Monday, August 26, 2013

Opening Ceremonies and Pre-race Jitters

Joe and Tom are back from the team leaders' meeting, the team is briefed, and we're settling in for the  night with pre-race jitters. Tomorrow is the first of four official races in the World MTBO Championships!

After breakfast this morning, Tom and I set off in search of a laundromat and instead found a commercial laundry service. We were pretty proud of ourselves for navigating the neighborhood and the language barrier for the end result of returning at 3 pm to pick up bags of neatly folded socks and chamois.

The model event was a pleasant tour of Rakvere with only seven checkpoints, after which we went to lunch at the pub next to the hotel again then split up for an afternoon of errands: groceries for the week's lunches, trips to the bike shop, and picking up laundry.

At 4:45, we lined up in front of the event center for the parade to the town square for opening ceremonies. The Americans led off the march, preceded only by the band and the Estonian woman who carried our country sign. 

Local, national and international officials gave brief welcomes, then a local dance troupe entertained us before we took turns taking team photos with the bicyclist statue adorned in MTBO shirt and map holder.

The opening ceremonies gave us time to reflect on how lucky we are to be given the opportunity to compete here at Worlds.  Tom could be heard talking to the Aussies, saying that he felt like the trip thus far was near perfect, and is excited to get out and race.  We are all enjoying the experience.

Tomorrow is the sprint event in the nearby town of Tapa. We all have our numbers pinned and start times assigned. We'll load bikes at 9 am and have to be in the quarantine area by 11 so we can't see any of the course before our start. We'll go out in one-minute intervals. Here's to seven clean and fast runs!

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