I wake up: six am on a Saturday. The car’s thermometer reads negative fifteen degrees. It’s still dark outside as we drive. I dress into my thin “speed suit”: no jacket, no ski pants. I tremble uncontrollably at the top of the mountain as I wait. I hate this. I’m anticipating my one minute ski run down the iced-over course. I hate this. I concentrate on twitching my face muscles to keep the blood flowing through my nose; I tell myself that I’m not gonna get frostbite this time. I know that ski racing is a mental battle, so I try to tell myself that I’m not scared. I’m ready to drop 1000 vertical feet in fear of losing grip of the ice and sliding into the fences on the side of the trail. It takes a just second of lost concentration. I hate this. They call my number, and I’m up. “Racer ready. Three, two…” I’m off, and suddenly I no longer feel the cold. I battle the racecourse, one on one. I grunt and drive all of my strength into my legs at every turn. I can do this. My adrenaline kicks in, and I feel more energized than I ever have. I remember that nothing makes me feel more, ironically, in control. I love ski racing. All of the driving and the cold and the fear is worth it.