In the sport of Nordic Combined, there's always a first trip to Europe. I can remember how excited I was that first time over the pond. However, I never really imagined a trip to the Middle East until the past year or so - when they announced that the 2012 World Junior Championships would be in Erzurum, Turkey.
World Juniors aren't until late February, but we're heading over there now to compete in a Continental Cup - with the added bonus of getting a feel for the hill and race course. After Turkey, we'll head back to central Europe to compete in another COC in Szczyrk, Poland. We leave Saturday, New Year's Eve, but I haven't even ventured to total up the hours of travel ahead of us. Here's the itinerary:
Steamboat Springs to Denver (van ride)
Denver to Washington Dulles
Dulles to Frankfurt
Frankfurt to Prague
Prague to Istanbul
Istanbul to Ankara
Ankara to Erzurum
So that makes 6 flights and then we'll be there! Fortunately we'll spend a night in Prague to break up the travel.
The last couple weeks we've been training in Steamboat, recovering from the races in Park City and getting ready for the rest of the season. I was supposed to go home for Christmas right after Lake Placid, but when that was cancelled, changing flights was so difficult and expensive that I just stayed here. Fortunately, a couple of the family's in Steamboat took me in for Christmas celebrations. One highlight was on the day after Christmas. I went with Erik Lynch's family to a hockey rink in Kremmling - about an hour away. We played a solid 2.5 hours of hockey (with a lunch break between). I also got up on the mountain and tele skied the day before - so waking up Tuesday my body was pretty unhappy. But it's fun to go out and do something different! I can't say I've done much more than skate around on a lake since I ended my hockey career as a ten year-old.
I'll let you know how the travels and competition go - provided that I have internet. It should be quite an experience!
Where am I?