Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogging not so much

Sorry to those who were relying on my blogging for the latest and greatest on the Paralympics. I always try to put my best foot forward but some times that foot is the rubber one and when that happens things tend to not go so smoothly. So again I do apologize. The Paralympics were grand. I will say that for the Winter Games we were on par with the Olympics. For the first time that I can remember we got to use the medal plaza for our awards. The village was, with the exception of the Canadian Alpine Team, they stayed at the hill, full. All nations that participated in the Biathlon, Cross Country, and Alpine were all nestled in to the village. The US, Italians, and Australians were all in one dorm, each having their own floor. It is a beautiful complex.
The hill was just as beautiful. Having got to race on it in 2009 I knew what I was going to be seeing but to be there with a grandstand knowing it was going to be filled to the brim. I was able to walk up into the Grand Stands before any of the events began and it was breath taking.
The events were fun. The first week was filled with rain and fog so events were turned upside down. I got to do my Downhill training run on the first day of downhill training. The Standing guys had to wait until the race day. After the guys got done the fog moved in and we were done. So the next day we moved into slalom. The schedule went like this, Downhill training, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Downhill, Super-G, Super Combine. I don't think that I have ever run such a weird order. I had fun there. Not my best performance but I had fun. I was able to make the decision that this was going to be my last international race. I am sure that I will keep my toe in the sport but I am going to actually focus on cycling. I am excited for this. I am about to start a new chapter in my life. I might even get a real job. Crazy ain't it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The weather

So the weather here in Canada is like riding an unknown roller coaster. I am getting whiplash from all of the different types of weather that we have experienced. When I arrived at the village there was no snow on the ground and it was raining, just slightly. four days later there was four feet of new snow on the ground and the Smurfs were making snowmen eight feet tall. Today it pissed rain all day and the snow washed away. I am not sure of to make of this place. Do I tell people that it is a great place, because when the sun is out it really is beautiful, but if it raining while skiing I am not going to tell anybody how great that it because that sucks. My teammates had to race in it and I am most likely going to have to as well. I am not sure what to tell my folks. So last night at the meeting we were told misting to light rain, and it effing poured all day long. Tonight we were to light snow to rain, so should I expect a blizzard to torrential down pour and flash flooding reports. All I know is that I am going to have four pairs of goggles ready, three jackets, two pairs of gloves, and a dry sock. On the bright side I can add this to the list of shit you never thought you would do while skiing. I have skied in the rain before but not at a Paralympic Games. It will be a nice wrench in the works for those who need perfect conditions. I just plan on have a ton of fun and living life to the fullest.
Ooh yeah I should probably let everybody know that I finished fifth in the slalom. Not my best showing of slalom technique but I am happy. I will be able to move on to the rest of the events knowing that there is going to be no more pressure. I am here to have a good time and enjoy my friends and surroundings.

Opening Ceremonies

So I have been asked the last couple of days what my favorite part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Paralympics were I don't have to think long to respond, "The part where we walked in." This for two reasons, first was that there is nothing more amazing then to walk into a stadium that is 60,000 full and they are there for you, second is the fact that was all I got to see. Hind sight is a bitch but I was thinking about performance and staying up until midnight the night before the scheduled downhill didn't sound like a good idea. So my Opening Ceremonies consist of me riding the two and a half hour bus ride with the team to BC Place, going through the airlock, then sitting with team USA, then marching into the stadium with Team USA, and then sitting for about 10 seconds and then walking out, and then back on to the bus with other wishing to depart early, and finally getting back to the Village seven hours after we left.
My Family attended and they enjoyed it very much. They did the drive up after ceremonies had finished. I am glad that they are here. It is fun to be able to share this experience with my family, specially the Aunts and Uncle that made it up from Texas. Unfortunately for them with all of the rain and fog they will only get to see one race, the Slalom, for the downhill, super-g, super combine were postponed until later in the week when the weather was supposed to be better. That is the bummers of an outdoor sport and those who can handle it are the ones that are going to win.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What it means to be at the 2010 Paralympic Games

I have made it to the Village. It is an amazing place here. I feel like I am back at college except I know everybody and everybody is here to perform at their best. There is the feeling of an elite society that are here to do what they signed up for and do that at the best that they can. I am glad to be here. I am glad to be apart of this elite society. There are twenty-seven Alpine skiers representing the Country. I am representing one of fifty-three athletes, that is as an individual I am represent 5.8 million people. I hold that on my shoulders and walk proud. I am proud to be an American. I am excited to be competing for America.
I have had a couple of good days here so far. The first day was just a chill day. I got to explore the Village a bit. I bought the souvenirs that I wanted for myself. Expensive, but luckily I got to use my Visa gift cards well, thank you CTAM and USOC. I also made it to the hill. What a cool experience to be able to stand in the finish coral before the racers and spectators showed up. Standing there was truly breath taking.
On the second day I went free skiing on my downhill skis to get used to those again. The skiing was fun. After the skiing I went up and watched the test skiers of the downhill. They all did really well and it was cool to see what my family is going to see. After that I went to the gym and did got a workout in and then chilled the rest of the day.
On Wednesday we got to run the downhill. The downhill is going to be fun. Unfortunately there is a lot of new snow and a lot of fog. We were on a three hour delay. I did get to run but the men's standing did not. I was happy that I got to run. It is done and over with and even if the next run is just the race I will be ready and happy. And on that note today's run was canceled due to snow. There was at least six inches of new snow here at the Village so add a bit more and that is how much there is at the mountain. The great news is that there is more on the way. Downhill always brings out the best weather.
I get the day off and I get to have another day to get ready. I am ready.

Vancouver 2010

I have made it to Vancouver. I have my credentials, my backpack, and my ski boot. I am ready to ski. Yesterday was a ride for sure. After a great night in Denver with Kevin, our physio, John Whitney and I made our way to the hotel for team processing. Four times I have been through the gauntlet of getting Paralympic apparel, not once did I imagine that we could get more, and yet each time I go through I get more clothing then I know what to do with. This time through I came out with three duffle bags full of Ralph Lauren and Nike. I brought so much clothing with me I don’t need to do laundry while I am here.
Today was the travel day. Starting way too early we ate breakfast and got onto a bus to the airport. We got there three hours before the flight left for Vancouver. I would understand the time schedule if we had to check in everybody’s luggage, but we didn’t. USOC took our luggage the night before and all we had to do was check-in. Once in the terminal I took Rob and Danelle up to the Red Carpet club seeing that I was flying internationally and cause I could. The flight was no problem up in first class. I like upgrades. Now I am sitting on the bus heading up to the Whistler Village. Things should go easy from here on out.