01 July 2009

Greetings from Transalp Camp

Transalp camp -- as close as Jerome and I are ever going to get to the Olympic Village.

Another sports center in another Austrian ski town - Solden. Men and women, no privacy, changing clothes, applying cream to one's sensitive parts, giving each other massages, sleeping on camp mattresses. A guy near us has electrodes attached to his leg muscles, hooked up to a portable machine. His legs are twitching unnaturally as he lies on his back, eyes closed.

Yesterday, there was a guy near us whose crew cut/mullet style hair was dyed reddish orange, with a plaster cast on his right wrist. When we went out to dinner, he had been standing around in nothing but his thong underpants for at least 15 minutes. I'm pretty sure I saw his orange hair at dinner, but I thought it was amusing that when we got back from an after dinner ice cream and wine stop at a cafe, he was ... standing back in the same place, again in nothing but the thong.

Tonight it is hot in the camp -- people are sleeping on top of their sleeping bags/sheets, wearing only underpants.

We went out for dinner - skipped the "pasta party." Back after lights out so no time for a full report on the ride. There was a beautiful view of an Alp up the valley from Solden (we head out this way in the morning, bearing left at some point and up the Timmelsjoch):

At least we were climbing better, on ridiculously steep sections of the Pillerhohe -- lots of 12, 13, 15 and even 18-19% grade. Many got off and walked. I did not ... though I did stop briefly for some photos. (Walking was probably the smart way to save energy for later in the day). The Positivo Espresso "orange bullet train" is becoming well known in Europe as well as Asia.

Climbing the Pillerhohe:

Best, David

PS. At the finish of the race in Arco, Italy 4 days later, the family of orange hair/broken wrist/thong guy showed up. ... and they looked like an incredibly normal group of people. The thong guy embraced someone who is likely his wife, and this little kid, who I am guessing is probably his son ... was training for his own future Transalp:

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