Thursday, January 7, 2010

Touchdown France!!!

(Please forgive the context, spelling, and any other errors. Ive been writing this over the past two nights, when my mind was so confused and exhausted from travelling)

January 5th, 2010
So I’m here…sort of. Im sitting in a Train Station at the moment (my laptop says its 6:30am) back in California. Next stop from here is the L’Argintiere Des Ecrins station to jump on a shuttle up to the mountain village. I lost track of what time it is, what time I started, and most notably exactly how long I’ve been travelling for (although it’s probably much better that way). I feel like the sleeping pills helped me to be as prepared as possible for the time change here in France, but I can definitely feel the effects and confusion that comes along with travelling this far.

Next on the list is to figure out just HOW to get on the internet so I can communicate with everyone back home (I’m writing this probably a good 4 hours or so before I can post it). The language barrier has been a huge issue from the instant I left the East Coast and heard the Flight Attendant’s announcements. I’ve been surrounded by something very new to me and it was almost intimidating, especially knowing that I’ve come here alone. By the way, thank you Cindy for the Christmas gift, I’ve already used it to find out where in the world I’ve been going, and to order a $4 shot of Espresso from the Gare de Lyon station that brought me here.

…hours later.

I just arrived at my Hotel, its about 830pm local time. The 10min taxi ride from the train station up to the mountain village was 38Euro (I don’t want to calculate it again, it was heartbreaking enough dealing with it already). When we pulled up we were literally 10min late for the receptionist. Everything was dark, and I’m in the middle of a village with nobody around, its -4C, and the taxi driver says au revoir and takes off. Luckily a resident just happened to come out to the lobby to grab something from the vending machine, and he buzzed me in. I was able to call the receptionist, she walked over within 5min, and FINALLY I can call my travel day(s) complete.

Just my luck, there’s no internet here either, so that means I’ll probably be posting this up sometime tomorrow when I snowboard down to the village and meet up with all the other athletes for registration. For now I desperately need some sleep.

January 6th, 2010 – Recover, Sleep, Practice, Sleep, Registration, and SLEEP

WOW, now I know what Jetlag is…

I tried to convince myself that Jetlag was all in the mind, but there was no denying it when I woke up at 430am locally (730pm PST) and couldn’t get back to sleep. Last night’s extremely expensive cab ride left me with some mixed feelings about how well I planned a budget for the trip. And to add, my electricity adapter I’ve been using for my laptop literally blew up this morning so I needed to purchase a new one (my sincerely sarcastic “Thank You” to Walmart). Also, I didn’t mention it last night (since I thought I was still hallucinating), but that 10min cab ride was more like a Rally Racing dream. This dude driving a 4wd “Scenic” wagon was AWESOME, and I was so exhausted from all the travelling that I just held on, but with a huge smile.

Just when I thought all was lost (budget wise), little things here and there became a huge relief. For le petit dejeuner today it was a Croissant and Espresso. I wanted to use my card since I knew I needed to hang on to my cash for the inevitable expensive cab ride in a few days. The guy said there was a minimum purchase needed for the card, but said don’t worry about it and sent me on my way. Sweet. When I stopped back into the hotel to change, the receptionist reminded me that I needed to turn in my card for the room deposit. But, she said “you are probably busy, you can just do it the next day, or even the next day”. When I came back in the afternoon to remind her, SHE was busy. She just said not to worry about it. Sweet again. I got down to the village to purchase a lift ticket, this is where I was convinced that I would be shocked, lift tickets in Tahoe are around $70USD minimum. To my surprise, lift tickets were only 26,60EU. Sweet yet again. I grabbed my stuff and went straight up top to check out the terrain.

AMAZING! The closest comparison I can make is the Blackcomb Glacier up in Canada. The mountains were gigantic, and completely surrounded the horizon. There were only a handful of trees on the entire resort, which meant wide open riding off of every chair. It had recently snowed up here, so there were fresh tracks everywhere. I was on my race board, so powder wasn’t gonna cut it today, although it was extremely tempting. From my first lap I could already tell there were competitors here. I could see people on the wide open trails practicing turns in groups of 5-10. Later I found out it was the home team, France is registered with 20+ ppl. The race track was being built throughout the day, so I frequently stopped by to lay out the rhythm in my mind. But, I finally gave in and went up top to catch the breathtaking view; some of the pictures posted on my Facebook Page will show it.

Practice went well today, and I got a chance to meet some great people. Hand gestures have become a standard, since I swear French is the most difficult language in the Universe. It’s now 8pm here locally and we just finished up the riders / team captain meeting to grab our jerseys. There are over 100 people registered, which according to the organizing committee is low compared to what was anticipated. This same weekend, the FIS World Cup takes place in Bad Gastein, Austria. Had it not been for so many riders going to World Cup, they would have seen close to 200 registered today. I got a chance to meet Team Japan tonight and was able to communicate with them much easier than anyone else in the past two days (THANK YOU Sanchez-Sensei and Masuyama-Sensei). Judging by the point numbers on the roster, there are some killer racers here. At least a quarter of the racers are well beyond the 50pt. minimum for World Cup entry. None of that is in my head, I know what I’m here for, and I want to take it. A very good friend reminded me that when it comes time to step in the gates, the guys next to you are just as nerve-racked as you are. When I keep that mindset locked in, I can look down my race line and everything else disappears…

Tomorrow is our official Inspection / Practice day. We aren’t allowed on the course until 230pm, with inspections first followed by an hour of full-speed practice. Tonight, my little seafood couscous dinner will be followed by a huge helping of race waxing, edge tuning / sharpening, and sleep. HOPEFULLY I will have this posted by tomorrow, I was able to find another power adapter for my laptop down in the village.


1 comment:

  1. Way to go!!! You telling me your lift ticket was cheaper than your cab ride? Sounds like your hotel service is giving you a break and clearly knows you don't know what the heck you're doing! From my recollection, I think the biggest meal over there is dejeuner. You'll figure it out. Good luck, dude. I should have gave you some Euro to get me a souvenir shot glass or souvenir sticker or souvenir-anything from the resort. Get that course memorized. This sounds corny, but "visualization" really helped me on prerace preparation. Take care. Go get 'em.