I'm writing this while moving 499 miles per hour, 34,987 Feet off the ground. Five hours and thirty-one minutes left. I can't sleep on airplanes so these next five and a half hours will be grim. I've already watched two whole movies, which is more than my attention span could handle under normal circumstances. I've already used a half hour convincing myself I don't miss my girlfriend yet. That was unsuccessful. I've already played four games of chess on my phone. I got cocky and changed the difficulty level to expert. I'm a sore loser so I quit after I got slaughtered. I already ate my vegetarian lasagna. It was vegetarian so it didn't have meat. It also didn’t have any vegetables. Just cheese and pasta. So now I'm a little gassy because cheesy pasta isn't a typical staple of my diet. I've already further mastered the art of peeing with turbulence. Pro tip. It's all about that athletic stance.
Those are the things I've already done on this flight. I've also sat here in this seat thinking. I've thought about the things I've yet to do. I’ve yet to score World Cup points. I haven't competed in the Olympics. I have zero World Championship medals and obviously, I have zero Olympic medals.
I can't accomplish any of those things on this flight, but I can dream about them. The reason I'm on this flight in the first place, is to take myself one step closer. It's easy to be on the verge of breakthroughs, it's much harder to actually make them. To make it, that will require hours upon hours of training, days upon days away from home, and flight after flight of eating cheesy pasta.
Our team will land in Paris. Teammate Grant Andrews will get an entire tub of hair gel confiscated while going through security. It will be heart wrenching but everyone will survive and we will board our next flight. Then after a few more hours of fighting off sleep midair in order to expertly conquer the jet lag, we will land in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Upon landing, an hour drive will leave us at a destination that would have once upon a time felt very far from home. Now, this sort of is home.
To those of you who have yet to visit Europe, it probably seems like an unfamiliar world. On my seventeenth trip to Europe my perspective has shifted. As an American athlete in a European dominated sport, I've embraced the necessary leaves of absence from my own country. I have found familiarity over here. I find comfort in this familiarity. I love driving along roads I know and spotting the places I have roamed. I find pleasure in revisiting my favorite trails and roads for training. After five races in eight days at Summer Grand Prix, you can find me at Bor Pizzeria in Kranjska Gora. Best pizza in the world for under ten euros. I enjoy greeting the same Slovenian woman, who has worked in the same small store, in the same small town, ever since I can remember. Just a five minute walk from my apartment, this women supplies my pastries and I love her for that. I'm not a tourist, but I'm also not a local. My spot lies right on the in between. I like my spot here.