Tuesday morning started just like any other morning; we woke up, ate a lovely breakfast and then went off to training. You can read more about the afternoon training below.
But first things first! After breakfast we drove to a little village named Lavin, right by the middle final terrain (so very, very relevant), for a middle training. Everyone was taking it easy and getting in to the terrain, and I think we can all agree that the forest was absolutely wonderful. But hilly…
After training we all hung out for a while, had some lunch consisting of bread, cheese, yoghurt, the usual stuff. And it was really good. Then it was time to out our stuff in the car and head to the next training!
After an hour of driving from the first training on some winding roads uphill… or wait… the car trip was actually very interesting itself. We were driving up in the mountains and enjoying the magnificent Swiss nature, when the biggest crash of culture occurred. A train of 500 cars made from junk went driving by. Imagine everything between the Scooby Doo van and the car in “back to the future.” Then you add some misshaped cars with cows and rackets on top, and you should be somewhere close. And so, the best part… Every car had their own modified horn, which they of course used all the time (to make our time in the Swiss Alps even more unforgettable). Apparently there were some euro meet for cars like that somewhere close or something.
Anyway, let us get back to the training. The New Zealand junior team and the Swiss WUOC team were already there when we came. They were planning a relay training, which we were glad to join. First, there was an easy warm up course for everyone individually (with SI!). The terrain here was all open with no trees and the map was therefore all yellow. The contours were steep in many places and could be difficult to read in some areas. The training was on 2200 meters above sea level so it was a little harder to breathe, but good training for the long distance, which is going at the same level.
When everyone was warmed up and ready, the relay began. The teams consisted of two people, a guy and a girl. Both runners had to run two courses each. Therefore, half of the first leg runners in the mass start had course1 and the others course2. This, I think everyone understood. However, for some reason someone, without mentioning any names, had troubles figuring out the right way to run the course, which is always a little extra fun for the spectators having a great overview of the relay in the open landscape. Anyway, they still had a chance to make it right on the second loop.
The relay went very well for the US teams. We were actually second in total with Anton and Tyra, a minute behind the first Swiss team, and a few seconds ahead of New Zealand. After the relay, the US team and the New Zealand team practiced a social activity where we stood in a circle and had to tell everyone these three things about ourselves.
- Our name
- Our favorite ice cream
- Our favorite terrain
This was of course very nice and social, and so we did a couple of team photos together as well. The last thing that happened before heading home was the classic “flip the bottle” challenge where everyone was standing in a circle again and desperately trying to have the bottle stand after a flip in the air.
That was about it. Cheers, Martin.