My main focus is to compete in all the classic events. In Cable I want to compete in the sprint and the 5km just like in Solleftea [2013 World Championships] but I am not sure whether or not I will be contending for the 15km freestyle."
Swedish cross-country skiing star Helene Ripa is hoping the new sport of mountain bike orienteering will spur her on to glory at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin, USA, following a tremendous year that saw her win her first ever Paralympic title.
Ripa is expected to be one of 150 athletes from 20 countries competing at next year’s worlds from 22 January - 1 February, and to get ready for the biggest event since Sochi 2014 she has been busy pursuing mountain bike orienteering.
“I mainly do it for the fun of it but I also feel it can give me the motivation to keep fighting when I’m skiing,” the 43-year-old leg amputee said.
“It’s a crazy new sport which combines both cycling and orienteering.
“It is a long way from skiing as you have to focus for a lot of the time on reading the map and the more tired you get the harder it gets to stay focussed but its good training for my fitness."
At the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Ripa won gold in the 15km classic style standing event and claimed silver in the 4 x 2.5km mixed relay open.
Despite her victory in the individual event, Ripa is aiming for success in the shorter classic events – both the sprint and the 5km at Cable 2015.
“My main focus is to compete in all the classic events. In Cable I want to compete in the sprint and the 5km just like in Solleftea [2013 World Championships] but I am not sure whether or not I will be contending for the 15km freestyle."
As well as jumping on her bike during the summer, Ripa travelled to Idre Fjäll, Sweden to speak to a camp of adolescents with diabetes at Sockertoppen.
The aim of the camp was to help children with diabetes by advising them on ways to stay healthy and stay active. Ripa was able to give an inspiring lecture of her career so far.
“They were the most interested audience I have ever had!” she exclaimed.
“They asked me a lot of questions and I feel I may have been an inspiration for them which is nice. They learnt a lot about me and I learnt a lot about them too.”
Following Cable 2015, Ripa will finish off her World Cup season in Norway before travelling back to Sweden to compete in one of the world’s most highly contested cross-country skiing events.
“After Cable I will be competing in Tjejvasan and I will be doing the 30km classic event. There will be 10,000 ladies [both able bodied and impaired] competing and I am looking to make it into the top 50 – that is my other aim for this season.”
The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin, USA, will feature over 150 athletes from 20 countries and will run from 22 January - 1 February.