Team U.S.A. ice dancers, Charlotte Maxwell & Ryan Devereaux are sharing their experiences from the 2016 Warsaw Cup – an event on the ISU Challenger Series.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Charlotte and I are so excited to be making our international debut at the Warsaw Cup in Poland! We have spent the last four weeks training so hard and with a renewed passion and purpose Our goal for the competition is to skate two performances with the same commitment and connection that we do everyday in practice.
We would like to begin by thanking Daphne for giving us the opportunity to share our journey with ice-dance.com community. To be perfectly honest, I have never read another skater’s competition blog so hopefully we are all in for a treat! Char and I would also like to thank our coaches Marina, Oleg, Massimo, and Johnny for inspiring, motivating, and teaching us everyday. Lastly, we would like to especially thank Charlie White who has taken so much time out of his busy schedule to help tweak our programs. He has become a huge mentor for us and helped to shape us into the best team we can be.
As I am writing this it is Monday morning and I am in the midst of packing, blogging, and making food for our second to last day of training before we leave. I will keep everyone updated with more exciting news as the week progresses.
Have a great week!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
We did it! We finally made it through our last day of training and are now on the plane to Poland.
Today was jam packed with excitement and productivity as we prepared for departure. I woke up at 4:00am to do some last minute packing and then met Charlotte at the rink at 8:30am. Our first lesson was with Marina Zoueva and included a free dance run through. Our other lesson was with Johnny Johns and included filming all of the sections of our programs.
We finished training around noon and felt so much support from our training mates at the Arctic Edge in Canton as they wished us luck. It is truly a blessing to get to train in such a positive environment everyday. Meryl and Charlie also were in practicing for some upcoming shows and sent us off with some great words of encouragement.
After training Charlotte and I both went home to grab our luggage and then headed to the airport. Allison Reed was gracious enough to drive us! (She recently moved to our rink and is working so hard as she is looking for a new partner.) Thank you Allison!
At the airport things moved seamlessly through ticketing and check-in. Since we had an hour to spare and both were starving, we got salads at P.F. Changs before boarding our flight.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Bonjour from Paris!
It’s now Wednesday and we have safely made it to our connecting gate in Paris! Our flight from Detroit to Poland was relatively uneventful. Charlotte watched the movie Elf and I read a Tony Robbins book before sleeping for a majority of the flight. We are now fueling ourselves with some caffeine in hopes of staying awake until 8:00PM tonight Poland time!
We made it to Poland and it has been treating us perfectly! Charlotte and I have been making the most of our time here in this beautiful city.
We arrived in Poland yesterday around 1:00PM local time and met up with our assistant team leader Taffy Holiday at the airport. As fate would have it Charlotte’s dad, Steve, was on a flight that arrived 20 minutes after ours, and our coach Oleg Epstein’s arrived 10 minutes after that. So we were all able to share a taxi to our hotel.
After we got situated we met up with our team leader Eric Hampton and took a walk to explore beautiful downtown Warsaw. It was great to finally get moving and be able to stretch out our “flight legs.” It was great to spend time with Oleg and our team leaders. Eric and Taffy have both been doing a great job of team leading and are making our experience at the competition amazing!
Char and I ended the night by visiting with my dad, Phil, at his hotel a few blocks from ours. My dad has never been to one of my competition’s overseas and he is thrilled to be here! We are both so thankful to have “The Dads” here to support us. Finally, we had a nice dinner and then had a beautiful sleep. Prior to our sleep we were able to meet our roommates, Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson. They are a pair team training with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, and are both so sweet!
Until next time…
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Today was another great day in Warsaw! We a beautiful morning before our first practice. Char and I both began our morning with a light workout in the gym, followed by a delicious breakfast. I then made my daily ritual of going to Starbucks before heading to the rink for practice (I have a routine of ordering a venti americano everyday when I am at a competition). Luckily, there is one just a block away from our hotel!
Practice went very well! The rink is absolutely beautiful and has one complete side of Windows on the judges side. I absolutely love when a rink has a lot of windows and allows for us to be aware that there is life beyond the boards. I think it creates great vibes and gives me a feeling of calm. The facility is also very clean and pretty warm. All of this allowed for us to have a solid first practice.
Charlotte and I were also inspired to be around some their high level teams, especially Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev. Ironically, I competed against them at my very first international with my previous partner and here they are again! They have improved dramatically since then and skate with so much attack and speed. Even though we are constantly surrounded by incredible dance teams, it is always a treat to find new inspiration. After the practices, we drew to skate second in our event and will be followed by Bobrova and Soloviev. So we look forward to sharing the ice with them tomorrow!
After the draw and practice we spent 30 minutes cooling down/stretching at the rink and ran into Rohene Ward and our teammate Tomoki Hiwatashi. We had a great time catching up with Rohene and always love when we get to see Tomoki. He spent some time at our rink working with Marina and Oleg earlier this year!
After getting back from the rink, Charlotte and I had a great dinner with her dad. We went to a lovely wine and steak place and had a healthy meal that consisted mostly of protein and veggies (typical pre-competition fuel).
Then we had a great time walking around and going into many shops. Charlotte became mesmerized by the “Polish” versions of H&M and Sephora. Steve and I managed to talk her out of buying everything that she could get at home. Luckily, on the way back we found a very cute and local shop where we all agreed Charlotte should buy a beautiful cashmere hat. It was very reasonable and now she has a great memento to remind her of Poland during the long winters in Michigan!
Finding the hat was definitely the peak of our evening and after that we came back to the hotel to retire for the evening. We are so excited to perform our short dance tomorrow for all of the wonderful people in Poland. We have felt such great energy here and will definitely use that to fuel us for tomorrow!
Goodbye for now 🙂