Monday, January 16, 2012

Race Day Preparation and Free Riding

We arrived into Tignes yesterday afternoon around 6pm and checked into our accommodation, which is apartment style and comfortable (and only located a short walk from the majority of the competition piste). Today was spent familiarising ourselves with the area and practicing for the events ahead.

Tomorrow we have the first event - Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS). The weather has been clear for about a week, so the cover is very firm now, so there should be some fast times tomorrow. My backs still in a little pain if I push it, hoping that it clears up in the next few days.

Check out some photos of the area. The two resorts (Tignes, and Val d'Isere) are huge with some spectacular surroundings, with 300km of downhill area and 10000 ha to explore. Makes you feel really small when you get to the top and take a look around.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time to recover, time to ride!

I've been off for a few days due to a back injury which has limited the amount of riding I can do, even with a steady intake of Ibuprofen, but it looks like that is clearing up now. Completed a short run up the hill this morning so things are looking positive.

Weather forecast for Pila for the next 5 days is clear and sunny conditions. Terrible! :P

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day one, things escalated (again)

We rocked into Pila (which is near Aoste, Italy) around 9pm on new years eve as the Mont Blanc tunnel was closed and we needed to drive the long way, up what appeared to be a fairly treacherous road to be traversing in a motor coach. Missed dinner at our lodge but contingency arrangements were made for a feed at Gallagher's Pub which is a short walk away. We got into the bar around 9:30pm, our group being the first there, but it gradually filled to capacity which was a good suprise. The local population starts their bar socials late here.

Things escalated towards 00:00 and shortly thereafter people were dancing on tables and getting epic. I learnt a new drink called Purple Rain, which involves lighting a shot in a double tall glass, extinguishing and consuming the contents, then snorting the remnants of the shot off the underside of an upturned wine glass when you are done (no idea what was in the shot though - may find out later).

So after what was many hours and attempts to bail the party early, the head hit the pillow around 4am, and we started new years day on about 3 hours sleep. We spent the next day with some mellow snowboarding mostly shaking out the cobwebs and finding the legs, but lack of sleep and a hangover didn't help too much. It was also a beautiful clear day, which made things very bearable :) The day finished with a good meal and early night.

Pila is a pretty cool resort, they have a decent terrain park (probably on the smaller side, but there is variety, and nobody is riding it), a super pipe (somewhere, haven't found it yet), and way less boarders than skiers for some reason (probably an 90/10 ratio). This makes the riding around interesting. The layout is a little confusing and we are still getting our bearings.

Today we met our coach/instructor and got into some light drills and getting to know everyone's riding (as well as slowing things down and breaking some habits). Tomorrow will probably be more of the same, with some snow to improve the conditions.

Happy days :)

Fantastic view from lodge balcony