2 – Relearning
I arrived to Europe on the 31st. This was the third flight over the body of water known as the “Atlantic Ocean” I had taken in as many weeks. We drove to St. Johann, Austria. Stayed in one set of apartments that night, then stayed in another set of apartments the next. Two nights later we moved an hour away to Henereit, Austria. Two days later we moved to Oberjoch, Germany. (Technically we are currently moving to Oberjoch, so I’m going to switch to future tense now.. get ready!!) After two days in Germany we Will move to Adelboden, Switzerland for two days (one of which i will be racing a World Cup GS!!) after which we will move back to St. Johann, where we started the whole kitten kabutel.
“Why”, you ask, “would you spend a whole paragraph TALKING ABOUT DRIVING FROM PLACE TO PLACE!?!”. Excellent question. And here is the answer. Although it may be a little redundant to say it now as it was quite self evident… we have been traveling a lot. Not that moving from one tiny European hotel to another is a bad thing. In fact, all the traveling we get to do is one of the perks of being an unpaid professional athlete. But its a little bit tiring, and there are only so many hobbit sized, spiral stair cases a person can stand to endure dragging their very un-hobbit sized luggage up and down.
Other then that, the trip has been a moderate success. My first trip to Europe this Season in the beginning of December was not of the same nature. After a successful month of being back on snow in Colorado, making the switch to an injected European surface proved to be one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. It was like I had recieved some kind of time warp mind wipe on the plane ride over. Like some kind of freak solar flare had occurred and interacted with my brain waves in such a way that I could not for the life of me make a turn. Without going into to much detail, it took me the length of the two week trip to figure out that there were some minor equipment changes that needed to be made in order for me to adjust to the European snow. After these were made I could slowly start learning how to ski again.
My mistake in the beginning was that I thought I had “It”. I have had “It” a number of times throughout my career. “It”, in this case, is the proverbial point where “I” (and I’m assuming other ski racers) feel or see something in their skiing and then say to themselves, “Ok, now that I know or feel or can do that, I will finally be able to achieve the next step”.
I now realize that the problem with “It” is, it doesn’t exist! “It” was a story. “It” was a fantasy my brain invented to keep the negative thoughts and feelings, that I imagine every athlete experiences, out of my head. Negative thoughts like “how will i do?” or “I’m not good enough.” at their root stemmed from the fear of change. Every time I told myself I had “It” I was telling myself that I didn’t have to worry about what ever I had been focusing on, ever again.
What I should have been telling myself was that you never have anything. That no matter how similar, each turn is a new turn. Each hotel room in some foreign land, each 8 hour car ride with comatose ski racers and grumpy coaches, each experience is different. That “It” is an idea to forever chase, and to enjoy never owning. Change is always happening. In life, and especially in ski racing, we are always learning and re-learning.