Monday, March 26, 2012

Training in Chile

I promised to do a write-up on the training situation down here. A possible moral of this story is that sticking to a structured training plan while traveling can be very difficult, so you must either do your homework, know somebody local, or be prepared to be flexible. My friends Barrett & Kevin planned ahead and coordinated with Felipe Van de Wyngard from Chile. I took the “flexible” approach instead. So they may have done a bit more training than I did between the races, but I got to go surfing!

The Rio Mapocho in downtown Santiago did not make me want to swim:


The park in the middle of town, however, did make me want to run:


You can see the Cerro Cristobal in the background above. The Cerro towers over the Bellavista neighborhood and is a useful guidepost when wandering that part of town. I biked up there on my first day in town, then I ran up there twice – once before the race and once after. On the Sunday after the race, there were hundreds of people walking, running or “biking” up the hill. I use the air-quotes because I passed about twenty of these cyclists as I was running. It wasn’t a Hardcore Training place as much as a Go Check Out the View place. Here are some views from the top:


And a few more from the ride back down:


On Thursday before the Santiago race, I tried to attend a course preview. The race web site described a 7am shuttle bus from the race hotel, so I woke up at 6am and biked 20-30 minutes from my hostel in the dark while dodging city buses and cars… only to find that there wasn’t a bus at the hotel. So I biked home in the breaking dawn and went back to sleep for another four hours.

Felipe Van de Wyngard told us about the free pool at the Estadio Nacional. It was pretty sweet swim in an outdoor 50m pool for no charge. It was just far enough away from the hostels to be worth a cab ride, though…


The grounds of the pool were unimpressive, however:


On Tuesday morning in Ritoque, I went for a longer-than-expected morning run. I ran into the nearest town, Quintero, to find an ATM. THen I felt like adding on, so I tried to circumnavigate the peninsula at the northern end of town… but then underestimated the distance back to town and ended up skirting the coast for quite awhile. I took a “scenic” dirt road for awhile, only to have it dump me off at a junkyard. There are a plethora of stray dogs throughout Chile, but the stray dog concentration got higher as I neared the junkyard and I started to wonder for the first time, “How many dogs could I take in a fight?” A quick look around told me, “not this many.” Luckily they are all completely tame. I’ve probably seen 200+ dogs on this trip and only 2 or 3 even acknowledged my existence, one of which followed me around Playa Ritoque in a friendly/companion sort of way.

Anyways… on to Valpo…

The bike course in Valparaiso goes up a pretty solid hill. We only rode half of it on race day, and luckily the wind died down. Thursday was gusty and I had a hard time keeping my bike on the ground. Friday was much calmer, making the twisty descent much more manageable.


I did a swim course preview on Thursday afternoon. The water was wicked cold. Like Pac Grove / SFO Bay cold. The race meeting said “15 degrees.” I totally got brain freeze during my course preview, and cut it short. Kevin and I wore neoprene caps for the race and felt fine.

Sunday/yesterday, after the Valpo race, I ran about an hour on Avenida Alemania, which follows the ridgeline about Valparaiso, more or less. There were plenty of nice views, like from Plaza Bismarck and from this other plaza where Chilean teenagers were making out. My hostel posse in Santiago observed that most of these kids must live with their parents, and therefore they have to go out to the parks in order to make out. One weekday evening in the main park in Santiago, we figured that 90% of the park population was young couples making out!

Anyways, the pictures from that run route:

The hill leaving the Pata Pata hostel:


Cool murals everywhere. I mean *everywhere*…


Views from the plaza:


La Sebastiana:


And the entrance to the mysterious Original Kingdom of the Spoon Revolution:


As a bonus to those who made it that far, here was my victory/recovery meal after that run. I hit J Cruz M too late – they were closing – and Aqui Esta La Papa hadn’t opened yet, so I ended up at El Pimenton. Chorrillana!!


And then I was still hungry, so I caved and ate a fried Empanada w queso y Champignones. It was massive:


OK, off to find the sandboarding dunes, then start my long journey back to Seattle via at least two buses and three airplanes.

No comments:

Post a Comment