Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - Athlete Perspective
Haywood National Team Report: Stuck in the Grid

By: Drew Goldsack

A long season has come to an end, now if only I could find my way home!

Let me explain- A small mix up with my flight bookings from Amsterdam to Calgary meant that I had to say goodbye to George, Devon, Sara and Beckie as they headed home and spend an extra two days stranded in Amsterdam. No big deal, there are much worse cities to have to kill time in. I made the most of my time in Amsterdam. After cracking the code that is a European train schedule I made my way downtown by train and checked out the many museums, the zoo and of course the infamous Red Light District. I also had a chance to do a little shopping and see the sights. (Amsterdam has more shopping than you can imagine!)

As I dragged my bag out the door of the hotel the next morning I was tempted to just leave it behind. To be honest, I am sick of dragging this 30+kg bag around Europe. It actually resembles more of a net or one of those crappy plastic shopping bags than a duffel bag, thanks to its many rips and tears from countless trips through the airports of the world. Itís strange to think that my whole life can be compacted into a ski bag and 30kilos of personal belongings, but itís true. With these two bags I have everything I need to spend an endless amount of time on the road.

I write this†Haywood Report†as I once again hit a snag trying to get home; I have just been bumped from the 10:25am flight to Calgary from Amsterdam to the 4:25pm flight. Great! Another day to kill at the airport, I laugh as I think about the fact that I have now essentially show up at 7:00am for a 4:25pm flight! Itís not all bad though, Iíve been upgraded to Business Class for the flight home and thatís definitely a good trade off, especially for an international flight! I donít really have any urgent business to get home to anyway, other than relaxing and getting in some turns at the ski hill. Thatís the beauty of the end of the racing season, itís a chance to relax and just go with the flow. Thereís no more worrying about arriving at your destination with enough time to prepare for the next race or whether your bags will arrive on time. You can stop worrying about catching whatever deathly disease the guy sitting beside you on the plane has as he hacks up another lung. And when 10:00pm rolls around you arenít bothered by the fact that you arenít in bed resting for training the next day because with the season over you can train whenever you want, or not at all! I know it may seem to some like we are on vacation every day of the year but the fact is that skiing is our job. Iím not complaining though, I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do and I wouldnít want to trade this lifestyle for anything but it is nice to finally get a break from the stresses of the season.

Living on the road for long stretches at a time is definitely something that you need to get used to. In fact, itís a lot like training. I think you have to be trained to adjust to life on the road just as youíd train to race a 50km. You wouldnít go out and race a 50km if youíd never done a ski race before, youíd start with shorter races and build your way up. Thatís what traveling is like too. You start out with weekend trips to races, then weeklong ski trips, then trips to Nationals and so on. This year was the first where I felt that I am totally prepared to survive any amount of time traveling and racing in Europe. I ended up spending 72 days in Europe after Christmas, which is the longest amount of time Iíve spent on the road at one time by quite a lot. Although my racing didnít go as well as I had hoped Iím glad to know that I can handle life on the road.

Now itís time to put the heart rate monitor away, relax and take some time away from regular training and racing. Thanks to all who have followed our success this season and thanks so much for your support. It wonít be long before another exciting season is under way and I for one canít wait!


Haywood WC Report is powered by Haywood Securities Inc., proud sponsor of the†Senior†National Cross Country Ski Team

Source: Cross Country Canada

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