Laura Deas column: 'Back to business after Christmas break'
I'm back on tour again after a short Christmas break, heading into World Cup number four in Winterberg, Germany.
This half of the season is a really long stretch, five races back to back and then a short break before the World Championships and Olympic test event, so it was really good to get some rest in at home while I could.
The Christmas break never seems long enough but I managed to get some good relaxation and family time in around training, which was much needed.
We left again for Europe on 31 December, which meant spending New Year's Eve in Munich with the team. The staff need not have had any worries about us athletes staying out late, I think we were all asleep well before midnight. Apparently the fireworks were good!
Last week the World Cup was in Altenberg, the track I won gold on last year, and because of that I had very high expectations of myself going into the week.
Altenberg has a reputation as the most technical course on the tour, and there is one particular corner called the 'Kreisel' which athletes find quite scary.
It's a full 360-degree corner with four big pressures and the potential to hit the roof in any that you don't steer just right. I'm no stranger to the roof myself, having crashed there more than once in my earlier years!
The other reason it's so challenging is it's not just a matter of navigating it safely, but the idea is also to generate speed as you go.
Because the Kreisel falls in the middle of the course, it's really important to carry as much speed from the top as you can through to the last few corners below it, so you have to try and do just enough to be safe without overdoing it and slowing yourself down too much.
As it happens, Kreisel went quite well for me but I made a mistake in an earlier corner on my first run that cost me some time. In the end I finished sixth which, considering the mistake, I was happy with.
I also managed to produce the two fastest pushes which gives me confidence that I'm in good shape as we get closer to the World Championships.
Recently the World Championships were moved from their original venue in Sochi, Russia, to Konigssee, Germany, following the publication of the second part of the McLaren report.
Historically, I haven't had my best results in Konigssee, but I trained well there last year and I feel I'm due some luck there. There's definitely an element of luck in our sport, with it being outdoors in winter, there's obviously the weather that can play a huge part.
In all three races of the season so far we have had snow during the runs, and in Lake Placid I unfortunately got the worst of it, but you just have to hope that at some point the luck will even out.
The snow has followed us here to Winterberg too where we have the next race on Sunday, which also doubles as the European Championships.
We arrived on Sunday and for the first training day I just watched other people slide, rather than sliding myself.
Sometimes I find that watching sleds come past and seeing the shapes the sleds make in the corners as they come past actually helps show me what is happening on the track and how the ice is behaving as much as if I was sliding.
With it being another race in Germany, the home team will be at a big advantage but I'm feeling good about the track and excited to race here.
This track has a very different personality to Altenberg. It is much more subtle, and starts slowly, but then the speed sneaks up on you in the last few corners and you can be doing around 130kph before you know it!