Spoky Woky – Vancouver to Calgary

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For a long time, I’ve wanted to visit the scene on the other side of the Atlantic with my own eyes, and when my parents offered to pay for a ticket for my flight to the World Cup race in Calgary, my dreams finally became true. I was really stressed about the flight: I had never been in those flying machines! Calgary’s race was scheduled to take place at the end of the euro season and I totally wondered how to organize my travels as, at that time, I was the only European registered. I was lucky to have the opportunity to spend some extra time in Canada when a nice crew from Vancouver asked me to visit there before leaving for Calgary. I was so stoked! I was not only going to the World Cup but also visiting Vancouver! On the 22nd of August, I was ready to fly to the ”new world” for the first time. The travel was quite long, around 10 hours for the flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver. I took the most horrible place which exists on a plane: the second seat of the middle aisle! I could not sleep, it was mega uncomfortable. When I finally arrived in Van, I was so tired that I didn’t realize that I was there. The only thing I wanted was a bed, a warm cover and 10 hours of sleep. I only had the energy to eat my first sushi meal and then my host took me to the place I’d be staying for the duration of my time there. Those guys were living in a house in the East of Vancouver. Such a super quiet and cute place in the middle of the forest. We were really apart from the noise of the city. The garden house was visited by a lot of animals, several birds, squirrels and even a bear! In the house reigned a super mellow ambiance. All the guys were super cool and were chilling all day long waiting to finally ride at the end of the afternoon in the BP’s. The British Properties or BP’s (according to the homies) is DA spot in North Van. There are so many roads awesome roads in this area, you only have to choose your track! Actually I’m pretty scared to ride similar spots in France, but there was no fear in Vancouver. Every road was large and you could see around you, there were only a few cars driving up and a bus brought you back to the top. The homies knew the difference tracks really well and I was able to follow without loosing myself on the way down. I was riding Mount Seymour when I saw a young bear who wanted to cross the road! That was quick but magical. Here, everything is different from Europe. Roads, minds, malls, language. Even though I improved my English these three last years, it wasn’t enough to be very comfortable in a conversation. My fucking French accent was really not helping me. Well sometimes I was following the flow without understanding what happened, where we were or where we were going. It felt like travelling in the fog. I did a quick loop in downtown. Many buildings, many Chinese guys. Crazy. Meals were really good everywhere I went. We left for Calgary the day before the race. We were all in an old bus called Celina. This old lady was super hot and stylish! We crossed the rocky mountains by the night, even if we didn’t stop on the way to enjoy the mountain, I was super stoked to see those mountains. Different than the Alps but beautiful too. I could see many landscapes that you can imagine when you think about a cowboy movie, that was epic. Sweet Célina was soothing us with her smooth suspension and I had a great sleep until Calgary. Race Time The race was held in the Olympic area of Calgary. We were down the hill close to the luge track and going to the top with a chairlift. That was funny, first time I took a chairlift for a longboard event! The pavement of the race track was pretty rough, semé of bumpers on three parts and six corners. It wasn’t fast, I think the fastest part is at the end, when you cross the finish line! The most important thing was to stay very grippy and catch the less rough part of the corner to keep a good speed for the next one. I wasn’t really informed about the speed bumps, I saw the two first ones but the last one I didn’t. What a surprise when at the end on the last curve, before the finish line – totally being ejected off my board because I didn’t see the bump. I was looking at the riders around me and fell on my ass hard! I think I stayed for 2 mins with my hand on my butt while saying very rude things in French. I was still warm so I rode all day long, practice in the morning, and qualis in the afternoon. I beat that fucking pain-in-the-ass bump by holding unto my board with both hands while I went over. First time I’d done a road like that. I don’t want to imagine going to race like Cathalamet which is way more sketchy! It was SUPER RAD at the end of the day to lead the Women qualis! In the evening everybody left the place (no party tent like Kozakov). We went chilling in town, and I tasted the POUTINE for the first time in my life! On the second day, it rained. We were not able to improve our time. After a fucking disastrous altercation with the cops, the day was spoilt. I wasn’t in the mood to do anything and my coccyx was getting worse hour by hour. I wasn’t even able to pull my left leg up. We stayed at the hotel, lying on my belly because sitting on my ass was torture. In the morning, super sore, we left for the last day of the race. I arrived too late for my repechage run, even if I arrived on time, I think I would not have been able to do many runs before the women finals because of my coccyx and my leg. I waited till the afternoon for my race. There were girls that I never met before, some homies from Calgary and the USA. I was so stoked to meet Dominik Vukorep again, good memories of my first IGSA race in 2010 at Graveyard Call. There was also Katie Neilson, back from her knee surgery a few months earlier, Jolanda (the flying marshmallow), pumped from the euro season, ready as ever to kick some new asses. And the mellow Rebekka, here to take the World Cup back home. My first run was with Katie, I know she’s still in recovery but she’s still super dangerous and there was another homie, Victoria Wadington, coming for her first race. Victoria crashed in a corner and I went to the semis with Katie. The semi was epic… what a furious casting: Katie , Me, Jolanda and Helena Corrigal another Calgary rider. While Rebekka was fighting Dominik, Charlie Criket and Alicia Fillback. As always I pulled a great advantage with my stronger push, then Jolanda placed behind me, followed very closely by Katie and Helena. I really felt that behind me the girls were hot on my tail, I kept steady in front while Jolanda stayed close to me, locking the lines to Katie. At the end of the track Katie made a last attempt to take Jolanda on the finish line, I heard them so cloooose to me before the bump and I wondered where they were but the only thing I knew is that it was super hot behind my ass. Finally we crossed the finish line together but Jolanda just a bit in front of Katie! What a run. I was so stoked that Jolanda and I were qualified for the final, and when Rebekka finally qualified too I knew that we would have a Euro podium! The final wasn’t as exciting as my semi, I pushed first but I was taken by Bekks on the first corner, Jolanda kept the third and then we stayed all at the same places until the finish line. When we crossed it I was so proud to be second and being with euro ladies on the podium on the other side of the globe was just an unexplained sensation. I won a super cowboy hat, a médaille coast longboarding given by Bricin Lyons in person and $250 – cash, like a gangsta! For the boys, James Kelly took that fucking world cup followed by George Makenzie and Alex Tongue. For the last night, I was at Victoria’s house with Rebekka. We didn’t rest that much because we left very early in the morning to have a last Canadian freeride in the rocky mountains, 2hours from Calgary. We saw the sun rise on the pink mountains and did some runs with the coast camping car. Special mention for my favorite Ginger Bitch Simon Haverson, so good to catch up with him there. We did another schuss spot and then we left back to Calgary. We crossed Celina on the road, the old lady was taking her soul away and broke down on the boarder, sad times. I was really happy to know her before she died, I was sad for her owner, I know how much he loved his old lady. Victoria brought me to the airport with Byron. I had the super style with my white cowboy hat in the airport, way more when I was walking through the one at Amsterdam haha! Finally got back to Lyon super tired and in pain (15h sitting on my ass didn’t help). I said to myself: here I am, I saw Canada. BUT I’LL BE BACK THERE. So many things to do and new people to meet! I’m definitively not done with her! Can’t wait for the second round there. I want to thank again the people that helped me to realize that trip. First my parents and family who offered me the flight! The Aera team for showing me the mellow Vancouver life. Victoria who made my last day in Canada shiny! My friends in France (and England) who were supporting me all through the night in front of their screens and watching the live show until my final (and I know it was hard because we finished the race veeeeeery late and there were lots of race interruptions). And finally, all the girls who moved their asses to make this women’s race happen! Keep it going ladies.

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