My Name is Angeline Turczyn, and this year I qualified for the 2017 Ice Dance Solo Nationals in Colorado Springs. I skated in the Junior Combined event, and I blogged my experience for ice-dance.com.
September 5, 2017
Today was the first day and the travel day for my trip to Colorado Springs. I was so excited because I had qualified for Nationals and I had never been to Colorado before.
I was so ready to compete I was bouncing off the walls excited. We flew from the Syracuse airport to the Chicago O’Hare airport. When we got to the Chicago airport we had a few hours before our flight so we got a quick snack and waited. On our next flight from Chicago to Colorado Springs, we flew first class! It was my first time in first class and it was amazing. We were the first ones on the plane and the minute we sat down they asked what we wanted to drink and brought us a snack of assorted nuts. Then halfway through the flight we got dinner. It consisted of pasta salad, a small side salad, grapes and a chocolate chip cookie. Dinner was pretty tasty! We even had plugs in our armrests so we could charge our phones.
When we got off the plane in Colorado Springs the airport was dead. Nothing looked open and pretty much the only people there were the people that had just gotten off of our plane. After we had grabbed our luggage, we ordered an Uber to bring us to the Airbnb we had rented for the competition. Another reason to be really excited, we would be sharing the Airbnb with my friend Sydney, her dad, and our coach. We drove to the house and on the way the scenery was incredible! The mountains were ginormous! They make the Adirondack Mountains in New York look like small hills! When we got to the house we were the first ones there so we got first pick of the three bedrooms. Sydney wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow, but since I had practice on Wednesday my coach would be arriving from Buffalo late this evening. I would be sure to be asleep when she got there or I’d be in big trouble. So after a quick walk to a nearby store for some essentials, a snack it was off to bed. By the way, I was nervous about the altitude but so far so good. Mrs. Bianka had us doing extra cardio in the 2 weeks leading up to Nationals so maybe that paid off. I went to bed excited for what tomorrow would bring, a chance to get on the ice.
September 6, 2017: Welcome to 6,230 Feet
Today is Wednesday and there are many things to be excited about, but today is my first day of skating in Colorado springs! I have a practice in the morning and then my friend Sydney should arrive at the house some time around noon.
I had practice ice this morning and the rink was so nice! The Broadmoor World Arena is HUGE and the ice is a really large sheet as well. It kind of reminds me of another rink that I really love to skate in, the 1980 Rink in Lake Placid.
Once you get those skates on and they call your practice group, it’s go time. Only one little thing I wasn’t quite expecting, why is it harder to breathe? Oh yeah, I’m at altitude. You can train all you want for the altitude, but nothing prepares you for altitude like altitude. So remember to breathe deeply, just like the signs in the rink say! It was hard to breathe for the first 10 minutes of the session and especially hard once I ran my short dance program. After my practice my dad, coach, and I went to the Kings Chef diner for breakfast. It was on the Food Network’s (did I mention I’m a foodie and addicted to Food Network) must try list, and boy were they right. The food was delicious! The portions were giant! I had French toast, bacon and hash browns and everything was so good! My dad had a breakfast burrito that was the size of my head.
Now with one practice and breakfast out of the way there was only one thing left for the afternoon that really mattered… Sydney. My friend had arrived from Buffalo which was super exciting! We don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. I live 3 hours away from Buffalo so I only see her at the rink and competitions. After they got settled into the Airbnb, we all went to the rink because I had another practice that night. I’m really liking the ice and the arena. It felt great to get on the ice and skate today. It’d been a couple days since I was last on the ice, and I was starting to miss it. Mrs. Bianka said I looked good and strong and both of my practices went great. I was so ready to compete! It was time for dinner and then bed. Tomorrow is a big day.
September 7, 2017
Today marks my first day of competition in Colorado! I’m so excited! Today, I skate my short dance. Unfortunately, it’s later in the afternoon. I’m ready to go and I want to skate as soon as I can. So, instead of sitting around getting anxious for competition we decided to get out of the house for a little bit.
Our dad’s wanted to do something that wouldn’t require any exertion on our part so we planned to drive up Pike’s Peak. It was incredible! The road up the mountain was pretty scary at some points because if you turned too slow or swerved you would have fallen off a cliff! My friend Sydney was so scared. She gripped the armrests of the car so hard her knuckles turned white. Once we got up to the top of the mountain it was so cold. It was 37 degrees up on top while at the bottom it was at least 40 degrees warmer. Wearing shorts was a bad decision on my part. I froze! The air was so thin, walking from the car to the observation deck made you extremely out of breath. When we were standing on the top all of the sudden Sydney hair started standing straight up in the air! People thought it was hysterical and random strangers started taking pictures of her hair. Not 5 minutes after that happened everybody was called inside the gift shop because they were expecting a huge thunder and snow storm! It was over quickly and the drive down the mountain was a lot less scary than the drive up. It was a great way to kill the afternoon.
When we got back to the house I had to get ready for my short dance. Since my Mom stayed in NY this trip Sydney helped me with my hair and makeup. We did a great job on it! When we got to the rink I was ready, nothing beats that feeling. I’ve skated countless hours preparing for this moment and now all that work will pay off, hopefully.
