Monday, September 20, 2010

Gore-Tex TransAlpine Trail Race: Pre-race days

Sept 1: Long Ass Plane Ride......arrive Sept 2 into Munich, Germany.

What the heck?! Where did 8 hours of my life go?? Adjusting to the time change was torture. I had literally felt like I lost an entire day and didn't know how to cope. Do I sleep now or eat, and what meal would I be eating?

My teammate, Stephanie, and I navigated our way from the plane to a train to get into the main hub of Munich and to our hotel. We were given a map for the city and our tickets. 25 minutes later we arrived into the central park of Munich and emerged from the depths of the train station/subway. We were confronted with a plethora of signs with long funky names which intersected and snaked along with above ground trams and buses. Most roads were one-ways and changed names when they intersected. It was quite confusing.
In a moment of temporary culture shock mixed with a severe language barrier and fatigue, we did what all good Americans do when faced with stress. We headed to the nearest coffee shop. In this case it was Coffee Fellows Cafe. There, over a steaming mug of latte we were able to get directions to our hotel and a few good tips about the city.

About an hour later we had checked into our hotel and headed out for a bit of sightseeing before lunch.

There were many very foreign sights we encountered along our path. The first thing we noted was the enormous quantity of people here who smoke. Cigarette butts scattered the sidewalk and smoke just billowed from crowds. It was nauseating.

Other oddities: skinny jeans, leg warmers, tights, Nike and Adidas sneakers, heeled half boots, scarves scarves and more scarves, long thin t-shirts, dogs inside restaurants and stores, and finally women riding bikes in high heels. There was one woman in cherry red stilettos pedaling down the street- it was impressive!

There was this guy who stood really still then chirped at us as we went by:

We came across a few billboards plastered with the TransAlpine race ad and felt a bit like superstars. So of course we had to pose....
After shopping around, we headed to the main square for some food. Cool buildings.

For lunch, Steph ordered "meatloaf" and this is what was presented to her:

This gave us a good chuckle for the rest of the week reminiscing about her "spam" meal. It was definitely a loaf of meat and tasted not unlike balogna. 

After dinner we promptly headed back to our hotel and passed out for several hours. Around 2230 we woke with one thing on our mind: what's for dinner? We slipped into a small Italian restaurant named Ca Dora right around the corner from our hotel and noshed on some fabulous minestrone soup and house salad. The balsamic vinegar for the dressing was divine, almost chocolate-y. For dessert we shared chocolate and vanilla gelato as the night rang in September 3rd and my birthday!!! 

The next morning we headed to the main train station to catch a ride to Ruhpolding, Germany where the race would start. 

We tucked into a bed and breakfast then headed to the school for a pre-race pasta party celebration. The meal was basic pasta with meat sauce, salad, and a bread pudding for dessert. No drinks were provided and we forgot our water bottles. After realizing that we had no idea what the crew members were telling us (main speeches were in German and then translated to English, however you had to wait until the end of one 15-20 minute presentation just to hear it again in English. It was hard to stand and listen that long) we decided to call it an early night. Stephanie and I stuck around to watch the entertainment of a few boys dancing in uniform then headed back to our beds for a good nights sleep.