As the 2017 pole competition season began, I was preparing to create one last competition routine and to push every one of my boundaries with my choreography. Again, Albatros.. NOT delicate, flowy, or graceful. But, rather than being a creepy, dark and twisted thing, this year I was going to be pretty, fun, light, sexy, entertaining and everything I'm too shy to be when I pole. I bought a hot pink umbrella, a polka dot Lucy dress, pulled out my 5" heels and began choreographing to "Singing' in the Rain". Lucky for me, the amazingly talented Freaky cut my song with some wicked sound effects to transition into "Thunderstruck" for the 2nd half of my routine!!! The man RULES!
With the help of some awesome coaches, Jamie and Emily, teammates and hubby, my choreo was set pretty quickly so the pressure started to subside. Until I fell down.
We were up at the Fat Bike Birkie, likely the coldest one yet, getting fired up for the Friday night Fat Bike crit. The course was frozen solid and covered in ice even after the trail crew tried to break it up with a beast of a machine. Mixed in with the men, I was just riding as hard as I could to stay warm and get it over with. During one turn, my studded front wheel lost control and I augured onto the icy ground left knee first. I got up with no air in my lungs and tried to walk a few steps to avoid being hit from behind but found each step excruciating.
The pain was fierce and walking was not going to work. I got back on my bike hoping to 'spin it out' but any movement of the joint was agony. I pedaled by using only my right leg for most of the remaining laps until I could passively rest my left heel on the pedal and moving the joint without pressure til I finally made it through the final lap. Although my snow pants survived, I later found that my leg warmer was trashed and the wet feeling in my knee was blood.
Weeks later, the swelling and discoloration subsided, but the whole front of my knee was numb (6 months later = still numb). Practicing my run throughs was a challenge and some of my floor choreography now had to go because any time on my knees was more painful than I could bear. Routine #2 began. Some time passed, I was sure I was ready to go... then I pulled my left hamstring. No more splits. Routine #3, commence.
I wasn't in love Routine 3, but I was willing to run with it. But, just weeks before we were to go to competition, I fell down again. Crashed out during a Tuesday night crit, I was hit from behind by another racer who rode me like a surfboard down the fairground streets, leaving more than 8 pts of road rash down the side of my body. But I got up, Jay got my bike back in order, I gagged when I looked at my meaty elbow, but I got back in the race.
When I got back to the dance studio, I ran through my routine, found which parts I needed to change yet again due to my injuries, and added in just some things for me. This was to be by competition finale.. it better be fun! Truth in advertising... I was still terrified to fail. The night before we were to hit the road for CPC, my confidence was faulty and I finally broke down. Was the 4 minutes on stage going to be the finale I was hoping for? Could I do it? What if I failed?
But, the next morning, we packed up and headed east to Chicago. I competed in Championship (judged on all-around tricks, flow, and presentation) and Entertainment (based on character and presentation).. and I placed in both! Oh, yeah, and I fell down in the middle of my routine during my 2nd performance. Damn ankle strap of my heels broke and I fell to my knees on stage. But, I got back up and kept on going (all while hyper aware of the loose shoe now barely attached to my foot).
I finished 2nd in Championship and 3rd in Entertainment and am so proud to have challenged all the things I'm too shy to do, had fun, created something I'm proud of, and went out with a bang!
So, without further ado... here's the final video thanks to Alloy Images!
Not only was I the only goof ball cruising around town to two pink umbrellas (needed a back up) with pin-up style make up and hair, but I pulled of being cute and sweet. I called her Penny.
I threw in my favorite tricks or little homages to people I love like a Pike D for our friend Dave Pike who passed away just before Christmas. (miss you, Buddy) <3 p="">
My favorite static hold.
But then Penny turned into Stella.. and she was fun to be!
I am so grateful for all of the help, support, love and Tegaderm that got me through this last pole competition season. Jenna and Margaret - thank you for making me wear heals! Jamie, Emily, and Emma - coaches like you help lil monsters like me put something together worth watching! Angela, thank you for watching me fumble night after night. My friends and family - thank you for all your support. And Jay, thanks for always helping pick me back up and getting me back on my bike without questioning if I should.
As long as I continue to get back up, I haven't yet failed...