Today has gone much better. I rode for about 30 minutes in the morning to test the hot rod. It shifts fine, thank God. A little cranky in spots, but then, it’s always cranky, so the bike essentially works as usual. A group of Australian cyclists flew by me on the hill up to the hotel. Arg. Afterwards I ran for about 30 minutes, which also felt fine. Did my strides on a small street to the side of the hotel while two French cyclists got ready to ride. Athletes from all over Europe and Australia are staying at this hotel, but no other Americans that I have seen. Fine by me. I enjoy meeting folks from other countries, I just wish I could speak their language.
After breakfast and a shower, I decided to drive in the direction of my runs through a tiny town called Campelo to see if I could find a nice spot to chill out. I found a beach, which appears to be further out from the sea of sludge that I saw this morning. This section is much nicer and sandier, with boardwalks, a couple soccer goals in the sand and a nice, quiet, wide bike path. I wish I could have found this last night! I watched the water, a fisherman, people walking their dogs and even a couple rollerblading. A few people were sunbathing.
The little restaurant across the street, Isla de Tambo, looked inviting, so I eventually decided to stop in. The small cafeteria/tapas spot had an Ensalada Mixta on the menu, which sounded like a “safe” salad. I was able to communicate “no cheese,” “no bread,” and “water.”
The restaurant had salt, paprika and olive oil on the table. The olive oil came with a spout that squirted the oil in a narrow little stream, which is so convenient! The server brought me two plastic packets of vinegar to complete my salad dressing. If I were eating this properly, I would have ordered it along with two or three other dishes, probably seafood, and shared it with one or three other people. Dining solo, the Mixta salad was enough.
I had no idea how to ask for the check. With hand signals, we worked it out.
I race tomorrow at 12:24 p.m. I have packed most of my stuff, laid out my clothes, stuck numbers on my bike, helmet and “sweats check” bag, and organized my breakfast so that I won’t have to fuss around too much in the morning. The weather calls for temperatures in the low 70s with about a 9 mph wind.
In a few minutes I leave for “check-in,” where they inspect my bike, uniform and helmet to make sure they comply with ITU rules and then let me hang the bike in my assigned spot in transition. I also plan to scope out the start line, the bike and run in/out points and make a mental note of where my bike is racked. The night time check-in is from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Even race details happen late.