Members of the Rachel Homan rink left no stone unturned when it came to their world championship preparation.
The Ottawa Curling Club team, Canada's national champions, were scheduled to leave on March 13 for the world championship in Beijing, China.
“We know this will be a culture shock for us,” said south Ottawa curler Emma Miskew. “This is our second one abroad, so we know a little bit what to expect.”
The team competed in Latvia and Canada at previous world championships, so despite their youth – at 31, Lisa Weagle is the team’s oldest player – they have experience to back them up.
Homan said they are relying on past experience to deal with burn out, as they just dealt with one of the longest qualifying seasons of any country competing at the worlds.
To get used to the time change – Beijing is 13 hours ahead of Ottawa – the team members have worked with a specialist to adapt their sleep schedules in the lead up to the world championships.
“Hopefully when we land, we’ll be right on Beijing time and it won’t take as long to get accustomed,” said Homan, a Kanata resident who grew up in Orléans. “We’ve got some specialists on our team that let us know when we need to go to bed and when we need to wake up.”
They got some advice from Canadian curler Nolan Thiessen, who competed at the 2014 men’s world championships in Beijing.
He warned them about the smog, and the differences the team can expect to see.
Homan said they know the food might not be ideal, or what they’re used to eating before matches, so they’re preparing what they can in advance to bring with them.
They’ve also drifted away from typical 9-to-5 jobs to put in the training hours similar to other top international teams.
Miskew said she left her federal government job to do freelance design work and have the flexibility she needs to train.
“It’s really made a big difference for me, and all of us in some way have changed our schedules to make this our priority,” she said. “That’s kind of what you have to do to keep up with the other countries."
The team’s focus has been on preparing for the curling season and giving themselves every advantage they can going into the world championship.
Preparation has been the most important thing for the team, south Ottawa resident and coach Adam Kingsbury said.
“From a performance standpoint, we have a good idea of precisely what that recipe needs to be,” Kingsbury said. “None of this right now is just flying by the seat of our pants. We’ve had a number of rehearsals, and if the last month is any indication of how this team is performing, we shouldn’t expect anything except a good two weeks.”
The women’s world championship will kick off on March 18, as the Canadians take on the home team, China. The championship runs through March 26, when the bronze and gold medal games will be played.