At the end of something, it’s helpful to look back and see how far you’ve come. Colorado, it’s that time.
Wait, what? End of my time in Colorado??
Yes! Great news! I’m moving to San Diego this summer with my very favorite person!
(Because I know your next questions: Why? He got into a Master’s Program and when asked if I wanted to go along, I said heck yes! What about my job? I’m going remote, baby! Where will you live? As close to the beach as possible, duh)
But let’s not look forward yet. I want to start by looking back. It all started back in 2016. I was ready to get out of the Bay Area and Colorado seemed like a great choice. At jump 179, in July of 2016, I came out to CO for a weekend to see if I liked the area. I did a couple jumps at Mile Hi.
Not too long after, I moved to Colorado! My first day jumping here was 9/4/16. That day at Mile Hi, I hit 200 jumps! David Goodnack organized a speed star-ish jump for me out of the Sky Van visiting that weekend. We had low clouds, got out a 9k, and a very experienced skydiver took the base out on a yellow light. I wore my (still new and clean) colorbarf belly suit. When I landed off, I PLF’d my landing it my beautiful suit got dirty. Four years later, it’s a sad, faded suit and has rips and stains and many memories.
That was quite a while ago. For reference, I just hit 1200.
So what did I do in 4 years I’ve been here?
In no particular order, in Colorado, I…
- Got my WSCR (2016)
- Got my coach rating (2017)
- Went to Nationals for the first time (with 5280 Flyers, a Colorado team. Got a stunning 5.5 average, ranking 25th out of 29 Intermediate teams in 2018)
- Won my first Nationals medal in 4way (with Stockholm Syndrome, where we got 2nd with a wildling improved 11.5 average in 2019)
- Built the belly community doing numerous tunnel 2way events, then 3way events, and now 4way events! (2018-2020 mostly)
- Got banned from a DZ (2018) Got let back in eventually (2019)
- Load organized for the memorable, the only, the magic season of Orange Skies at FoCo (RIP) (2018)
- Earned the CA SANS record! (2017)
- Did a Mr. Bill (Don’t judge me! It was a terrible idea but here we are) (2017)
- Did so many jumps out of the King Air at Out of the Blue (RIP) (2017 mostly)
- Learned how to freefly kinda
- Coached some NoPro events (2017)
- Ran a Women’s Skydiving Network belly skills camp (2018)
Also, in the last 4 years, but not in Colorado), I…
- Load organized at my first boogies! (2018)
- Became a WSN Mobile Mentor (2017)
- Got my TI (2018)
- Won my first Nationals metal, bronze in Intermediate 8way Medal in 2018
- Flew on my first Open 8way team (2019)
- Went to my first P3 event (2017)
- Got recruited for a World Class team and won gold in the US indoor skydiving competition for the Women’s Open division (2020)
- Got invited to the Arizona Challenge (2020)
- Had my first reserve ride (2019)
So, quite a bit happened. I probably missed some things in there. But damn, 4 busy years.
Things I will miss about CO:
- The people. All the friends I’ve made and the people I’ve coached
- Being able to brag about flying 4way in a 12foot octagon. It’s hard
- The view of the mountains under canopy at Mile Hi or in the Otter on the climb. It’s truly gorgeous
Things I will not miss:
- Cold weather jumping. I’m too wimpy
- The heckin’ fast landings on a hot day at altitude
- The extra threat of hypoxia when you haven’t been jumping much at altitude
- Flying in a 12ft octagon. Seriously, it’s so tiny for 4way
So, what’s my legacy here?
Man, I don’t know. What do I wish it was? I hope it’s a legacy of being a community builder for belly, of being an encouraging coach and a fun organizer. But honestly, I’m not sure. I really wish I had found, for lack of a better term, a protege. I wish someone had been excited enough about belly to ask “What do I do? Where do I go? How do I get better?” I’m handing off my tunnel events to a friend after asking if he’d mind doing them, but I wish someone had enthusiastically expressed interest in getting into it. I have learned so much about running events, evaluating skills, putting teams and draws and dives together. I have learned so much about how to engage people and bring them out to events. I would love to share it.
And finally, what’s next?
I’m not totally sure actually. My run with XPG4 was brief and wrapped up this week. (I got a gold medal out of it I guess, and now I can fly tail somewhat competently.) But the beauty of SoCal is that it’s a land of opportunity, so I don’t have to decide what’s next yet. Maybe I’ll get on another 4way team. Maybe I’ll put together an 8way team for funzies. Maybe I’ll finally get to try CRW like I’ve been hoping for a couple years. (Maybe I’ll put together a CRW team?) Maybe I’ll figure out what all this angle flying business is about. Maybe I’ll just try to organize at some boogies, or run belly skills camps for the WSN, or maybe I’ll just go to boogies and goof off. Maybe I’ll sign up for some P3 camps. Maybe I’ll see what regular tunnel comps happen in SoCal and either hop in, or put some on myself. Maybe I’ll take up paragliding, or speed flying, or kite surfing, or scuba, or sailing, or surfing, all of which I have been chomping at the bit to try but couldn’t fit into my schedule. Maybe I’ll spend more time running, or doing yoga, or cooking, or sewing, or getting back into climbing, all of which I love to do but can never seem to fit in when I’m traveling so much.
What I do know is that I love SoCal. I can’t wait to go back. I did my first tandem at San Diego, got my A license at Lake Elsinore and Perris feels like home to me. So, bring on the beaches, the sunscreen and the SoCal skydiving scene.