Is this the year of Cross-Country moms?
Rebecca Dussault showed up with her husband Sharbel and her 2-year old son Tabor at the SuperTour races at Soldier Hollow last week – a “blew” the rest of the women’s field away at four of the five races. Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic last week also won her first race back after giving birth last July – at the World Cup in Ramsau. Are “mom's in!” this year?
SuperTour at Soldier Hollow
What are your long-term goals (skiing, life)?
My specific goals are to climax my return at the 2006 Olympics. Along the way, 2005 World Championships, World Cup races, Supertour, a few marathons, etc… I don't really have an intention of being a marathon skier, but I will relish the couple that I will do in the up coming years. I think that they are fun, but that will not be my focus. I would like to ski very well through the Torino, Italy Olympics, but in reality I know that I would have to compete for a decade or more to really see what I could be. I guess family is just way too important to me. I want to have more kids, and be there for them. Somebody has to be around to teach them how to ski fast.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself – your family, how you got into skiing, etc?
I was born on November 14th, 1980 that makes me 23 years old. I have one older sister and one younger brother. We grew up in Gunnison, CO. I met my husband there probably when I was four or five. At least that is what my mom says. We were good friends growing up and homeschooled together from 7th grade through the end of high school. We got married when we were both 19.
I started cross country skiing because my mother had just gone on her first hut trip and fell absolutely in love with it, being the exercise fanatic that she is. Soon thereafter, she found out that we had a local ski club that would allow you to rent skis, boots, poles, wax, and coaching for a fee of $60.00 for the whole winter. My brother, sister, and I were all signed up, no questions asked. I am the only one who continued to ski after that year. The team was pretty unstructured. One or two practices a week, an occasional weenie roast, and possibly three or four local kids races throughout the season. It was really fun and got me hooked.
It wasn’t until I was 15 that I really started racing. I joined the Crested Butte Nordic Team. Training became serious as well as racing. I loved the success of winning almost every race that I entered, and that is what kept me going. My first Junior Olympics was the most memorable because I won the 5k skate race, not even knowing how to V1 on the left side!! Now, when I go to US Nationals in Rumford, ME this week, I just laugh at having achieved that result.
This year I am skiing for the Subaru Factory Team (dreamofit.com) which is managed by Andy and Sally Gerlach of Endurance Enterprises. Andy specifically has been very supportive of me through all of the years that I’ve known him. He identified my talent, encouraged me and even tried to lure me into skiing for him as an up and coming junior. That was such a compliment to actually be asked to race for him and the Athlete Force program. Andy remained supportive to me even when I had to put the skis up for a while. Now, I am pleased to come back to working with him and hopefully we will combine efforts and have great success.
Is there anything you can say about being a mom that is making you a better athlete? What qualities do you think a person needs to be able to do what you're doing (being able to combine family and high-level sport)?
My life has changed significantly since the start of my family. There is no longer time or energy spent on selfish goals. My skiing has become a dream and goal of my family's. When I can't get myself motivated, I have my husband Sharbel there to give me a nice boot out the door to get a workout in, or when my little guy Tabor is napping, that IS the TRAINING WINDOW. GO now, or don't go. People tell me that I must have a higher threshold of pain after having a baby, but pain is pain no matter what you’ve been through. I think that the key thing for my success and for others is having a life beyond skiing. When you have goals and other things that you focus on then life is more real and you achieve a better balance. For me life beyond skiing revolves around my faith in God and my family. Having a base like that usually brings out qualities in people that allow them to do amazing things. I just trust the Lord and abandon myself to his design for my life and skiing.