Well the rest of the Poland trip was a somber experience. A woman rider, Marion Porcher, had a horrible crash in the women's semi-finals and was taken to hospital. I have no updates on her condition. This led the 20 inch riders to not rider their semi-final competition and only a few of the 26 inch riders to compete, out of respect for Marion. I'm sure there was some conflict between the 26" riders whether to compete or not. But I see both sides, ride out of respect, and not ride out of respect. Either way everyone in the Trials community is hoping for a good recovery for Marion.
The quarter-finals on Saturday did not go well for me and the new format caused me to become the first unlucky loser in the history of trials. I was getting sick from the transit and jet lag, so my fitness was not there. It also started to thunder storm for the last part of heat B and C which made everything wet. Three of the 5 sections were log sections so everything was slippery and my confidence was shot. I managed to get through most of the sections but I had a lot of points from slipping. So, if you didn't know already, the UCI has put in place new rules for various reasons. The new rules include: 5 sections not 6, 2 min time limit not 2.30, and the quarter finals are divided into 3 or 4 heats where the top three from each heat qualifies plus the remaining "lucky losers" to make the semifinal have 25 riders (where the top ten are already qualified). The lucky losers are chosen by lowest scores out of all of the heats. I finished the quarters with 32 points and so did two other riders in heat A. They qualified with more cleans and ones, so I was the first unlucky loser out of the bunch, finishing in 26th. Props to Laszlo for finishing on 1 point when it was slick.
The quarter finals did not matter though because of Marion's fall, many of the riders did not compete and it ended up being more of a show for the spectators with the top three riders being Jack Carthy, Vincent Hermance and Nicolas Vallee. Jack impressively finished the super finals with no points and Vince's only points were from a five where his axle crossed some tape that was not visible to the rider. Nicolas was riding super well, making it up the crazy cement pillar. And Kevin Aglae was riding strong in fourth.
After the competition, on Monday, I was still in denial about being sick so we went to Krakow's famous (wielickza) salt mine. I knew nothing about the mine and was surprised how awesome it is. The mine is visited by over a million people a year and for good reason. You take a tour, which starts by walking down 50+ flights of stairs where tunnels carved from the salt rock connect you to giant caves or rooms (which were also carved out from the salt rock). This rock was formed over 13 million years when a salt water lake dried up. Inside the rooms are impressive carvings and historic items from the mines past. The most impressive room is saint kinga's chapel, which has many carvings and chandlers!! Miners never had it so good ;).
The next day I was in full sick mode and spent all day in bed. Dona visited Pope John Paul II village where he grew up, visiting his home school and church.
A big thanks to our air bnb host Tomaz for letting us stay for an extra night instead of sleeping at the airport!
More pictures and videos to come!