Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beijing Day 3

Cold Tub Shots, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Our third day in Beijing was another beautiful day, with the sun shining on clear blue skies. I am told that the pollution index the last two days was near the lowest in a few years. The rain that passed through a couple of days ago has cooled the temperatures off from what most were expecting. We prepared a number of cooling methods to deal with the heat post training but haven't needed to use many of them yet. We're prepared if we need them but so far have been fine. We had this great bug ice tub provided by the COC sitting the lobby of the villa so we decided to pump it up and put it to use anyway. After the battery unit supplied with the tub failed, Gabor, Tom and Rob took turns pumping it up with a bike pump. That took a while... Meanwhile to fill the tub with ice the hotel was charging us ~$8 per grocery sized bag... lets just say it took more than 10 bags to bring the temp to the right spec...

Training wise yesterday was similar to the previous day. Most of the team did a run in the early am, had breakfast then went off to the course for the cycle, followed by another swim on the course. All the athletes were at this session as it was the last official swim training session before the venue is closed on Sunday for rehearsals. It was interesting to see all the athletes in various states: some looking nervous, some tired, some joking around, others very serious. A couple of the favorites looking like they may be having issues... we'll see soon enough!

At the end of the swim training triathlon Legend Greg Welch was on site working for Oakley, giving his sponsored athletes fresh specs for the race. Country colored frames like Aussie green and yellow, and of course red and white for Canada. Greg was kind enough to give the coach a pair too, thanks Greg!

The next activity was the race briefing. The briefing content is all pretty much the same as you get at any ITU World cup, plus after the managers meeting I gave our troops the need to know info. There was definitely some energy among the athletes as the briefing means that the race is really almost here. Also at the briefing the pontoon draw was held. The ITU has done away with this at world cups now as it takes too long, but for the Olympics for TV purposes they still use it. This time the top ten athletes drew blind, followed by the rest of the field drawing publicly, and revealing the top ten once all the selections are made. The mens side lined up mostly left to right and the women right to left, interestingly. The pontoon selection can make a difference depending who an athlete starts beside (faster or slower for instance) and where they are relative to the fastest swimmers in the field. But mostly its a lot of drama compared to its actual importance.

At the briefing the ITU announced the replacement of a few athletes, with Nadia Cortassa out and replaced by another Italian woman, as well as Hendrick Devilliers and Dmitry Gaag also out, but replaced by a Hungarian and Ukrainian. No official reasons were given for the mens replacements.

Also at the briefing Les McDonald announced that the ITU has secured a new multi-million dollar sponsor to replace the BG group which pulled out of triathlon earlier this year. Its supposed to be revealed on Tuesday after the mens race... stay tuned...

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