So we left Ft. Bill. Lots of people were headed out to Wheels of Speed in Willingen but we just wanted to get to Austria and ride. We hitched a ride with Evan Turpen because he was driving solo so it worked out well. The first day we drove down Glasgow and dropped off the rental car. From there we drove down to London where we met up with 2 good friends of mine from Whistler…the Patten brothers, Dave and Steve. The two of them have a flat just outside of London so we dropped our stuff at theirs, grabbed some food and the 5 of us took the train in. Neither Keene nor Turpen had ever been to London before so as soon as we got to Liverpool station we hopped in a black cab and got the quickie tour of London…Big Ben, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace… Then we went to SoHo where the night really started. We just bar hopped it lets just say it was a ridiculous night :) The Pattens sure know how to do London…
We were up bright and early the next morning as the boys had to fly to Belfast for work and we had to hit the road so we drove down to Dover and caught the ferry over to Calis, France. After a long day of driving we got to Frankfurt where Keene and I bought train tickets for the next morning…destination Saalbach, Austria. So right now I am sitting on a train somewhere in Germany…
So unfortunately my race ended at Quali’s…again. The course is bad ass, no other way to explain it. Its long, its rough and its physically demanding. So like I said in my last few posts, I just haven’t felt too great on my bike. I finally started to feel ok here. I was really loving the rocks up top. To be honest, I find the rocks kind of relaxing, you just settle in to the fact that it is rough, hold on and find your flow…it just feels so good. The bottom was just wide open and fast with a bunch of jumps and pedaling.
I really did not want to crash in qualis after my little Maribor fiasco so I just decided to take it mellow. A little too mellow. When I got to the top for qualifying I got soooo nervous. Walking outside to a sea of wind trainers is terrifying, I found Anka up top and she was like a breath of fresh air, just being around her made me calm.
Yah so I got in the start gate and it was just kind of surreal like, I can’t believe I was actually riding my bike. I don’t really know how to explain what I was feeling. I have never felt anything like it before. I feel like I went from one extreme to the other…being scared out of my mind to being so calm that you lack any type of intensity whatsoever. Where my head was for 6 minutes…I surely have clue. At one point on the course I ran off course not because I was going too fast or was out of control but I was so out of it. I felt really comfortable on the course in practice and knew it well and then in qualis…there were things I didn’t even recognize on the course (which I had of course seen many times before). For reals? ha. Who does that. You are supposed to be destroyed at the bottom of the Fort William track…I was not tired nor the slightest bit out of breath and my arms or body were not tired at all. It kind sucks to be that close to qualifying knowing very well I would have gone wayyyyy quicker.
Its quite easy to get discouraged from all of this, this is not what I came here to do but I have just gotta keep my head up high and keeping learning. Hopefully, I will find the middle ground in Austria…they say 3rd times a charm.
Of course I wanted to be racing on Sunday but it was pretty cool to be a spectator. I have never been to a race like that with so many superfans. Everyone was just so loud and so pumped, it was a special experience. Fort William is an amazing venue for spectators…I mean it is kind of remote but you can see so much of the course from one vantage point so in that regard its exceptional. :)
I always have fun at the US Open but to be perfectly honest I was not loving it this year…at the end of the weekend I was feeling pretty beat up mentally and physically and I was seriously considering whether or not I should even go to Scotland for the World Cup. After a few not so good national results it does not exactly give you the confidence to go and compete with the best in the world. But after some serious deliberation I decided to head out to Ft. William…and I am so happy that I did! :)
Like I said before, racing the World Cups is a whole different ball game, particularly in Europe. Its just awesome. The competition is stiff. The tracks are big. And the vibe is just awesome.
The Scottish Highlands are beautiful…and the mountains are way bigger than I imagined. There is lots of greenery and beautiful lakes. To make it even better we are staying at this awesome lodge/rv/camper/mobile home place over looking one of the lakes. It is definitely cozy but I feel like I am at summer camp and its awesome. Kinda makes me want to roast marshmallows.
We went up and checked out the venue. My bag was lost so I didn’t do a course walk this afternoon but I walked up a little bit from the bottom in my flip flops and it looks rad. Supppppper fast, rough and lots of big jumps…and that was only the bottom. They pits are starting to take shape and there is a huge presence so it should be good. They also have a huge grandstand at the bottom for all the spectators. Is crazy I feel like I am in the middle of nowhere but somehow like 10,000+ fans show up here each year for the race…can’t wait to see it with my own eyes.
Tomorrow we have the course walk, I will keep you guys posted. Oh yes and just to let you know it is almost midnight and its still totally light out.
The US Open has been a demon of mine for a few years. I always feel good on the course there, but I can never put together a run. I was ready to get my revenge on the course this year but this year turned was just like the rest…urgghhhhhhhh. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. Despite loving the course, I just never got my mojo…I was just off. This translated into my race run and that was that. I don’t even know what place I ended up, I just know that I was not happy with my riding.
We were staying at a hotel right at the bottom so was basically just watched people get carted to the hospital all day. Not so cool. At the end of the course there was a 40 foot jump which was originally really lippy for its size so people were over jumping it and exploding but then they planked the lip out so it was just a floater. You (at least I) had to pedal pretty freaking hard to make the jump as casing it usually meant a mega stack as there was a big knuckle on the landing and there was almost always a super strong head wind into it so it was really hard to gauge speed. Not to many of the girls were hitting it so I was happy to be one of the few hucking it like its hot.
One thing that I can’t help but mention is the fact that the women’s pro purse was significantly reduced ($ and depth) to give the boys more…first place used to walk away with $5,000- this year it was reduced to $3500 and the mens was upped to $7500. I am sorry, but I think thats pretty lame…
I have had an interesting past few weeks. Things have been weird since I graduated. I think that there is no other way to explain it other than I feel a bit lost. Of course, I am happy to be done and on the road but when your entire life as you know it has consisted of school nearly everyday and then it suddenly just goes away…its just weird. No matter where I was or what I was doing, the school always created structure and consistency. I know I have a lot of cool stuff in the works but in so many ways its just daunting, I feel like one chapter of my life has closed and another one is beginning, its just a transitioning point in life…life has many of them.
I haven’t felt particularly good on my bike this past week or two which has only exaggerated my feelings. I have always had goals but this past week I sat down and rewrote a little road map for myself…nothing concrete but goals which will help put my in the direction that feels right…daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, 6 month, 1 year and 5 year goals.
When crossing a new frontier, each moment is split in two; melancholy for what is left behind and excitement for what is to come.” –Hugo Chavez