THE CALL. Every year in Romania we have a Alpine National Championship. It is not a FIS race which means it means nothing to the world ranking, just to the ranking inside the country. It was the end of March when the organizing committee found a place to host it. As per usual, the problem was the lack of snow. My season was over. Just one week before I crashed in France at the British National Champs. I get a call from my club in Romania, Corona Brasov. They were letting me know the National Champs were on and they asked me if I am willing to go. I told them ok, I will try, but I can’t promise anything because of the state of my ankle. No worries. I packed the car and started driving.
THE WAY. As some of you may know, when you have a swollen ankle it’s best to keep it up as much as possible right in the aftermath of an incident. You can imagine I could not do that whilst driving so of course my ankle got bigger and bigger. Oh and there was a case of a “small” accident on the way in Romania with just a few kilometers to go. I was stopped there for a few hours. Shit happens. Anyway after I started moving I realized it was too late for me to go on and my ankle was getting dangerously big. So big I was worried that I can’t even get my boot on anymore. I stopped at a hotel about 1 hour away from the venue (Voineasa-Transalpina resort). Got in the room, tried my boot on. No chance. Let’s not panic. I would try to get some sleep keep the leg up and try again tomorrow. Done and done. No chance. It was clear I could not race that day. It was slalom on Monday and giant slalom on Tuesday. The slalom was no chance. I was lucky enough to have a good friend close by in Deva (I had to drive back) who spoke to a doctor for help. Once there I told him to do whatever he needs to do so I can race the next day. Whatever he asked? Whatever. He got the needle out and injected me there and then. In 30 minutes my ankle was almost like normal. Started driving again and Monday in the afternoon I was there. The funny thing is that after all this trouble I heard some people that none of this happened and I stopped I don’t know where and did I don’t know what, not wanting to make it there on purpose. Cute. Of course none of them had the guts to say this to my face. But I have no problems. There will always be haters :*.
THE RACE. Giant Slalom. Not exactly my discipline (I have to specify here for those of you who don’t know that my disciplines Super-G and Downhill are never held in Romania for a series of reasons: too dangerous, not enough protection nets etc.) but I was confident. The absolute favorite was,of course, Alexandru Barbu. Those are his disciplines, the “technical” disciplines, Giant Slalom and Slalom (mostly because he is as brave as a little kitten). Surprisingly first run finished with me in front. My ankle was not the best for sure but I felt I did a pretty good job, whilst Alex made quite a costly mistake. In the second run I hit a hole with my bad ankle (of course, it had to be that one) and the last 15 gates were absolute torture. Somebody even told me you could clearly see that I was skiing only on one leg. The final result was Alex came in 1st, I was 2nd and our good friend a colleague Claudiu Tudoran from Predeal came 3rd. I was happy with the result (considering) and was happy to be there.
THE PLACE. It was the first time skiing at Transalpina resort. I must say I heard a lot of good and bad things about that place and honestly I did not know what to expect. Seeing it for myself I can tell you it is a very nice place to go skiing and I would go there again anytime. For more informations click HERE. I also had the pleasure to meet Marius Fodor and Ramona Fodor, the people who are running the place. Thanks to them for helping us with hosting the National Championships. Without them for sure none of this would be possible, they are greatly appreciated.
THE SUPPORT. Sometimes when you are skiing internationally you forget that even if you do not have so many fans in other countries, the home support is always there, watching. I was “brutally” reminded when a “mob” of 10 kids recognized me and “attacked” me. They are the future ski stars from CSS Petrosani and I hope I will see them racing till the very top. The potential is surely there. I have to say…when they were there on the slope yelling after me, running towards me and fighting over who would hug me first, it’s one of the best feelings in ever had. They think I did them a favor by sitting, chatting and tanking pictures with them when it is actually the other way around. The feeling I got right there and then is the feeling that it is driving me every morning to wake up and go train, regardless of what time and season it is. I thank them and I promise I will be the best possible role model I can be. I hope I can show them a good way and I would be happy if one day anyone of them can surpass me and beat all my records. Thank you kids. You give me strength.