Madrid Preview

Hello from Spain! The hotel we’re staying in is short on internet service, so I’m writing this without wifi and it may be outdated by the time I am able to post. My apologies.

It’s Friday night. I just had dinner with a friend of mine, Ben Neuwirth, who I swam with at Columbia. What’s interesting is that Ben has been living in Seattle since 2006, and I saw him fewer than five times in the 3 years that we both lived there. Two weeks ago he quit his job at Microsoft – after being accepted to business school at Northwester University – and moved to Madrid with his girlfriend, Kim, for the summer. They’re doing an intensive summer language course here, and enjoying some down time before moving to Chicago. He emailed me Thursday after seeing a poster for the race to find out if I was racing, and from there we planned dinner. It was pretty cool to see someone I know in Madrid who’s not a triathlete – though I did feel bad making them stay in all evening so I could keep off my feet.

The swim course is two laps in a duck pond within a gigantic park on the west side of downtown. The bike is hilly, also within the park, and the run is rolly, without anything more than 1% grade. Already it’s obvious that the World Championship Series is a much bigger deal than other races. The airport had a man in a suit waiting to drive me to the hotel, the race course has been set up since I got here Thursday morning, and there are billboards around the city advertising the event. World cups do this too, but here it just seems bigger.

My thoughts are really discombobulated right now. There’s so much I wanted to write about, and this lack of internet is killing my ability to document my trip via blog. That, and the schedule they have us on – or that has been offered us rather, since it’s not as though we’re being told what to do at any point.

The USA Triathlon Team has a doctor, a chiropractor and a massage therapist/PT all here to support us. Plus two coaches. It’s pretty cool, and I know it’s going to help us perform better to have this kind of support. I showed up in Madrid with my neck kinked from sleeping on a plane, and my muscles knotted from sitting. But thanks to the USAT support staff, I got all that worked out, and I’m already feeling good on my second day here. Diana, the massage therapist [slash] physical therapist, in from Santa Barbara, though she lived in Seattle for a while. She often works for the ITU in the medical tent at big events, but this time we secured her for ourselves. I’m glad she’s here with us, but I’m hoping she can still be at the finish line to carry me to the med tent for an ice bath like she’s done more than once in the past.

I’m rooming with Matt Chrabot. This is fine with me. We live across the hall from each other in Colorado Springs and since, and I know he’s not going to stay up all night watching TV, sit in the room eating power bars and skipping meals, snore, or wake me up to the smell of smoked herring. The main disagreement we have with hotel room behavior is was announced within seconds of walking into our room, “Alright, first ground rule: flush the toilet – always – even after a pee.” Whereas, I’m more of a, “if it’s yellow let it mellow”, save the water for when it counts type of guy. I can compromise, but I still say it won’t smell if you’re hydrating properly.

I’ll post pictures at some point, but I forgot my camera cable.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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