The last month has been pretty crazy with a lot of ups and downs. We went over to Europe in the middle of December for 2 World Cups at San Candido, Italy. These races did not go well at all. The course was really short with only 10 terrain features and none of the jumps had any landings, only take-offs. It wasn't good and the results were even worse. The only good thing about that trip was Errol and I both got upgraded on our flights over the Atlantic. That's always a nice perk especially when the trip was really bad. We were able to come home for 8 days over Christmas and get some rest before our January grind that has us on the road for 32 days and stopping by 7 countries.
The trip started great with Errol and I both getting upgraded again on our way to St. Injection, Austria. Its actually St. Johann, but I think the nickname describes what we think of that course. The hill is really short, steep and injected. Not a great combo for the fun factor or safety of the athletes. Unfortunately Errol had a sizable mistake in the qualifying run and just missed out on getting into the finals on the 5th. Instead that day we drove just down the road and had lunch at the base of the Kitzbeuhel and the famous Hahnenkamm Downhill course. We followed that up by watching the carnage that was the finals that night. Congrats to Rahlves for showing off the skills that made him famous in the Alpine world.
We headed out of St. Johann on Jan 6th to drive to Les Contamines, France. The venue at Les Contamines is way better for the gliders and jumpers of the SX world. This course is a lot closer to what SX really should be. Errol was feeling really comfortable in training so we were pumped for qualifying day to finally get the "monkey" off our backs. Errol had a good qualifying run, but still only ended up 28th because I had a very uncharacteristic mistake with the wax call for that day. I don't want to give details because there might be a secret I give away, but lets just say I won't make that mistake again. In the 1st round of the finals Errol got stuck behind a huge German, Martin Fiala and couldn't get around him. Then I think he lost a little focus and stacked in a compression near the bottom of the course. Bummer day, but at least we were back to qualifying. Now onto Alpe d' Huez, France.
For those of you who don't know about Alpe d' Huez, IT'S AWESOME!!! The drive up is great. You can still see chalk on the road cheering on Lance in the Tour de France. Once you are up at the area, it is amazing. I think there are 86 chairs, gondolas and people movers. We were staying a great hotel with the Swedes and the Finns. To top it off, the course was great -- the first one we've seen all year that had rollers, doubles and table tops. Both Errol and I were licking our chops for this course and it didn't fail us. Errol was so pumped and comfortable in training that we knew we were finally in for a good result. When it came to the qualifying run, he pulled through and had a great one, aside from one little mistake at the bottom. Still, we'll take an 11th in qualifying, which ended up being the final result because of heavy snowfall over the night that cancelled the finals.
We flew back to North America on Thursday the 14th and got a ride from Toronto to Blue Mt with one of our biggest supporters, Cliff Johnson. We have a couple days off and will fire back up on Monday at Blue Mountain. It should be 2 weeks of great SX at 3 venues. Keep checking results and looking for Errol to put up some great results going into the Olympics.