Nothing worked out like it was supposed to—this could be the tagline for 2020, and not just for me, but for almost every single person around the world. As an athlete on the competitive circuit, my year started with the Australian Nationals and then the King of the Air; that’s where things went a little haywire. In one of my heats I broke a rib and hurt my knee, which coincided almost perfectly with the first round of the Covid-19 virus spreading its sneaky little tendrils around the world. There’s never a good time for a pandemic, but as a professional athlete with injuries, the chaos sewn in the spring of 2020 worked somewhat to my favor.

While most of Australia had the virus under control, we began to see signs that Melbourne was falling apart. Every state in Australia had created special quarantine hotels to protect the general population from travelers arriving from other countries. While most of the country used the military to control these hotels, Melbourne had sub-contracted the job to shady private security firms. From a single mismanaged hotel, the virus jumped into a public housing project and from there, back into the community. We knew the writing was on the wall when the government began shutting down the roads that lead out of the state of Victoria—it seemed like we were headed for the most severe lockdown as of yet. Katie and I loaded our little van, paying special care to pack our gear to look brand new, professional and neat. We obtained a special freight and logistics pass which allowed us to ‘run freight’ for a Naish shop and plastered the designated G-label to our front window as we headed out of town. Heading up the east coast, we encountered a three-mile line of cars at the border. Normally just an imaginary line, the Victoria state line had become a roadblock, but luckily the border guards took one look at our freight pass and waved us through without any questions. Having escaped Australia’s single hot zone, we headed up the northeast coast to Covid-free territory with next to no restrictions on activities… To read the rest of The Great Escape subscribe to Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s Vol. 17, No. 2 fall 2020 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!