Flying to Hamburg

All I’ve done the past week is travel. I drove to Boulder, then I flew to San Francisco, raced, Flew to Denver, hung out in Boulder another night, drove to Colorado Springs, packed, then flew to Germany. This is not my ideal weekend, but it’s made for a few eye-rolling experiences. I’m of the opinion that if nothing goes wrong during travel, then you weren’t paying close enough attention. So with that in mind, I just had to roll my eyes after paying United Airlines $200 to abuse my bike the same way they would any other piece of luggage. Then I rolled my eyes again when the bike didn’t show up in Hamburg yesterday morning. That’s twice in less than a week that my bike has been lost. Since bad things happen in threes, I’m not expecting to have a bike in London next week either.

Once I filed a claim for my bag I walked out of the baggage claim area to find that my shuttle driver had left without me, so I would be waiting an hour for the next shuttle with our team doctor and Laura Bennett. An hour went by, Dr Andy showed up, but not Laura. We waited another hour. No Laura. Turns out she’s coming in the next day – big eye roll.
Once I was at the hotel things shaped up. I found some Thai food after wandering around Hamburg for 30 minutes on foot. I was so hungry that I couldn’t decide what to eat. Once i was fed, I started falling asleep standing up. I wandered back to my hotel, via the grocery store where I met up with Jill and Jenna, then took a quick nap while I waited for the group to be ready for a trip to the pool.
The pool here is quite large. It’s an eight lane 50m pool with a 10m dive tower, a water slide, and a cafe on the side of the deck. It’s the type of place that the US needs more of (Seattle does at least). Of the eight lanes, however, there were only two being used for lap swim. One of those was a double wide lane with at least twenty people in it, while the other was a normal lap lane, but with two men who together were as big as twenty people. Jill, Dr Andy and I jumped in with Humpty and Dumpty and banged out a quick 3k. Jill was yelled at by one of the giants, after his 8ft long arm nearly took her head off during a pass. Dr Andy and I managed not to engage in arguments, but both of us had very close calls with at least one of the men’s flailing oversized limbs.
Hamburg is an old town with streets that don’t go straight. It makes navigation difficult for a foreigner, but when I was here in 2007 I spent enough time getting lost to have a pretty good idea of how to get around. Confident in my own memory, I asked the coaches to take my swim bag back to the hotel for me while I ran back. Scott asked if I’d like to look at a map first, but i declined, sure that my navigational memory from three years ago would be sufficient. Now, the better story here would be to say that I got completely lost and it took me hours to find my way back to the hotel – during which time I was lost in the Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s red light district), stopped for a refreshment, met the love of my life (for a price that I couldn’t refuse), learned German, and was finally able to ask for directions back to the Marriott. But since nobody witnessed any of that, I’m going to claim that my memory was flawless and I beat the cabby back to the hotel.
The best part of the day was after dinner when Robby arrived and was able to get me onto the table for some biped revitalization. Robby is the USAT massage therapist, and he’s absolutely the best. I trust nobody else to work on my legs the way he does before a race. He just knows us so well that he can feel how much pressure to give, where to give it, and he’s worked on each of us enough that he knows how to make us sharp on the day that counts. He’s not just our massage therapist, he’s also our Team Wizard. Plus, he seems to operate primarily on Nuun, claiming that adding a tablet of the stuff to his water bottle will keep him going all day long. We’re in Europe for 12 days, so I brought eight tubes for him. Thanks Robby!!

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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