Getting to Quebecwas a little crazy. First was the flight from Denver to Toronto, which was the best part of the trip. We upgraded to First Class and it was great. Truly a more civilized way to travel, being fed and lots of moving around room is the way to go. Thank goodness I had upgrade credits that needed using.
We arrived at Pearson airport on time but it always takes so long to get luggage, plus clearing customs, we ended up spending an hour in the air port. This was not good because coach made the decided to drive to Montreal
that night so we could hit up the first day of practice.
Once all was said and done, eating and saying hello to the parents, it was already 7pm, we had a 515km drive a head of us and I knew my Aunt would be waiting for us to arrive. We needed to get to Montreal
The 401 highway was our main route and about 40kms in to the trip the speedometer went out, so I had to drive according to RPMs. I am used to this because of my boat training; sometimes the speedos didn’t work well on the boats, so you would do what you can. Driving fast, I was driving with my head on a swivel. Lady luck was on my side and I made it safely to my Aunts in less than 5 hours.
The next morning there was practice at the resort, Stoneham
, at 10am, and we were still 280kms away. Roberto drove the rest of the way while I got some sleep so I would have some energy for the 3 hour practice I would have to ensue and perform in.
We made it and were on course, with accreditation and bibs, by 11:45am. Phew! I was a bit surprised to have such good practice. I thought I was going to just do straight airs but I was able to pull it together and get my run down a couple of times.
It was also great to see good friends at the top of the pipe. I have slowly befriended Chinese rider Xuetong through her coach, my friend, Christopher Clark. “tong tong’ is her nickname on their team and she’s always smiling and high-fiving when we meet up. Her and ‘crazy Dr. Loo’ are very patient with teaching me Mandarin, it’s taken me a while to learn ‘how are you’ and ‘I am fine’. It’s much different from the Japanese that I have learnt in the past, and I have troubles with the intonation, but I am happy to try.
Coach and I were relieved to finally get checked into the hotel, unpack, eat, and catch some Z’s.
Tuesday’s practice when very well, with the sun shining and pipe having a much better shape, I practiced various runs with ease, and I could feel the energy building for the contest. That night I had a meeting with Bob Palmer
to get my mental game up too. It was great, and I was fired up.
The late morning of Wednesday was a snowy one with light fog in the half, the men rode first and there ended up being a half foot of sugar snow in the bottom. Neither of this mattered to me because I was so in the ‘zone’. It’s hard for me to describe to you exactly what happened or what I was doing because it was almost dream like. I was on auto pilot that morning. I did my runs and nothing else mattered. This is what the ‘zone’ is like. I didn’t even notice anyone else’s runs…I leave that up to my coach. At least I got that right that day; that I definitely found the sweet spot in the zone.
When I reached the bottom of the pipe I heard from the announcements that I had made semi finals and I was so stoked. On to twitter I went telling everyone about my accomplishment. I had made it though…or so I thought I did.
Later that night, after preparing all evening, I received a call from Canada Snowboard telling me there had been a tabulation mistake and I actually missed finals by a point and a half. I was SO BROKEN!!
Just heartbroken with this news! I was in the dumps. My balloon had been totally deflated. This contest meant a lot to me, and this mishap made me feel as though I was on the brink of quitting. I know a lot of people envy what I do, but I also envy what everyday people get to do too. Life is way easier to punch a clock, get a steady paycheque, and sleep in your own familiar bed every day. There is so much ambiguity in my life that at times it drives me crazy and the people around me crazy.
So, with all that happening I am lucky I have the support of some great people in my life. My Mom and coach who help keep things in perspective; friends who make time for me when I am around and fully understand when I need to work. I get a lot of love from these people. At least how I live helps separates the real from the fluff. No matter what the result of the contest I know I am always winning at life with these people around me. There will be more contests and it’s a build to greatness. It is a hard road, but would be much harder alone.