This is what I had been waiting for all day. I had been picked to skate first, which is not at all my favorite position to draw. I prefer closer to last or somewhere in the second group. Luckily, Mrs. Bianka is there with encouraging words and she helps to take my mind off of the start order. My program was one of the strongest programs I had ever skated. I had a little bobble in one of my twizzles, but managed to save it and keep going. When I got off the ice, I was a little out of breath, but not too bad. Mrs. Bianka was there with a hug and told me she thought I skated extremely well, as good or better as she had ever seen me skate my short program. After hearing that, I was very excited. Once everyone had skated, the long wait for results began. I don’t hang out by the results and wait. I let my Dad text me when they’re posted. He doesn’t tell me my place, I like to be surprised when I see it. He texted, and boy was I surprised… I was in 7th place out of nine skaters in my flight. It definitely wasn’t what I had expected or what I had wanted. I was disappointed, but Junior level is a tough group with lots of great skaters. I felt better knowing that I had gone out and skated to the best of my abilities. Besides, I wasn’t too far out of 5th place, the place I need to be to make it to final round and I still had my free dance tomorrow. If I go out and skate an amazing and clean free dance, I still have a chance to make it to final round. Time to get home and get some rest, tomorrow is a big day!
September 8, 2017
Today is the second day of competition. Once again, I’m excited and anxious to skate today. Today is the free dance and I love to skate my free dance.
Since I compete early in the afternoon, we decided it would be smart to stay home so I could get ready for competition. My friend Sydney also competes in her pre-silver pattern dances today. It should be crazy for our coach since we are competing at basically the same time in two different rinks. Once again Syd did my hair and she did a great job. I’m thinking I should hire her to always do my hair.
When we got to the rink, I wanted to get on that ice and skate. I was going to leave it all on the ice and hope for the best. I knew that’s what I needed to do, and I was ready to do exactly that. This time I was skating first in the second flight, I like that start order much better. In fact, this is one of my favorite positions to skate in. This time, however, it wasn’t so great because the competition is running about 12 minutes behind in the World Arena and the pattern dances are right on time in the Olympic Rink so that meant Sydney and I would be on two different sheets of ice at basically the same exact time. After I skated my free dance, which was again, one of the best I have ever skated, my coach bolted from the World Arena to the Olympic Rink and only made it for Sydney’s ending pose. My free dance had felt amazing. I had nailed my twizzles, had clean turns, and deep edges, but I almost fell out of my ending pose (that altitude really sneaks up on you).
Once again I waited for the text from my Dad. All the while I was feeling that with this program and how I skated that I had a good chance to move up the standings and into the final round. Turns out I was wrong. I placed 6th in the free dance and ended up 7th overall. I was very disappointed, I try to keep my emotions in check at the rink, but this time was hard. I didn’t know what to say. I knew I had to be proud of myself for getting to nationals and how I skated. Everyone kept telling me how proud they were of me and how wonderful I skated. At that moment though, it’s hard to talk about it. That’s a feeling I’ll never get used to, and one I never want to get used to. Sydney also skated amazing and didn’t qualify for final rounds. On a happier note my friend Natasha qualified in her pattern dance so that was good. We were so happy for her!
After the results were put up and our competition over, we went to dinner. Dinner was amazing by far the highlight of the day. We went to a barbeque place called Rudy’s and it was phenomenal! There’s nothing like a great barbeque place to cheer you up. You ordered everything by the pound. You could order a ½ pound of pulled pork, which was amazing or a ¼ pound of brisket. The ribs there were so good. They were so moist and tender they were falling off the bone. If you make it to Rudy’s, you have to get the cream corn. I was skeptical but it was delish. So even though the day didn’t go as planned we still had such a great time. Barbeque and a great friend make even the most disappointing of days better.
September 9, 2017
Today is our last day in Colorado! I can’t believe it. Time has gone so fast and I don’t think I want to go home. I’ve had so much fun and it is so beautiful here. Sydney and I were both hoping to be skating in the final rounds today, but that was not to be. Since we love to watch skating almost as much as we love to skate, naturally we wanted to spend the day at the rink watching the final rounds. Our dads did not have the same idea. They wanted to do something “fun” we tried to explain that watching the final rounds was going to be a lot of fun but they weren’t having it. They wanted to visit the Garden of the Gods. Syd and I gave in, as long as we’d be back to the rink in time to see Natasha skate her final round.
I’m glad we went, Garden of the Gods was one of the most amazing and beautiful things I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never been, it’s a must see next time you are in Colorado Springs. We hiked an easy trail to one of the most popular attractions, The Siamese Twins. When you got to the rocks you could climb the rocks and look through the window the two rock formations created. The view was stunning and you could see Pike’s Peak from the “window.” Everything looked so green and clear. The sky was so blue and the clouds were so fluffy. It created such a picturesque scene, it was breathtaking. It was a nice way to finish the trip, but the rink was still on my mind.
After we left the Garden of the Gods, we had lunch and stopped at the house, and of course we went to the rink. We went to watch my friend Natasha who made it to final rounds, and then later that night we would have the competitor’s party to go to. After Natasha had competed, we decided to go to dinner. There was a Carrabbas close to the rink so we decided that we would go there. It was a 35 minute wait and since we didn’t want to be late to the party we thought we would try somewhere else. We tried Outback, Buffalo Wild Wings and finally settled at a Mexican place. In the time it took us to find a place to eat, we could have been halfway done with our meal at Carrabbas! Sometimes, I don’t understand adults they can make things so difficult!
After we finished eating Sydney, Natasha and I headed to the party. Little did we know they were running an hour behind! The party was supposed to start at 7:50 and didn’t start until 9 o’clock! The dads weren’t thrilled with that. We had early morning flights and a lot of packing and clean up still to do, so they told us we could skate for 30 minutes, but we weaseled 45 minutes out of them. Even though we only stayed for a little bit, it was a ton of fun! It was great to just skate with friends and have fun with nothing on the line – not practicing, just skating. Having fun and goofing off on the ice without getting yelled at by a coach is one of the best things in the world. It was the perfect way to end this amazing trip to Colorado. Hopefully, I’ll be back at Nationals next year for another adventure.