Wow. It's been a full year since I've written a blog post, and I can't even begin to explain 2020. Arguably the biggest year of our lives for those of us who were heading to to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and then...COVID 19.
So here we are, 11 months later, sitting by my fireplace, wondering where did this year go!
I guess I'll start at the beginning and do a monthly recap to go over all the craziness of this year.
January - Ahhhh, little did we know. January started like any normal contest season. Gearing up for a year ahead, excited to be traveling after a few months off! At the end of the month I flew to North Carolina, where my friend and Team USA rider Perris Benegas had recently moved. It was also home to Daniel Dhers and the DDASC (Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex) where many other athletes were living/training. I knew going there I could really focus on my riding and hoped to really see some progression with the help of all the other world class riders living there.
February - I flew to the Netherlands to ride with my coach (Daniel Wedemeijer) at 040 Skatepark, as well as make a pitstop in Tallin, Estonia for my first ever Simple Session! I was super excited as they were bringing back “Sister Session” (the women’s class) after many years, and it was a contest I had always watched from home ever since I got into BMX. After a really fun weekend, I ended up in 1st place which was a pretty surreal experience!
In addition to this, while staying at the Wedemeijer residence in Eindhoven, we came up with a crazy idea that was the beginning of the 2020 adventures. The idea: let's drop everything and move to North Carolina. Within 1 week of this idea, we had found a place to rent 5 minutes away from the skatepark, figured out all logistics for the Wedemeijer's (Daniel, Lotte, and brand new baby Mick) and myself to move from our homes in the Netherlands/San Diego and prepare for a year in Holly Springs. At this point, Covid was around and being talked about, but it wasn't really a "thing" yet and we had no idea what was about to hit. I returned back to San Diego after 2 weeks in Europe to start packing
March - The move in date for North Carolina was March 10th. I arrived to sign all the papers and start moving my things over as well as find some furniture. About a week later the Wedemeijers arrived, with minutes to spare. Why? Because the next morning we woke up to the news that the US was shutting it's borders to Europe. Phew, just in time! Throughout the next few weeks, things started to shut down more and more, and we entered our first quarantine.
April / May / June - The next few months we hunkered down and created out own quarantine group with the other athletes who had come here to train at the DDASC. In addition to us, it consisted of Daniel Dhers, Perris Benegas, Hannah Roberts, Justin Dowell, Brandon Loupos, and Marin Rantes. We locked ourselves away, no more in-person grocery shopping, and built a little gym in the skatepark (which was closed to the public) by pooling all our random equipment together. We were really fortunate to have this place during this time so we could continue riding our bikes and stay sane. At the end of June, due to visa complications that couldn't be fixed due to Covid-related office closures, the Wedemeijers had to fly home unexpectedly.
July - At this point, we thought maybe a month would go by, things would calm down with the pandemic, and the Wedemeijer's would be able to fly back. They even left a lot of their stuff at the apartment! I started to adjust to living alone for the first time ever, and at the end of the month my mom came to town for a visit! That week Mongoose also set up a mini trip for myself and some of the race team members at a dirt park in Asheville, NC which was about 4 hours from me. It was a fun little trip, getting to explore the state a bit, having mom in town, and getting to see people again, even from a distance. While my mom was in town, I explored the idea of possibly buying a house in Holly Springs since it sounded better than renting and would be a good investment! Through a mix of research and total chance, I found a perfect townhouse and within that week I had put in an offer.
August - I bought a house! It still feels insane to say that. Coming from California, I never expected to be doing that at this point in my life. But all the pieces came together, and my offer was accepted. I spent a week back in California in August for a little riding trip with Cory Coffee as well as visit my orthodontist, and then flew back to NC just in time to close on my house. My cousin Mickey's college got postponed, so she flew out to live with me for a few months and help me move! At this point, the hope that the Wedemeijer's would be back soon was dwindling as the Covid situation was not getting any better.
September - Gyms are back open! I began adjusting to the new house, decorating, had a few water leak scares, and just kept up the routine of riding and trying to learn new things! I also filmed a video with Dan Foley for the eFISE contest, which FISE put on due to Montpellier and our other normal World Cup events being cancelled. It was a very different approach but as the only "event" on the horizon I welcomed it and ended up in 3rd place!
October - I need change! At this point, we were 8 months into quarantine and I was ready for a change of scenery. I don't think I've ever been in one place for so long, ever! I heard that Italian rider Alessandro Barbero was hosting a C1 event at his park in Ceva, Italy. I knew with a Swiss passport I could go to Europe, but with the mandatory quarantine. Luckily, through a series of negative Covid tests, paperwork, and authorizations, I was able to go without quarantine, and attend the contest. It was quite the process, and I honestly didn't know if I would be able to get on my flight until the night before, but it all worked out and 17 hours later I found myself in Italy for the first time! I got picked up by the Wedemeijer's and after the contest we stayed to ride the park in Italy as well as the minimum days needed in order to be allowed to go to Switzerland. We drove there, and spent another week training at Freestyle Park Ticino in Cadenazzo. I was able to do some media for Swiss Cycling and really test my riding on this contest-size course. This was also my first time ever flying to another country without my mom, AND fully alone so that was a huge step for me on my anxiety leaderboard haha.
The day after I got back from 2 weeks in Europe, I jumped in the car for a Mongoose Bikes trip with the freestyle squad! We spent a week riding a ton of spots in South and North Carolina (video coming soon) and shooting the new 2021 line of complete bikes. It was so good to be on a bike trip again with the crew and also to explore the state even more!
November - Here we are! Practically the end of the year, so little, yet so much has happened. Navigating the new way of living through a pandemic. After making such huge progress going to Europe alone, I had 3 back to back panic attacks at some appointments, and immediately got knocked back off my pedestal of progression. I'd been doing really good managing the anxiety and stomach issues, but all of a sudden it felt like I was back to square one. So this month has just become focused on staying close to home, and allowing myself the time to figure out how to feel human again and manage the anxiety better so I can keep on progressing in life and on my bike! In the meantime, some really, really big news was delivered a few days ago, so not all bad! I can't wait to share that with everyone.
That's it for now! A lot of change and growth this year both on and off the bike, and things I don't think could have ever happened during a regular contest season. Now I just hope that this pandemic can calm down so everyone can stay safe and we can go back to being with each other again.