RC News #16: All This to Say I Miss You

World Cups have been exponentially harder for me without Zach by my side, but that ends now.

Brixen World Cup 2023

Today is the hardest day, because it's the last one.

Zach and I reach one month apart today. In mid-May, we went our separate ways to compete in our respective seasons, and today he's coming back.

I'm in Innsbruck at the moment. This the last in a series of back-to-back World Cups, wrapping up the boulder season. Over twelve days, there are three events in three different countries. Brixen was two days ago and Innsbruck is in two days.

My performance over the season continues to creep forward, slowly but surely. My confidence builds concurrently while my experience compounds. I'm a far better World Cup competitor than I was when the season started in Asia, and my results reflect that.

But it's been a long month, and I'm just about tapped out.

Zach left three World Cups ago. At first, traveling alone was enjoyable. With nothing to do but train, rest, and compete, I followed my own compass everyday. I did a lot of writing, I explored Salt Lake City, Langen, Prague, Munich, and Brixen, and called Zach for hours on end, everyday. It was sustainable.

My parents were with me in Salt Lake, so it wasn't a big deal that Zach wasn't there too. They celebrated with me after semis and saw me off to the airport.

But then Prague happened. It was a disappointing result, and I was caught off guard by it. With nobody with me at the event, I called Zach afterwards to talk about the round and vent. It was only when the call ended that I realized just how empty the house was, and how alone I was.

Of course, I could handle it. I'm a grown-up, after all. It's just a difficult way to compete in World Cups. I always have a support system at events, and here I was thrown in the deep end, virtually alone on the continent, with a disheartening result.

And then Brixen happened. After a stunning performance in qualifiers, I walked home to another empty room. This time, it was early in the morning for my family back in North America, so I had to sit with my excitement for hours, wasting time. I watched a movie. Slice by slice, I ate all my bread. Then, I watched another movie. By the time everyone woke up and Zach jumped on a call with me, the excitement had faded.

As soon as I began this solo European leg, the loneliness started to set in. It's not pleasant. In Prague, I did a lot of sight-seeing right away, but as the week went on, I became more apathetic about the city. When I got to Munich, the same thing happened. I made a list of all the places I wanted to check out, but I couldn't sustain the motivation for long enough to get through much of the list.

It's not pleasant, and it's getting worse. Everyday, it gets worse. I'm sitting here in Innsbruck and I can't stomach the thought of going out on my own. Silently sifting through clothes, perusing through the grocery store, walking through a park, it's all so depressing now. I don't want to be alone anymore.

I'm really over it.

Today is the hardest day, because it's the last one. Tomorrow, however, is Tuesday.

Usually I have pancakes on Tuesday mornings, which is something I always look forward to, but since Wednesday is the World Cup (which is also a pancake day), I have to skip it tomorrow.

Tuesday is also an important rest day. That means I won't walk around too much, so I'll spend most of it in my room. I will have to go out for the team meeting tomorrow night though, and I guarantee the travel time to the meeting will be longer than the meeting itself.

But of all the days I've lived in the last month, all the cities and countries I've visited, the World Cups, tomorrow is the day I'm looking forward to the most. Tomorrow I'm going to see Zach again.

I don't have to watch movies I'm not interested in anymore. I don't have to take naps to make the day pass faster. I don't have to check the clock to see what time it is for Zach.

Today is the hardest day, because it's the last one. Tomorrow will be the easiest though. Tomorrow is the first.