Sports » Features

Crazy times on the Europa Cup

Cancelled events, epic drives and a bike race



It has now been several seasons of writing columns for the Pique and every season there seems to be at least one crazy Europa Cup story. So far this season I haven’t experienced anything unusual. That is, until last week.

On Feb. 6 another teammate and I arrived at a small hill in Slovenia called Rogla. We would have two slalom EC races there on the 8 th and 9 th . This would also be the start of a series of seven races held over the next 10 days. To most that would probably seem like a full schedule, and it was. Except for one detail – our races weren’t all in Slovenia. Nope. Three of the races in the series were in Spain and two were in Andorra! And so began my crazy EC tour.

The races in Slovenia went well, the conditions were rough but I fought through on both days with a bib number in the 30s and finished on the podium in the second race. Right after that day of racing we loaded up the van, myself, another racer, a coach and a ski tech, and headed for the open road. Or maybe the traffic-filled road!

We had three days of driving. The first day brought us to just outside of Milan. The second day was the long one, all the way to a town in France just north of the Spanish border. The third day was a six-hour drive to our destination in Spain.

The drive, though long, wasn’t too bad. We stopped in St. Tropez for lunch on our way through, checked out the million dollar boats and sat near the water eating ice cream in our T-shirts. On our way out of town we were stopped as the Tour Méditerranéen bike race sped by. That was the highlight of the trip – I had never seen a bike race and was completely blown away by how fast the peleton was travelling and how many team support cars there were. It would be so amazing to see the Tour de France.

On the third day we stopped in a town called Carcasonne in France. We spent a few hours strolling through the castle there. It was built more than 2,000 years ago, had changed hands several times and had come under attack too many times to mention. It was really neat to be a tourist for a little while and enjoy the rich history of Europe.

On Feb. 11 we finally arrived in Spain, and made our way to a little town called Jaca, where we stayed to ski at Candanchu. The race organization was excited to have us. They had prepared everything and the hill looked great. But we didn’t race. We woke up the morning of the slalom race and the wind was howling. Snow was blowing everywhere and the conditions on the race course had turned for the worse. The race on the following day was cancelled as well. That was two races down and another three to go.