Somehow, I had made it 4 weeks in Europe, Chamonix mostly, in the middle of the summer without rain. Which was actually a huge factor because I had been living in a tent. I was on a ‘shoestring’ budget and I figured I could camp and eat for as much as a hostel would cost. And so life was pretty blissful, because it didn’t rain. Life was simple, like summer should be. Then I realized I needed to get to Canazai, Italy for a Skyrace.
Luckily the days had just slipped on by because 10 days prior I was ready to pack it up and switch my flight to head home because my training was suffering being in Europe/traveling. I NEEDED HOME.
So what happened next, oh yea, I was headed to the dolomites, (mostly because I had alreaedy paid for a hotel) and I ended up taking a huge detour in Verona. I was on the highway and I barely missed my exit. I was doing it old fashioned, you know with a map on paper since I didn’t have wifi/gps/maps. It was an hour and 1/2+ until I was back on route mostly because the next turn around on the highway was forever down the road. This wouldn’t happen even in podunk USA because we invented driving, our nation is built upon the car. 🙂
“I knew I shoulda gone home, what is this place? Its Italy, its not France I ll tell you that, and its not Chamonix that is for sure. I am gonna miss check in at my hotel and I am gonna be sleeping in this 4 foot long Fiat and for what? I am out of shape going to a Skyrace”.
But then all of the sudden I was out of Verona and I passed through Trento and over some passes and I started to think that Italy was alright (ps. it isn’t the first time I have been there). It might have been the driving, the curvy mountain roads, not many cars, and so I was going as fast as it made sense to. As much as I don’t like the position of sitting in the car for hours, I do love driving!
I walked into my hotel and I was immediately hit with the feeling of my grandmother, it was the smell and the decor of the place. For lack of having any reference or knowledge, it was 1950’s-ish, out-dated, one of the least expensive places in the area but still in great shape. I went to bed, thinking of Nanny.
My feeling for being there didn’t get much better in the following days. I checked out the course, It was a 22k and 12k was technical down hill. I felt too old for it. I figured I would be wrecked for weeks after it. My head spun at the thought of it all. I just wasn’t feeling it, and I basically decided I wasn’t going to do the race. And I justified it by wanting to take care of my body for the races I had coming up after this one and that I really didn’t feel like I was in competitive shape.
(its worse than it looks)
In my head the race was on Saturday. Then I find out that its on Sunday and all of the sudden the race seemed totally doable, not a problem at all. I can’t explain it, one more day made all of the difference. One more day was just enough time to forget about it.
Skyracing is the most competitive trail racing in Europe. Its the most competitive trail series in the world.
I stuck around to do the race because I had hotels paid for in advance, what else was I going to do?
The night before the race I was gonna eat crackers and pesto because I missed the grocery store closing at 7:30pm and I couldn’t be bothered eating pizza again. Then I remember this one little restaurant that seemed worthy….I wandered by (as my crackers and pesto were not going anywhere) and it was open.
‘Traditional cuisine’……..I ordered noodles with venison sauce. It was so good in a simple way.
Oh but here IS where the story starts, ‘sandbaggin’, i almost forgot. At the starting line I see the only person I have known for the past 5 days, Kasie Enman, and I start telling her about how I am not into it today, my training has been lousy, I am just here because of the pre-paid hotel room, la la la.
And the race started, I ran, it hurt, I somehow fell into 2nd place on the ascent and 4k from the finish I saw 1st place. I ran hard to the line, and won.
Kasie, called me out. She was right. From now on I go to the line and I’ll say there is no telling how the day will go.