During the Eurotour I realised that I broke my little finger earlier in the year during the freeride in Xert, Spain. Funny enough, it became the least of my concerns (not so surprising considering what happened in Barcelona).
I took this picture after I found out my wallet got stolen. Glass half full eh?
It was a mishmash of faces, people, experiences, sights and sounds. Of mishaps and mistakes, of companionship and collegiality that the sport inspires. A journey that spanned 10 countries (ok fine, it was 9, We were in Poland for a total of 20 minutes), and several months.
Because there's way too much to say, I'll let pictures do the talking. :)
Me in General on the Eurotour
BOTHERING ALL THE DOGGOS.
Doggos are to be shared; why bring them (or adopt them) if you don't want people to appreciate their glorious doggo-ness?
I spent DAYS on Flixbuses. Flixbus, please sponsor me.
Flixbuses are surprisingly comfortable. Decked out with Wi-Fi, USB ports and sometimes even charging ports, it's actually a great place to unwind for several hours, listening to music and jotting down thoughts. Just pray you don't get an odiferous seatmate.
Pro-tip: there is a small lever in between seats to allow you to move your neighbour's chair an inch or two away from yours. Find it and rejoice in your newly found extra inch of space!
Xert Freeride, Spain
The track is exactly 2 Greyswans wide.
Seconds before the fracture. I should really do more push ups, because nothing prepares you for jumping over the bales from a plank position like an explosive push up.
Ironically, Xert was meant to be my warm-up and get-back-into-it freeride, which, looking back, may not have been a stellar choice for someone trying to regain confidence. Tight and technical track indeed.
I even found some aikido-ka (aikido practitioners) on the hill! What are the odds?
Epic moments were still had. I'd still go back to Barcelona, despite the thefts. (Photo by Robbert.)
So there was one more mishap that I forgot to relay in my previous blog post. After walking past ticket control and while waiting to board the aircraft I walked past an awkward looking, forlorn man. Our eyes met. He walked up to me and said, "I'm sorry but do you have some money? I need to get to the British Embassy? My passport was stolen." I responded with, "Sorry... my wallet was stolen too...." Cue awkward smiling on both sides.
Montemale Freeride, Italy
I managed to attend this event with my Swiss crew, and I appear to have lost all my photos for this event. But I just wanted to say, how many times do you go to a freeride and get a 5 course Italian meal for dinner, with several digestives to round it all off? This was followed by a long philosophical discussion with some French riders. The next day we were woken up by the restaurant owner playing bagpipes, and we had a 4 course lunch meal during the lunch break. Rough road, but epic times.
I am slightly upset that I lost my photos and videos of the impromptu bagpipe concert.
Outdoormix Festival, France
Imagine, an extreme sports festival in the middle of the French Alps during the day, and an epic music festival at night? My friends, such a fantasy does indeed exist.
Visors help hide exhaustion (and skate face).
Oui, oui, oui! Dawn runs with my Swiss-bros.
This picture sums the Alpenrauschen event up pretty well. Photo by Duck Vader.
We partied with the Russians, who brought good vodka. A friend brought a deep tissue massager that he designed as part of a university project. These two sentences sound weird next to each other, and the first sentence sounds like a cliche, but it really happened. It was an excellent time, and we all avoided muscle soreness for the rest of the freeride.
Ghost Town Freeride
One of the most unique freerides I've been to, taking place in the ghost town of Consonno. The town was once wealthy. Land was purchased on a hill in Consonno in order to build a casino. Due to landslips, the damage of which the casino and town were unable to remedy, the town slowly became abandoned. The freeride took place at the very top of the said hill.
We camped on the roof of the abandoned casino. Epic views.
Me, just casually dangling my legs off the edge of the casino. Photo credit to Edoardo Richetti.
The track was short but surprisingly fast. On one straight, it was steep enough to hit 80km/h+ by the time it came to slide. And of course, this was the crash corner with plenty of spectators, and a live band.
This is what crashing at 70km/h+ looks like.
The crowd cheered for me as I got up and bowed. Epic fun. And at night.... well, Italians party hard so there was little sleep for all.
Word of warning - the mosquitoes are relentless and gigantic. Bring bug spray.
We started off from Milan, and after 2 torrid metro changes, we missed our Flixbus. We bused over to another train station to await another bus, while warding off mosquitoes and snacking on overpriced (but still tasty) food.
This wasn't even all our baggage we travelled with.
We got the bus (success), tried to sleep (failure), waited at 2am in the cold in Slovenia and grabbed a coffee at the only place that would accept euros that was filled by chain smoking backpackers (interesting), and finally got onto the next bus (very crowded).
We finally got to our destination in Rovinj, Croatia to pick up our rental. We parked it junction of the main town square to load in our luggage.
Seriously, we were only copying the locals. What a lovely quaint town.
In the 30 minutes I sat here guarding the luggage, at least 3 cars pulled up to park at this intersection for various reasons (i.e. getting coffee, buying the morning paper, unloading/waiting for passengers).
After getting into the car, meandering our way across the country, attempting to buy food with euros (success!), we crossed the border into Romania.
Look at our beautiful optimism! The ride in was SOOOO SKETCHY.
A lack of sleep and sketchy roads are not a good combo. We were almost involved in a head on collision, due to no fault of our own. More about that here.
Nevertheless, we persisted! Great track, great time, great people. I also had a whole room with an ensuite to myself, which probably helped (and it was glorious indeed).
Food from different countries will never cease to amaze me. I also had no idea what this was.
A side of skaters you've never seen before! Photo cred: Duck Vader
Lack of skating (ok, maybe just from me) due to the rain. Lots of friends. Lots of double chins. And a watermelon was thrown off the roof.
Lots of fake chins, BUT SO MANY REAL FRIENDSHIPS.
The day after the freeride, we packed up early and set out for our next destination, and a place I had wanted to visit for a very long time - Belgrade Serbia. The best was yet to come though, stay tuned for Part 2 and the summation of the summer!