Monthly Archives: February 2013

Weekly Update #25

Well, a lot has happened since I last posted about our team’s crazy travel day from Sochi to Dresden. First of all, I’m already back over in Europe, having just arrived in Budapest today for a week long training camp before we do the short drive over to Debrecen for the World Championships. So since I’m back in a battle with my good friend jet lag, I figured I’d do a quick summary of the last couple weeks to help me fight the urge to sleep and give my few faithful readers something new to peruse.

So, the last few weeks went like this. First, I competed in Dresden. I started out shakily, not unlike I did in Sochi, but was able to pull out a decent 6th in the 1000m and 4th in the 1500m. Not my best results, but closer to my capabilities after the train wreck that was Sochi.

Following Dresden, the team flew home and brought with us an extra passenger that a few of the team picked up the week before. A nice little cold virus. I was one of the majority who got it on the trip back and I spend the better part of the first week back getting over that. It only stopped me from training for one day, I maybe could have taken a second, but training calls and we needed to put in some good strong training in order to get ready for Worlds.

By the middle of last week, I was feeling much more closer to my normal self and it started to show in training. I’m interested to see what type of form I can bring to Worlds in two weeks. It will be my first individual World Champs and I’m excited!

First up though, like I mentioned above, we have some training and time zone adaptation here in Budapest to do, so keep watching back here for updates from Hungary.

Video of my 1500m final in Dresden

Highlight video put together by the ISU

A travel story

A travel day involving two stop overs enroute to your destination while travelling through two countries can lead to some potential mixups on the best of days. Doing that same travel with a team of 20 and a massive snowstorm in one of the aforementioned stop overs is a recipe for potential disaster. That is exactly what our team headed into yesterday.

We started our travel day from Sochi to Dresden like any other travel day between world cups. With a bus ride and the seemingly interminable process of checking in 20 people and paying for excess luggage. The Sochi airport was a bit of a zoo since there was also a cross country ski world cup last weekend and ski teams were heading back home, massive ski and wax bags in tow. After sitting on the tarmac for a while, we finally got on our way with the knowledge that our connection in Moscow would now be quite tight.

Upon arrival in Moscow, it was apparent the airport was in a bit of chaos. Visibility was reduced to almost none due to a snowstorm and there were long line ups of planes waiting to take off. The baggage arrivals area was very busy as we waited for our bags to come out. Finally, we collected all of our bags, except for one. My skating equipment bag. This is about were the trouble and adventure started. While the rest of the team ran to the check in counter to attempt to make their connection Munich, which was now delayed due to the storm, I waded through the mess that is lost baggage claim in a busy airport that functions in a language that isn’t yours. After an hour and a half of being shuttled around from desk to desk trying to get someone to give me back my baggage tags and let me fill in lost baggage forms, while hearing horror stories from other skaters, including the entire Korean team as well as most of the Norwegian cross country team, our team leader Yves came back. Both of us had to run immediately to the Lufthansa checkin desk or miss our connection. We were finally able to fill in forms but by the time the paperwork was ready, our flight was closed. Looked like we would be spending the night in Moscow.

Waiting for a hotel shuttle in a Moscow snowstorm.

Waiting for a hotel shuttle in a Moscow snowstorm.

Meanwhile, the rest of our team had now boarded the flight to Munich, and were beginning their three hour wait on the runway. Unsure whether they would get away or not, Yves and I had to wait at the airport in case they didn’t take off. While we did that, we rebooked our flight for the next morning. Finally around 1030pm (we left the hotel in Sochi at 1030am and accomplished a 2 hour flight in 12 hours) the rest of the team took off. Yves and I headed for an airport  hotel and by midnight managed to check in so we could grab a few hours shut eye before our 545am flight the next morning.

After four short hours of sleep, we were headed back to the airport. Upon check-in, Yves got a bad surprise. His Russian visa had expired at midnight. Now, not only would he have to fill out paperwork and head to the Russian immigration office at the airport, the office wouldn’t open until 6am, after our flight was to leave. Yves would have to book another flight and would arrive in Dresden, tired and sick this afternoon.

I meanwhile, boarded my flight to Munich where, after a very tight connection, I managed to meet up with the team. They had spent the night in the airport trying to sleep on army cots that the airport provides to travellers with missed connections that have to stay overnight. I felt like a zombie and so did they. We boarded the flight to Dresden and finally had a flight go off without delay or mishap.

But our day wasn’t over yet! Our practice time, and only chance to skate today was at 10am. Having landed just after 8am, we grabbed our bags, and headed straight to the arena. Because I had lost my bag with all of my skating equipment, minus a clean skin suit, a pair of spare blades, and my boots (which I always carry on the plane to avoid situations like this), I had to borrow a helmet, gloves, glasses and guards from various members of our team. After a quick 1 hour ice session, we finally headed to the hotel for some much needed lunch and rest. A routine travel day that turned into a marathon was finally over!

Weekly Update #24.

I’m at the Sochi airport right now waiting to board our teams flight to Dresden for the next World Cup. We’ve got a long day ahead of us with stops in Mosocw and Frankfurt before we arrive tonight in Dresden. I’ll write a more detailed post today on the plane and post it when I get some internet.

The Sochi airport is a zoo this morning with teams from the short track and cross country ski world cups leaving today after taking part in test events. I thought short trackers had a tough time in the airport! Definitely happy I’m not lugging a ski bag around the world!

The Black Sea.

The Black Sea.

tons of food was consumed, including a lot of sausage.

tons of food was consumed, including a lot of sausage.

We went for a team lunch last wednesday. Sorry for the blurriness...

We went for a team lunch last wednesday. Sorry for the blurriness…