Tuesday, November 11, 2008

T minus One

The race begins tomorrow, but, like any good journey, the adventure has already begun. Ours began with counting our blessings when we were not among the twelve people turned away at the gate from Air Canada's overbooked flight to San Jose and then again when both pieces of luggage arrive as planned. Trish, Gerry, Sylvia, Erik and I arrived together. Craig was already in San Jose, along with Tom (another Calgarian). Pat and Steve eventually showed up a bit later and lighter than planned, but everything seems to have sorted itself out now.

It's nice to come out a day or two early. We took our time coming out to Jaco, stopping at the former unofficial David Hasslehoff restaurant (note: there is no longer a signed portrait of David Hasslehof at the restaurant. It must have changed hands and the old owner must have deemed the portrait to be too valuable to include in the sale). There was a quote on the menu that said something like "In the silence your mind acheives stillness". I thought it accurately described one of the beautiful experiences that you get in this race.

We carried on toward Jaco and checked out crocodile infested river. This time there were about 20 croc's right in the location in which the guys were walking last year. That seemed to keep the urges to explore under control. We drove through some torrential downpours and flooding on the road. We laugh about this now, but we know this means that it's going to be tough going in the jungle.

We've spent the last couple of days reflecting on last year's experience - the humour and the horrors. Like Jack Funk eating seven tuna sandwiches back to back at one aid station and then having to take a nap (we sure miss him this year). Or me forgetting to unlock my front shock on the volcano descent (I'm actually not sure how much I can laugh about this yet).

When we first arrived, Erik and I were excited to see that our room was right next to the registration tent. That meant no walking up and down tile stairs in bike shoes and no need to walk too far for all of the registration matters. We have since discovered the flip side of this perk. Erik has renamed the room "Club 133" for the hours upon hours of pounding techno that have been blaring from the speakers over the last 24 hours. No napping!

Trish and Craig came down with some sort of illness yesterday. Consensus seems to be that it was food related. Things are looking up today - hopefully they'll be ready to go tomorrow.

I had breakfast this morning in the same room as Roberto Heras and it finally dawned on me that I'm in the same race as Roberto Heras. How cool (and terrifying) is that! The field is smaller this year - maybe 400? Fewer women too - 23, instead of the 45 or so that showed up last year. We don't have a way to confirm this, but we think that there may be more people from Calgary in this race than from any other single city across the globe. Approaching a dozen, I think. Not bad. The Deadgoat's are very likely the best represented team from outside of Costa Rica. Another something of which to be proud.

After having two beautiful days here and fantasizing about the possibility of things drying out, we are now experiencing a heavy downpour that has continued for over an hour. Tomorrow is going to be a challenge. I lucked out last year with the dry weather on the west coast. This year, stage one is 10% longer and 100% wetter. It's gonna be a tough one.


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