Ginger Ale DownWritten by Joshua Riker-Fox
I suppose the last chance I had to write this was a week ago while flying back from Guatemala, but I was tired… So here it is today, whilst flying to Hungary. The mission continues, to pursue as many points as possible to earn a spot for London. Obviously, and if you’ve read previous posts you know, the level of pressure is high. Every event has performances that
are stronger than the last. It is a fun time, but certainly not normal and not easy on the heart or mind. I competed in Guatemala City last weekend in an Open meet that consisted of all Americas athletes, and one Australian. The Aussie stayed after the Charlotte and Rio World Cup’s and must love pentathloning. He’s qualified for London for the Oceania spot, but I am wondering if he needed an extra competition to attain the minimum point requirement. Not sure.
I look at flights as a good time to catch up on stuff (like writing blogs and sleeping). Heading down from Calgary, I was ready for a good sleep. Drifting off clenching a ginger ale, the captain came on the speaker to give a loud and pointless update on the weather, the altitude, his new haircut. Oh and we are hitting turbulence. So I clench my ginger ale so it doesn’t slide off the table. ………………………………………… I don’t know what I was dreaming about an hour in but it was startling, I twitched, ginger ale everywhere.
My competition in Guatemala overall was quite strong. Fenced well and swam a decent time in a crappy pool at altitude. This put me in 5th place, going into what is usually my strongest event - the ride. In pent, each horse does two rounds. The first is with an athlete from the bottom half of the rankings and then the horse repeats with an athlete from the top half of the rankings after the first two events. The horse also contends a round in the test ride, and in this case two rounds with the women on day one. My horse, Franky, was a big grey and not young. Unfortunately, in the first round, the guy who had drew my horse managed to make it over only 3 fences, which is terrible. In hindsight, I wish I had asked for a reserve horse. But I thought I could make it work. In the warmup, Franky went from despondent to forward and bold. Going into the arena, his confidence fading again though. If I was a stronger rider, I could have rode for 1200 points but I had to settle for 992. To have a failure in the ride was really atypical. I dropped from 5th to 18th and I was more or less speechless. I wasn’t really mad, just frustrated. It’s easy to place the blame on bad luck, which I had no shortage of. But I guess what matters is I could have rode 1200 somehow and I didn’t. Our coach Bob, just said “you will have to have a strong combined event.” So I did what I could and moved up from 18th to 8th. So that was somewhat redeeming. Another 200 points, and I’d have had the same score as the winner. Easy to speculate after the fact.
Flying home Monday morning, I was already thinking about the next competition which I am leaving for now. Ginger ale is probably the best drink to fly on because it settles your stomach, I think. So I order another. I am sitting in an aisle seat and dosing as always. No one is particularly friendly. This lady across the aisle is struggling to get her table down for a few minutes and no one is helping. So I decide to, still half asleep. My hap hazard directions resulted in another fallen ginger ale soldier. RIP.
Tomorrow I have an adventure as I do not have an entry visa for Russia. This is an excruciating process to go through. Will share details later when I am less concerned about being googled. Because of the timing of the first 2 World Cup’s, Guatemala, and where I am now, there was no opportunity to relinquish my passport. So I have to attempt to do it in Budapest. Thanks for checking in. I’ll get news up after the upcoming World Cups. Take care.