32 hours to go

Posted on August 5, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’m in Germany, my bike is built, the apartment has a room that looks like a cross between a bike workshop and a fetish shop and I am registered to race. It’s just about all over bar the race now.

We took the ferry across on Monday evening from Newcastle (really north shields) to Amsterdam (really a place that starts with an I and has a j and rather more vowels that can possibly be right in any word) and then hit the road. The ferry was pretty uneventful except for the entrance. We had queued for ages at the ferry port waiting to get on and Pam had taken the opportunity to top Rory up. Not long before departure time we were waved on board which Rory took as a signal to unleash the most foul liquid into his nappy. As we were being ushered off the car deck with all the belongings we would need for an overnight stay with a baby on a ferry (lets just say i was laden down and sweating at my workload) said aforementioned liquid starting bubbling above the nappy line. This was no ordinary change at no ordinary time but before we were consigned to the car deck overnight we got the wee fella cleaned and changed at record speed.

We had a great trip down Germany staying overnight at Sankt Goar on the Rhine Valley where we had a balcony overlooking the river and Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is a gorgeous walled town between Frankfurt and Nuremburg. Rory during this time has discovered that staying up late is fun and where we imagined wheeling him fast asleep out for dinner he giggles then whole way through it until he needs fed again. I have settled into the German diet far too comfortably and dining options for the two long haul drives have been Burger King for lunch twice and then dinner in St Goar was simply a plate of pig and chips and a large one at that.

We arrived in Regensburg yesterday lunchtime emerging out of a biblical storm to find peace, serenity and warm weather in our home for the next week. Although I say it myself I think I have excelled myself at finding a stupendous apartment. It could easily sleep 10, is split across 3 open plan levels, has a lovely balcony and comes very well equipped. The only slight oversight on my part (and I actually blame the letting agents) is that the lovely apartment turns out to be a penthouse flat in a block without a lift. Monday should price to be an interesting day for all concerned in moving my broken ass down the stairs to get some beer in. Unloading the car took many, many loads up and down the stairs and then I went to the supermarket to get provisions before the Farkies rolled into town. As supermarket visits go it was as uneventful as these things can ever be in a country where you don’t speak the language or recognise the brands. However, my sense of humour deteriorated as I got to the till. First of all, Kurt (I’m not sure if that was the correct name of the plooky little oik but the sentiment is very close) made me buy “bags for life” – a pet hate of mine but hey ho Kurt, i still win because I chucked them out and they won’t last for life! And then secondly he took pleasure in telling me that he didn’t accept credit cards after he had run through all the groceries, I had placed them in his bloody bags for the day and he had tried both my visa and mastercards. I almost missed the Farkies at the station because I was busy disembowelling Kurt with a blunt bratwurst.

The Farkies were duly picked up and then it became clear that my shopping list had omitted tea and we didn’t have a clue where to eat in the deutsche ‘burbs. Farky senior and I jumped in the car to scout the neighbourhood and eventually found a very, very long way to get to a biergarten that was actually very, very near but looked like it was jealously protected by the locals. The reward for finding this place, however, was a jolly good night. So we arrived with the handful of words that i have in my German vocabulary – pommes frites, bratwurst, bier, sauerkraut, danke and schoen and that was exactly what we got. Through some language confusion every man, woman and child received 6 bratwurst and a mountain of sauerkraut each which appeared to require the slaughter of a young animal and we shared a single plate of chips. Who knows what they thought of us and our bizarre dietary habits but we were made to feel very welcome.

I went to Ironman HQ shortly after arrival in Regensburg and registered. I now have a lovely Ironman bag and I have to wear a dayglo wristband everywhere – i’m not so sure about the colour but it says Athelet and I’ve never been called that before so won’t be gurning too much about it. I also had the obligatory wander round the expo and the ironman store and I have made some investments. I will undoubtedly be back – if only for more finishers t-shirts. One schoolboy error that I made was that everyone for these type of events registers in what I call campaign t-shirts ie those that boast if past conquests. When i packed i hadn’t included any and to add insult to injury in Rothenburg in the morning I had chucked on a Super Dry Athletic Dept t-shirt – I looked a true champion!

We hit the lake this afternoon and I managed to get a quick 1k wetsuit swim in while the Farkies took to the water without wetsuits for a dook. It was a nice swim in water where I could actually see in front of me but the real benefit was to see the transition area and the route of the swim. Following the swim we had to scoot to HQ for race briefing where there must have been over 1000 people in one very sweaty marquee. I met a few Pirates, wished them good luck and then we did the pasta party which was a sight to behold – 2500 big eaters queueing in a orderly germanic manner to destroy a lovely buffet like locusts.

Everything is pretty real now – there is not much left to do. Hydration, hydration, hydration. Good lunch and light dinner tomorrow. Ride the bike in the morning to dial in the position that I really want. Rack my bike in T1. Pack my transition bags. I am nervous about the swim start and I am uncomfortable about the whole concept of the marathon but for the rest I just have to trust the plan……


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