Friday, March 23, 2012

Athlete Briefing

Before every ITU race there is a mandatory athlete briefing, where they show you the course maps, answer questions, and go over the same slide deck with the same rules as your last ITU race. But when you are racing internationally, the logistics can get interesting, so I decided to put together a photo journal for tonight’s meeting.

The meeting was at 6pm at a restaurant that was maybe 20km away from the race site. The ITU site and the race web site had different details on the time & place, but we learned last week to trust the race web site. There was a shuttle from the Hotel O’Higgins to the restaurant, but the Hotel O’Higgins is in Vina del Mar, which is 15km from the race site and 10km from our hostels in Valparaiso. So My plan was to walk to the Bellavista metro station, take a train to the Vina del Mar stop, walk to the Hotel O’Higgins, take the 5:30pm shuttle to the race meeting, and follow the same steps in reverse for the return trip. Barrett & Kevin’s hostel is 2km up the hill from mine, so they also took a Colectivo to/from the metro station. Anyways, the pictures and stories…

First up, this is the funky hostel where I’m staying in Valparaiso. It is called the Hostel Verde Limon. They have a trapeze and a ribbon in the high atrium, and the interior and exterior are painted in many bright colors.

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The Plazuela Descansa is right outside our door. I heard a bunch of voices out there yesterday and found a group of street performers working the crowd… I stuck around to see what their big number would be… and… handkerchief dancing!!!

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Walking down the hill to the station, all of the buildings have murals

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I had to cross some kind of unnecessarily high pedestrian bridge to get over a busy street. Don’t they know that we’re on taper. TAPER!!


The metro line runs along the water. You can see the port to the north and the tall buildings of Vina de mar to the south.

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The fare was only 400 CLP each way to get to/from the hotel, or about $0.81, but I also had to buy a farecard to 1200 CLP.


After getting off the train and walking in the direction where I expected the Hotel O’Higgins to be, I started having doubts about whether I’d gone the right way. Then I looked up.


The bus left at a surprisingly-punctual 5:33pm and the only bit of levity along the way was when we couldn’t make the turn into the restaurant and instead opted to turn around via an 18-point turn in a tiny gravel lot. Very Austin Powers.

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The race meeting was at the Cabeza del Pescador restaurant, right on the beach.


The briefing started out with this guy, who didn’t seem to know or care that he was totally blocking the projector:


Highlights of the talk itself included a lot of confused discussion between people who aren’t quite fluent in Spanish and people who aren’t quite fluent in English. “Clockwise” and “Counter-clockwise,” a.k.a. “horario” and “antihorario” seemed to be a challenge. We also enjoyed the confusion around the run course being 2.5 laps of 4km per lap. We run the hilly part twice and the flat part three times.

This year’s ITU deck ends with a picture of Bevan Docherty, asking if we have any questions:


After the meeting, they had a free dinner for all of the athletes. That was pretty sweet. Except it was all pasta. Oh well… free meal! The best part was that they had a volunteer putting bibs on every athlete before they could grab food:


We were treated to a nice sunset over the ocean while we waited for the return bus

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Ok, maybe not my most exciting blog post ever… but it is important to chill out the night before the race, right?

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