Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boardercross is finished


Finally some time to relax. Boardercross finished yesterday, so I'm back at work for a few days. It's been a crazy time. I've lost track of what day it is. I've slept less than I think I ever have. I've eaten so many bad sandwiches.

I left Cypress on Friday with a terrible taste in my mouth. It had been a great day of training (you will remember my last post saying there is no way training would happen) as the weather had turned around leaving a perfectly frozen course. It was great to be around actual athletes doing their actual sport on a course that nobody actually expected to work. Then we stood in the pouring rain for an hour-and-fifteen-minutes while the bus that was supposed to come didn't. Other buses came and went. Or came and stopped. But they weren't meant for us so we couldn't use them. It was crazy Olympic compartmentalization at it's worst. And it made me sad. Then I got home and heard that the luger had died. Then watched the abomination of an opening ceremony (the anthem! the flame screw-up! the Nancy Greene!). I wanted to just stay in bed for many days. Then I read this article and decided I needed to be less of a baby.

I had Saturday off and arrived back at Cypress for a beautiful day of training on Sunday. The course was really coming together and everybody was excited for race day on Monday.

Monday finally rolled around and I was out of bed by 3:50AM and on my way to the mountain by 4:30AM. There were just so many weird behind the scenes sites:

- 20 athletes huddled around the only live feed monitor at the start...all 20 inches of it.

- Nate Holland watching and rubbing his hip with some sort of weird gizmo. Ultrasound? Heat Gun? I have no idea.

- Shawn White!
- Cops everywhere
- The grandstands are impressive, but I'm not sure where they were going to put people into standing room. Check out the brown in the back as well.

The race itself was a bit of a disappointment. I watched from the 3rd jump as Drew Neilson went by in last place...passed two dudes in the air....then fell on the next berm (I didn't see that part but we heard the crowd noise die and knew something happened). Got to watch the final from the berm where Seth Wescott made up all his speed and watched him surge into the 3rd last jump and emerge out the last berm with the lead. Anyhow, everybody was happy with a silver, but you could feel it wasn't quite enough. Tuesday would prove that people had been holding back.
Tuesday morning was dreadful.. Up again at 3:50AM. On the road again by 4:30AM. Raining. Foggy. Ugly. We did a few slips first thing and you could barely see what you were skiing down. There was a few inches of sludgey slush covering everything. And then we sat. For hours it seemed. It felt like there was no possible way that this race would go off.

Finally, they slowly started running qualifiers. There were huge delays every few racers as the fog rolled in and out. The intervals were too inconsistent to slip the course so we just stood around waiting. And then the heats started. The sun came out and we had lots to do.

We managed to slip down to the midpoint of the course and watch the two semi-final heats. Once they were done, I took the team down the second half of the course, working on a few parts getting them ready for the final. We made it to the finish and were standing pretty much right in front of the big screen, just to the left of the finish when the final started.

Holy shit. It was crazy. That was the first heat I had watched from the finish and the first time I'd heard the crowd noise that close by. It wasn't much of a race but it was pretty cool to be 30 feet from the finish with a Canadian winning a gold.

The celebration over the next hour was pretty cool. Some of the Canadian coaches were skiing down the course thanking volunteers. The three dudes responsible for building the course looked like they had been crying. All the mens team was running around high fiving everybody. It was crazy. I'm glad I was there and I guess that's kind of why I decided to do this volunteering thing in the first place.

Other Olympic experiences?

Tried to go to Sochi house on Saturday but the lines were huge. Went to the Wilco show at LiveCity Yaletown and it was absolutely amazing. Great sound. Tonnes of people. Long show with a great set list. I never, ever expected it and it blew my mind. When the fireworks came on at the end, even the hardened hipsters looked like they had caught the whole feeling of what was going on. If you decide to go, there's huge lines to get in, but they move quickly. Definitely worth it.

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