Beaches, Cities, Deserts: Where I Spent My Holidays

When the season ended in Canmore and maybe before, every athlete’s focus changed from preparing for the next competition to thoughts of holidays. Over the last two months, people scattered across the globe seeking sun, fun total relaxation, refilling the tank before going back to the familiar beat of eat, sleep, train…repeat!

Belgium’s Florent Claude had one of the widest ranging holidays, heading to the west coast of the USA, surveying San Francisco’s Golden Gate, Los Angeles’ famous Hollywood sign, then slipping southwest from the big cities to the Grand Canyon and spectacular Monument Valley, the backdrop for many famous western movies.

Emilien and Anna: Desert and Diving

His younger brother Emilien and Anna Gandler went the opposite direction hitting futuristic Dubai in the United Arab Emirates first before tackling the vast desert sand dunes. Heading farther east, the duo settled in the Seychelles for beach time and underwater adventures before heading home after almost three weeks abroad.

Emilien admitted that his favorite activities on the long trip were, “the desert safari in Dubai and diving in the Seychelles.”

Camper Life in Portugal

While many athletes spent much of their holiday time in hotels, Germany’s Selina Grotian and Vanessa Voigt “roughed” it but only a bit, spending two weeks in a shiny green Roadsurfer camper van, touring Portugal. On their trip, the duo enjoyed some tourist sights, beaches, and brilliant sunsets fading into the Atlantic, totally escaping the sporting life.

“Kayaking in the Benagil Cave”

Four-time IBU Junior World Champion Grotian was bowled over almost daily on their trip, but one thing stood above everything. “There were so many adventures in the two weeks, especially the landscape was so beautiful. But the most memorable thing was definitely the kayak tour through the Benagil Cave!”

London and Bali

Emilien Jacquelin slipped over to London for a few days, catching a football match and pursuing his second love, photography, posting a handful of his images on @emilienjckphotos Instagram account.

Quentin Fillon Maillet made maybe the longest trip of the spring, heading off to Bali with his girlfriend, enjoying the sandy beaches, doing a bit of cooking and exploring exotic rainforests.

Sturla: Cooling Off on Crete

Sturla Holm Laegreid and his girlfriend escaped Norway for an active holiday heading to Crete in the Mediterranean the beaches, swimming in crystal clear water, enjoying café life, hiking and catching those spectacular sunsets. Laegreid said his best experience “was a hiking trip up to this cavern. Such a cool place.” The photo tells the rest of the story.

The Big Apple

Italy’s Linda Zingerle slipped away to a big city, as in the “Big Apple,” fulfilling “a girlhood dream,” of visiting New York City.” Making the most of her time, Zingerle rode on the famous Subway, hit the Museum on Modern Art, and mingled with the nighttime crowds in Times Square.

Lisa in Scotland

While Zingerle was in the big city, World Cup Total Score winner Lisa Vittozzi flew off to chilly Scotland, winding through Edinburgh, visiting stately country homes/castles and enjoying spectacular views on the wild Scottish coast. And short on Italian food, there was the traditional UK breakfast with bangers and poached eggs, and pancakes topped accompanied by a broiled tomato. Thinking back on the trip that looked nothing like her home in Italy’s Dolomites, Vittozzi called the visit, “amazing, so amazing that it is hard to pick a favorite.” Yet if you look at her smile on a windy, cool day, it might have been walking along the wild Scottish coast.

That is just a sampling of athlete holidays, but regardless of where the athletes travelled, April and early May was a time for relaxation and new adventures. Now it is back to cycling, rollerskiing as training is underway for the 2024/25 BMW IBU World Cup season.

Photos: IBU/Selina Grotian, Lisa Vittozzi, Emilien Claude, Sturla Holm Laegreid

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