ioCrew Member and Professional Skateboarder, Lee Cation, recently travelled to Europe to compete in and officiate a number of downhill race events, including the International Downhill Federation Insul 2016 in Germany where he placed an impressive finish! This was Lee’s second time in Europe, but like most European trips, there was still plenty of new places to visit and adventures to be had! We recently caught up with Lee to hear a bit about what he got up to and it certainly sounds like he was glad to have packed his ioMerino. Going from the extreme heat in Italy to the rain and cold in Ireland, he saw a range of temperatures and conditions. He says, “I was immediately thankful for the IO Shirts, socks and underwear to help with climate control”. We’ll take his word for it! And you probably should too. 🙂
By Lee Cation.
“This whole trip was sparked by a request from the International Downhill Federation that I travel to Teolo, Italy to officiate the World Qualifying Series, ‘Padova Grand Prix’.
It was the 13th year of the event and my first visit to Italy. I now get why everyone loves traveling to Italy; food, geography and climate. After a less than award-winning summer in Vancouver, I was keen for some heat, but wasn’t prepared for the surprise of 38-degree days. After a 3-day event including many meals and ceremonies, I was ready to head to the coastal city of Venice!
I met up with my partner, Kristen in Venice and spent the nights on Lido Island (a much less touristy island) and the days in Venice for a total of 3 nights. It was even hotter at sea level and the tourists were in full-force as we battled our way through the crowds exploring canals and indulging in pizza, pasta & vino. Italy has such an interesting and rich history. We enjoyed just wandering and getting lost in the many little walkways and alleys. St. Mark’s square was a must-see and worth the crowds. On our last day, when we’d lost the drive to weather the crowds in Venice and while we were fending off jet-lag, we opted to bike the length of Lido Island, finally getting to see how the residents really lived. My ioMerino shirt kept me well ventilated and blocked the harsh UV Rays my skin doesn’t need.
After a late night flight, we then spent two nights in Cologne, Germany. The beer and Brauhaus’s on the Rhine were everything you want from Germany. The traditional German food was great (although predominantly beige) and the Gothic Cathedral in the centre was unbelievable. If Spetzel and Schnitzel aren’t your thing, we were stoked to find a fantastic diversity of restaurants and ate some of the best international cuisine we’ve ever had.
Next, we hopped in a zippy little rental car to head to Insul, Germany for the 10th anniversary race. Insul is a very small town, one hour Southwest of Cologne. The town and road has a rich auto racing history so the downhill community felt right at home. Fun Anecdote: couples camping in a one-man tent was my error and more of a challenge then expected. Once you get the hang of synchronized spooning, things get slightly more bearable.
I managed to qualify 17th out of 91 racers and place 3rd in the Master35 class.
Next, we hopped on a train to head further east to the Netherlands. Amsterdam was definitely a highlight. The food and drink were beyond amazing. We drank Junever (a traditional liquor from Juniper berries) from a little shop that had been around since the early 1600s, and ate an incredible meal at Vergulden Eenhoorn, a barn from 1702 that has been converted into a restaurant. After Germany, the open-minded Dutch culture was appreciated. Drugs, sex and rock and roll! No, but seriously, the canal system in the downtown core is quite a human feat! The building and architecture was so unique, you could tell the Dutch had many centuries of prosperity.
Our final stop was Dublin, Ireland. No Euro Tour is complete without a near miss of your plane and a cursing of Ryan Air. Oh, Ireland – we wish the weather was better, but we did get some glimpses of sun! Ireland is closest to my heritage. Drinking, live music and dancing is just what goes down on the daily. Ireland is an island on it’s own “but held down by the English for 800 years”.