Friday, January 16, 2009

Notes from Whistler

Thursday Miha and I got breakfast at 6 o’clock then I drove the car with service equipment up to the race venue. We had a very full day of work. Starting with setting up the wax trailer, getting accreditation credentials, and sorting through all the skis. And that’s just the stuff that needed to be done before an apron was put on and wax irons warmed up. We had a full day of work to do up there.

I digress to clarify… Our lead serviceman this year is Miha (pronounced like Mika, but not exactly like Mika because the "k" isn't quite perfect but close enough for a non-Slovenian speaker). Miha is a very fit 30 year old skier-turned-serviceman. The coaches are Marko Gracer and Vladimir (also called Volodja, which I think is a nick-name for Vladimir ????). Vladimir is an older guy and very nice but speaks no english (understands it, I guarantee, but doesn’t speak it). He used to be the nat'l coach for biathlon 20+ years ago, and is now the coach (trainer, technique) for the 3 women who are here. So there are the 2 coaches, serviceman and me the final service guy. Everyone seems to get along better than “okay” – everyone gets along really well. ….End of clarifying digression.

The primary concern today (Thursday) was making sure we got the grip wax right for Friday’s classic sprints, and getting several pairs of skis ready for each athlete to pick the A + B pairs of race skis. The afternoon was spent on glide tests. A huge bulk of work was accomplished, and it was done with relatively little stress.

I'll briefly say that the race site is gorgeous. Very nicely done. You should see it. It's great.

We drove back to the hotel after the coaches’ meeting and the car seemed to be running on empty. We stopped at the Petro-Can about a half-mile from the hotel and gassed up the Subaru.
While the gas was pumping, Barbara and Vesna came jogging up (out for their late afternoon jog). The Subaru was quickly commandeered by a team of Slovenes who wanted to go to Starbucks, so I drove the crew in search of “grande no-whip mochas”, which seem to be a coveted bit of Americana (or canadiana, in this case). Everyone happy with that treat, we scooted the over-packed Subaru back to the hotel.

The rest of the day consisted of quick showers, dinner, and meetings. Here I am, now at nearly 10 p.m. Thursday night, just getting the first rest minutes of the day.

Friday morning will be another very early start. Sprint qualification starts at 9:30, which means we’ll be in the wax room very early again. Stay tuned.

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