Trip report from Spain!
First, I’m totally stoked to have made it here. It’s a real honor to be able to represent the USA in the Senior World Waterski championships.
It has been a difficult path to get here. Competing as a senior is quite different from my younger days. Managing the body’s decay and optimizing what is left is a challenge – both physically and mentally. I had a few good tournaments to get here, now we’ll see what happens.
The trip really started a couple days ago. Flights out of LA to Madrid were so much cheaper that we rented a car and drove from San Diego to LA via Bakersfield. Actually, I needed a practice ride behind the same boat as Worlds to test out my recovering hamstring. Good dinner with my son on the way there, good ski ride (I’ll be able to do an easy run) and a nice swim to loosen up for the flight. An hour delay for catering (they shouldn’t have waited – bad airline food) and we were off.
Madrid airport is pretty cool, they have enough customs people to make the entry experience easy. Tried to rent a Fiat Panda but got a VW instead. Bare bones, manual transmission and no GPS (we had Lisa’s phone set up for Europe so no problem). Followed directions perfectly through a very confusing drive to the airport hotel and had a nice night there.
Practice was early at the site so we dragged our jetlagged bodies into the car early. The embassy (McDonalds) next door wasn’t open yet and it was pitch black. We headed on the 40 minute drive to Seseena following our detailed directions. The GPS on Lisa’s phone wouldn’t work (we should have been aware, it didn’t work in LA the day before either, hmmm)
Somewhere I missed a turn. The road signs are quite different and we thought we were going right – until the sun started to rise and we realized that something was wrong. The rental car map was worthless. We pulled into a town and asked a guy for directions. Very confusing, especially when we went the wrong way. No turn around for several kilometers and the traffic circles made us feel like the Griswalds. After going nearly to Portugal, we got to the site 3 hours late.
Howling wind, a bit chilly, people stressing over practice and a travel weary leg – I’m better of without practice. Mediocre lunch at the hotel with a bunch of waterskiers and we had arrived!
To fill the afternoon, we went touristing to the Spanish Royal’s summer palace in Aranjuez. It started pouring rain so we missed the garden tour (sorry no pictures as cameras weren’t allowed inside). Beautiful castle meticulously maintained.
The rain stopped for us to get a nice swim and party in the room with some of the skiers. Nice afternoon.
Woke up jetlagged. Tossed and turned with the fight or flight adrenaline going whenever I thought about the morning’s prelims. This competing is tough. Maybe if I type a trip report I might be able to get a couple hours of sleep…