« U23 Worlds - days 1,2,3 »

Day one of this adventure start out just the way any true adventure should.  We woke up in some strange house... Actually that is true, we moved out of the Fitz house one day early due to a track rental... But it wasn't the comfy beds of home that the girls missed most, it was Mrs. Fitz cooking.  (seriously, Mrs Fitz should open a restaurant - "the athletes table".  You will not be able to get up from the table unless mrs Fitz has deemed that you've eaten enough... She will also pick all the cranberries and raisins our of your trail mix and replace them with chocolate - you think it is just her being nice... But she is doing her job for the athletes - make sure they eat a lot... If cranberries are in the way of that mission, they have got to go!Other than the strange house, Friday started as normal, morning practice, then it got a little crazy as we got to packing and eating and showering for a long trip.  I had to disassemble our pair and take lots of stuff in my bag (foot stretchers, pins, oarlocks, etc). Somehow we actually got on the road right when we planned, and we were able to spend some time at Kristis house on the way (even with a little traffic).  After my last trip, I was ready for anything at the airport, but it was a breeze, we even had time to sit for a nice dinner (with cornbread) at the airport before we boarded.  The flight left at 8:20 pm, for arrival in Munich the next morning... I am an old pro when it comes to overnight flights now... So I donned my noise canceling headphones, my neck pillow, my eye cover, and my blanket and settled in for the night (yup, I'm that guy... And yup, the girls were laughing at me.). Joke was on them though - I had a nice sleep (missed dinner and breakfast tho) and they got about 3 hours.  Next time they will go for the eye patches I bet.  There were a few other USA athletes on the plane, so that was nice, but it was not fun for the girls to learn that the boys got black backpacks and the girls got brown.  When we landed we all gathered to wait for the team bus... Unfortunately, our 2 hour wait turned into about 3 when the bus hit traffic... In the 3 hours, however, I managed to find some beet juice for the girls (liquid gold) and get in trouble twice.  First I tried to order food at the bar - they told me to go sit at my table and the waiter would come... Then when the waiter didn't come and I started getting hangry I went and grabbed a slice of pizza across the hall... I brought it back and sat with some of the other coaches - until the waiter did show up and promptly told me and my pizza that I had to leave the restaurant.  Oh... And, while I was looking for food, I stopped at a sandwich stand and tried to buy one... Except there was a little language barrier... The woman behind the counter and I just pointed at sandwiches and said "mayonnaise?" "mayonnaise" back and forth to each other about 7 times... Then I gave up and got the pizza.When the bus finally arrived, some more athletes arrived from other terminals as well, and we almost filled it.  The ride to Linz was long, and started as a chatty ride, but within 30 minutes everyone was asleep - except me, I was noticing the proliferation of solar panels across the roof tops in Germany. (then I dozed off as well).Unfortunately we got to the hotel too late for the last bus out to the race course, so we didn't get to rig our boat that night... So we decided to go out for a walk instead.  Following Kristi's keen sense of direction we left the hotel and stumbles upon the coolest street in Linz and a summer festival - complete with street performers, flea marked, kids rides, and a corn on the cob stand.  We know exactly where to go for shopping now.Dinner was interesting - after being spoiled by Mrs Fitz, these girls are going to need to figure out how to get their calories in with some of the Austrian food being a bit different then they are used to.  We also learned our lesson about dinner timing... Don't show up after the Kiwis.  There is no food left.  Right after dinner it was off to bed.  A long 2 days.Wile very tiny, and very close together, the beds must have been comfortable... The girls slept for 12 1/2 hours!  I was happy for that, but unfortunately it meant breakfast behind the Kiwis again!  2 meals in a row unsatisfying... Now we know... After breakfast it was off to the race course to rig and row.The course was beautiful and it was pretty funny to have giant busses driving through the tiny town of ottenshiem to the course.  Once there I was SO happy to find our boat exceeded expectations.  It took a little while to rig (but you want to make sure the athletes are set up appropriately, there are a lot of new things coming their way). Unfortunately we were there so long rigging and rowing at we missed lunch... I had told them to pack a lunch - which they did - but didn't mention the potential of them needing a big meal (they thought I meant snack - little communication issue). So... Ugh... 3 unsatisfying meals in a row... I think we are missing the 4th member of our team - Mrs. Fitz!  At least the row, after a few adjustments, was a solid one.  Kristi said the splits were very good, even into a small headwind.  Finally they landed at 3:26 and we just missing the 3:30 bus, (they leave EXACTLY on time here).  So we had an hour to kill before the next bus.  I think they spent the hour scheming because after we got home, dinner was supposed to begin at 6:30 and they showed up at 6:00 only to find the Kiwis already there!! Fortunately they hadn't been there long enough to to eat everything, and finally we had a satisfying meal.  (though don't eat the risotto - it has horseradish in it - come to think of it, at least a 1/3 of all the food have horseradish or sauerkraut I think).  During dinner we chatted with Andrew Campbell for a while (the only other USA athlete to determine the trick)... Turns out Mrs Fitz would love him.. After dinner he said "I'm off to find some decaf tea". Hmmm... Andrew is a medalist at u23 and sr worlds... Mrs Fitz must be on to something.  8:15 off to bed.  8:15 bus tomorrow morning... I'm guessing they get 10 1/2 hours sleep tonight.  Or maybe they have plans to get to breakfast before the kiwis??Tomorrow we have pictures taken for the fisa records and we have 2 practices.  I'm guessing the European countries will all show up tomorrow - it will get busy quickly.So far so good.

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