National Team rider Andy Matthew goes on a road trip to poland
Faction National Team rider Andy Matthew from the UK went on a road trip recently to poland for the Polish Freesking Open. He decided to send us a little story from his quite frankly bizarre sounding road trip. To keep things short we have had to edit out some of the details but things included beer, billboards, grave yards, scary back roads in random countries and a camper van! read on...
Web video team Unity Productions were meant to arrive in Mayrhofen around 8 o'clock in the morning so that we could get an early start for our 14-hour drive to Poland, but it was 12 hours later that they showed up, not the best start.
During the day there wasn't much to do other than drink and try not to die on a snow skate, not the best idea before travelling to a competition! We had a quick pasta and pesto, and James Woods and I indulged in just a few more beers before we packed up and set out.
Our first stop was a whole 2 minutes outside our house, we needed to fill up the car and woodsy had a craving for Laberkaussen (lovely manly chunks of left over meat munched up into Burger form, sounds horrible tastes unbelievably good!)
5 hours later we stopped in either Austria or Germany, I just remember they spoke German. We all had a little bite to eat and drink before back to the car for another long leg. Next time we stopped we were just over the border into Slovakia, land of the billboards. Everywhere I looked there were billboards advertising everything you could ever want and things you didn't!
Other than that the country was flat and fairly boring until we hit Bratislava, which brightened up things for about 10 minutes. I decided it was a good time to get some shuteye.
When I woke up we were on a sketchy Slovakian back road that had some trees and some pretty cool castle's to look at which was a change from the night before. There was a bit of traffic build up due to some road works and we were stuck for about 20 minutes before we were allowed to start moving again, only to find the section of road they we working on was about 10m long which pissed us all off.
Slovakia turned a little creepy after that, there was a lot of ghost towns, where we saw 1 or 2 people but a lot more buildings and houses. There was also a hell of a lot of graveyards lining the roads which freaked Woodsy out as he was already convinced everyone in Slovakia was from the movie 'Hostel'.
A couple of hours later we crossed into Poland and only had a 15-minute drive to Zakopane, where the Polish Freeski Open was being held. We got lost trying to find the campsite and eventually asked a parking attendant for directions. Driving through downtown Zakopane with a full caravan and car wasn't the easiest thing. When we got to the campsite everything was super hassle free, our key was given to us and the caravan could go anywhere, and we were allowed to pay at the end of the week.
It was soon competition day and we arrived a little late so only got a couple of warm up runs, but we had had so many the day before it didn't make that much difference.
Qualifications went quickly and so did the rail jam. I stomped all my qualification runs so I was stoked and just had fun on the rails not really expecting to do much in them. The scores were all tallied up and the qualifiers were read out, I had managed to qualify for rails and big air.
The next day we were up fairly early and had a couple of practise runs and found our exact qualification places, I had managed to qualify in 4th place. We chilled out for a bit and then when the semi finals started I tried to fire off my runs as close together as possible. Once it was over we had a 5-minute wait before they read out the results, I had qualified again! There was about an hour before the finals started and they had set criteria for it. 5 hits - 1 style, 1 spin up to a 540 and 3 free hits (of which best 2 counted). I wasn't really happy with that but I dealt with it and rode as well as I could.
photo: Tomek Gola | PFO | fikcja.pl
My overall result was 10th, which I was pretty happy with. The after party rocked, I got totally rat arsed and danced far too much and got lost on the way home which is interesting being from the UK and walking around the streets of Poland, but i had an amazing time and i wouldn't have done things any other way!
The competition was so good for all the tiny budget that they had due to cuts from sponsors, so hopefully next year with a little more money the competition will be even better!