could just eat from the salad bar for 2 days because I am allergic for an ingredient in these meals and there was nothing else).

this is my 'towel' wouldn't call it that didnt even work properly

On Monday we started with a night slalom and this wasn’t my race I DNFed and broke a new DNF record (for me) made it only to gate 5 in the first run. But to be honest I haven’t skied one single gate, my race was bad even before the start. I have been mad, I have cried about my DNF’s in slalom but I guess I am over that, I tried and there always is a next race….
Can’t do anything about it now except for trying to learn from my mistakes.
The positive of this was that it was extremely cold and I could stay inside and dressed for the second run, or is it bad to say, even think that?

 race slope

The other positive thing is, the pressure and the focus is completely on my slalom, which is my strongest event but isn’t working out so far this season. So I ski GS more freely and my GS is getting better it benefits from the fact that there is less stress about GS. Have to say the stress and pressure is mostly from myself, but hey I just want to get the best out of myself. But I try to learn and be more relax so I can ski like I do in training.
So we skied the first GS race on Tuesday, I got a 6th place and lowered my points pretty drastic, which is good. There is still a lot I could do better but I’m improving and growing in my season.

On Wednesday we skied another GS, my first run wasn’t good so with nothing to lose I gave it all in my second run and laid down a pretty good run, I was happy about this run and I skied better points again.

On Thursday we drove home again after a good trip. I’m home for about 10 days before I leave for Sestriere, the open Italian nationals. Racing the same slope for the second time this seasons feels like a good idea, I have raced it before and watched the video’s, learned about my mistakes, well we will see.
Link for the entire photo album
Credits to Stephanie Monsieu who made most of these pictures, big thanks.