[Left: My Parents and I are celebrating the delivery of my new fan-club t-shirts â€“ a big thanks to Taigraphx for the printing!]
Itâ€™s been a long day of travelling, I left my house at 4pm on Tuesday, and arrived in Huatulco around noon Wednesday, after eight hours of flying, nine hours sitting in airports, five baggage screenings, three flights, several short naps, and one shuttle ride where I had to pretend to be on the French team after discovering that every other athlete on my flight (twelve) had a shuttle waiting for them â€“ but nobody was there for the American.
I checked in and called my mom, Victor Plata and Courtenay on Skype. Thatâ€™s about when the sawing, hammering, and mowing started. I was planning to nap, but it was like sitting inside a machine shop while the boss is making rounds. I asked to change rooms, only to find that my new room has no internet, and the old AC fan was almost as loud as the hammering in the other room. They said I couldnâ€™t change again until tomorrow, and â€“ since it was already digging into my nap time â€“ I didnâ€™t have the desire.
After a wonderful nap, I snuck in a ride before it got dark outside. It was about 3km in that I started thinking about how gorgeous it is here â€“ and thatâ€™s when the dogs started chasing me. There were no less than a dozen stray mutts â€“ who obviously thought I was intruding â€“ chasing me over the crest of a short hill. I hadnâ€™t planned more than an easy spin, but I got in a good sprint as they chased me downhill at 40mph. Those dogs can run fast! (but luckily not for very long). It took me a while to turn around, for fear of passing those dogs while trying to go up the hill Iâ€™d just sprinted down. When I finally did work up the courage, the dogs just laid at the side of the road and watched me pedal by â€“ no barking, no chasing, no nipping at my feetâ€¦ I think I wore them out!
After a run I had some fajitas at the hotel, then went walking to find more bottled water. Everything on the street was closed, but a guy outside a snorkeling tour shop started speaking to me in Spanish. Now â€“ I own the Rosetta Stone Spanish software, and I tell people Iâ€™m learning Spanish, but the truth is I use it to pass the time on the trainer every-so-often and really didnâ€™t think I had learned enough to squeak out an introduction â€“ let alone a conversation with a non-English speaker. I asked him to repeat himself several times before I figured out he was asking if I would be racing in the Triathlon on Sunday. We talked for a little while, and I exhausted my limited vocabulary to tell him when I was racing, where Iâ€™m from, my name, and that I was looking for a store to buy water. He told me where it was, and when I asked if it was within walking distance, he told me to borrow his bicycle while he waited there for me. I couldnâ€™t believe it â€“ a total stranger, who I could hardly converse with was just blindly letting me take his bike to the supermarket.
I did, and when I came back he told me to go to bed and sleep well so I could race well. And he said he would have his family at the race and they would cheer for me! My fan club is growing â€“ if only I had more T-Shirtsâ€¦