So I have now been in Europe for 13 days and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t missing the States! I flew in to green, green, grassy paddocks and rain. The trip over for me was very smooth. On arrival, I met my driver and was taken straight to Liberec city with the hope of more snow. This hope melted away quickly as Phil, Finn and I walked around and viewed the World Cup Sprint loop. There were rivers of water cutting through the course. Due to the lack of snow, they could only muster an 800 metre loop, which the athletes did twice.
Sadly from the US nationals I had a cold and so had to rest for a few days to make sure I got rid of it before U23’s. I’m now happy to say I’ve been training properly for a week. But because of my rest days earlier in the week, I had to sit out and watch the World Cup instead of joining in! It was a frustrating choice, but it had to be made. There is still a lot of the season ahead and a lot of my goals are actually based around these U23 World Championships. To potentially risk the goals, racing sick, was clearly not an option. So I cheered on the team and now can charge into the U23’s with 100% health
I have had some rather interesting experiences here in Czech, which makes me feel it’s a little dodgy and hence the title of the Blog. I was doing specific strength the other day, which basically just involves me polling up a hill numerous times. Now I was coming down the hill after a set and my water belt was beside the track marking where I start each time. As I’m coming down I see a man ski up, pick up my bag, look and see what’s inside (which was a bunch of waxes) and then proceed to ski off and strap it around his waist. Needless to say, I skied after him and asked for it back. He didn’t say a thing, just skied off after giving it to me.
Another classic moment happened yesterday when Phil and I were in an Army Disposal shop looking for a pocketknife. The salesman didn’t speak any English and knew we were fairly curios looking at all the old Soviet equipment lying about. So from under the counter he just pulls out an old stick hand grenade and passes it to me. I think the look on my face must of said it all because the salesmen just laughed and took it back off me.
This is but one of the funny little moments that has made the “Sketchy” experience. Others include getting yelled off a bus for not speaking Czech and knowing where we were going to get off.
I have met up with Phil again, who has been over here for a few weeks. Together we have been able to laugh our way through it all and have been enjoying ourselves. It’s not often you cross-country near or in cities. So the ability to go shopping or sight seeing is rather novel and fun.
The junior team has now arrived and the realization that I’m starting the first of three races, in my last ever U23 World Championships has set in. Almost all the teams have arrived and the hotel we are staying in is packed full of all the different countries. It’s been great catching up with people we have met along the racing road.
We have a rest day tomorrow and then preparation for the classic sprint on Saturday. For now it’s feet up and time to read a book.
Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment!