As much as this is new for Grace and I, this is also very new for our “coach,” Laetitia. For those of you who don’t know, Laetitia Roux is a legend. She is the most decorated skimo athlete (not just as a female) of all time and was recently named the “best female of the decade” by skimostats.com. She has more championships to her name than any other skimo athlete in the world. She is truly a champion, and now we have the honor of being coached by her.
So how did we do this?
After returning from Europe last season, Grace contacted me and said that if I go back to Europe, she wanted to join me. So I started putting my goals out there to our USSMA leadership. Laetitia was traveling through Colorado this past summer during her 3 month USA road trip and she happened to be in Breckenridge during part of her stay. Ram Mikkulus, the president of USSMA knew my goals of wanting to go back to Europe but seeking a mentor and teammate to do it with this time.
It was early September, and I had just gotten back from Alaska and was able to have her over for dinner the same day I returned, and just before she headed off to California. Talk about perfect timing! She actually delayed her trip a few days so we could meet. I couldn’t believe how all the chips were starting to fall in to place. It really was the perfect introduction at the perfect time in both of our lives. Laeti recently retired from the World Cup and was interested in coaching and mentoring an athlete or two. And I was looking for exactly that.
Working with Laetitia has been a dream! Laetitia has a curiosity about everything which makes learning from her equally as fun. She is super detail oriented and very disciplined. From the moment we arrived at our Challet, she went right to work, customizing our packs to fit us better and helping us get sorted with all our gear and teaching us about proper maintenance. Skimo is very gear intensive, and there are a lot of moving parts. Skins being most important. Grace and I both brought our old skins from last season, and she took one look at them and said, “Nope, these are all shit.” Good thing we had new skins on hand and now have a better grasp on how to take care of them. No shitty skins allowed here. Ha!
Aside from her detail oriented side, she also has this spontaneous laid back side to her that’s made it entertaining and adventurous for Grace and I to be a part of. Like on new years eve she comes to us and says there’s a fire works show happening tonight, want to go”. We said, sure when do we leave? “Now!” she says. We always have to be ready for anything here.
Our coach Joe Howdyshell continues to give us our workouts and Laetitia helps train us in technique and tactical work. I feel like I’ve absorbed more in this month with her than I have in 2 years of skimo!
It’s been interesting to hear and observe some of her experience in this new chapter. This is the first time for her to show up at races where she is the one taking care of the athlete.
Not often do the best athletes make the best coaches. Laetitia, however is the type to put all her heart into whatever she pursues. She has fully invested and dove into this experience with us, to which I am eternally thankful for that and her belief in us and this journey we are both on. We are her athletes, and proud to be! She is also the only female coach in attendance at the race meetings which she has found interesting.
After traveling around by myself to races last year, I have to say having her has been a game-changer. I’m grateful to have the extra support in getting from A to B. It lowers my stress as an athlete and helps me to focus on what I need to do and more time to recover and be still.