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O Canada: Hicks constructs blog from Montréal

American following action from star-studded Autumn Classic International
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Courtney Hicks kept fans in the loop as she blogged throughout the 2017 Autumn Classic International in Montréal. -Courtesy of Courtney Hicks

Team USA's Courtney Hicks is competing at this week's 2017 Autumn Classic International in Montréal, Québec. She is kept a blog for icenetwork.

Saturday, Sept. 23

The men's event ended a couple of hours ago, and can I just say WOW, that was a ride! SO MANY QUADS. It was awesome. What's even more awesome is the fact that there are eventually going to be way more quads, because there were also a lot of supposed-to-be-quads-that-became-triples. I am still trying to process the absolute work of art that is Yuzuru [Hanyu's] step sequence. Now, on to my own skating.

My practice was at 7:55 a.m., which is earlier than I ever want to have to start, but after I had my coffee and got going, it was all good. I managed to poach an egg in the microwave, so breakfast was an interesting process! Practice went well, and my mom and I went to a little cafe near the lake in Pointe-Claire afterward. I really love that area; I think I've gone down there every day so far.

I have very mixed feelings about how my long went. There were a lot of really good things about it, but I also made a lot of really dumb mistakes that were completely unnecessary. I'm forever going to be salty about that double loop, but there's nothing I can do about it now. I have a full day in Montréal tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to do some sightseeing, and then it'll be back to California and back to training.

Back to the men. The last group started out with Keegan [Messing], who did an almost clean program and had super high-energy music. Then Misha [Ge] skated a pretty much clean program with incredibly emotional choreography. After that, Yuzuru [Hanyu] and Javier [Fernández] skated back to back, and then Nam [Nguyen] finished off the event with an impressive attempt at a quad salchow on THE LAST JUMP IN HIS PROGRAM. The whole thing was intense.

It was really cool to see that Yuzuru stayed and cheered for Javier during his program. Both of their programs are so well choreographed, and the edge control that they demonstrate is incredible. The fans were so supportive, and the feeling during and after Yuzuru's program was pure electric. It made the event feel extra special, and I'm really glad I got to watch.

Friday, Sept. 22

I'm sitting in a cafe in downtown Montréal, drinking a coffee and loving life. I wanted to take a break from the rink before I go watch pairs tonight. Unfortunately, I can't watch the entire men's event, since I have practice at 7:55 (WHAT) tomorrow morning!

A quick recap of last night: I was pretty happy with how my short went, even though the triple-triple decided to take a brief vacation for the evening. It's such a fun program to perform, though, and I really enjoyed it.

I don't think I can stress enough how much I enjoy the bilingual aspect of Montréal. It's a shame my sisters, Kylie and Kelsey, couldn't come. They're taking French in school and would have been loads of help here, especially in the downtown area, where there isn't as much in English. I love languages, though, and being here has been a lot of fun.

Practice was interesting today. My training mates, Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu, are here as well, and since they also drew first to skate in the short (sorry, guys), their practice was the same time as mine. Mark Mitchell was nice enough to help me out for the first half of my practice while Todd [Sand] (Hicks' coach) was with the pairs, so that was cool!

After practice, I went to lunch with Zack and Jess, and then my mom and I went to pay back the lady at Victor Rose Cafe. The area by the lake is so pretty. It's very peaceful and calm, and the water looks lovely. It actually reminds me a lot of an area near Detroit Skating Club in Michigan, where the road runs right up next to the water and there are a ton of trees and beautiful houses.

That brings me to the point of driving out to Montréal and to the cafe that I am currently at, so that's all I've got for now!

Thursday, Sept. 21

Good afternoon!

It's the first day of competition at the Autumn Classic International. I, of course, drew first to skate tonight, and even though they shouldn't let me handle the draws, it will be nice to avoid taking the ice so late in the day. Practices have gone well thus far, and it's really nice having so many people in the audience.

Even though I haven't gone through any practices with the Japanese ladies, there are still tons of Japanese fans watching and supporting every one of the skaters. I also haven't seen Yuzuru [Hanyu] yet, but there are so many banners up around the rink supporting him! The rink is gorgeous as well, and it's set to the perfect temperature.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention this. The folks in Montréal are ridiculously nice! My mom and I went to get coffee at a shop called Victor Rose Cafe in Pointe-Claire yesterday, and the shop could only take payment in debit or cash form. My mom usually only carries credit and we didn't have any Canadian money. We were initially going to cancel the order, but the wonderful lady running the shop told us we could have an "I owe you" and come back to pay another time. She actually let us do that! I'm really looking forward to going back because the coffee was excellent as well.

Well, that's all for today. I'm going to get some rest before I start preparing for tonight's short program, which will also be the first time I'll get to show off my new dress!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Hey guys! I'm checking in from Day One of the Autumn Classic here in Montréal. I don't have practice until later tonight, so I spent most of my day trying to find a rink where I could skate a bit. After finally figuring out where to go, my mom and I made the trip.

So far, Montréal is lovely, and the weather is just perfect! The temperature is balmy with a nice light breeze, and it's sunny with little cloud cover. I'm also obsessed with how incredibly green the land is! Coming from California -- where it's green for maybe three weeks out of the year, if we're lucky -- the sheer amount of trees, bushes and plants is amazing to me. It's especially great right now because some of the trees are beginning to turn yellow and red, which is another thing I really don't often get to see in California. I love it.

That's really all I've got for now, especially since most of the remaining members of Team USA are arriving today, and practices start later. I'm off to skate in Sainte Julie, and hopefully get some good coffee at a cute cafe and explore a little bit of Montréal before I have to get ready for my official tonight.

Thanks for reading and have a good day. I'll talk to you again soon!