Thursday, August 21, 2008

Whew, I m here!

It’s Thursday and I have just been told that our race will be pushed back a day due to deteriorated course conditions. Whoever heard of a mtn bike race being postponed because it got muddy! Honestly though I feel good about it. We now get to race Saturday at 10 am. So the typical morning race, not afternoon. The men will go after us at 3.

I’m feeling good. Got onto the sleep schedule easily. Legs get another day to recover from travel, get another day to know the substantial course changes since last year and it’ll be a better calibre race without the mud.

So what are the Olympics like? Pretty rad. Keith and I took the 12 hour flight over on Monday and then I went off to the village as he met up with my parents and cousin Adrian at the airport. Our bus went through security screening to enter the village and then I went through security to get past bus drop off. A COC staffer was there to take me to Canada’s digs and point out the cafeteria, the international zone and some other stuff.

I had shipped a bike a couple weeks ago so got to go out for a 30 min spin before it was dark. I almost mowed down a couple people weaving through the village. After that it was supper, a massage and bed. I didn’t even unpack or check out any of my new gear. Oh and I saw Shawn Johnson the 16 year gymnast at dinner and she’s even smaller in person! Crazt to see the athlete’s live. I have to remember I don’t actually know them I’ve just been watching them on tv!

Woke up at 5am and then headed for breakfast at 6:30. The village was already alive with people out training and heading for breakfast. Some of the athletes that were done their events were just on their way to bed.

The cafeteria is open 24hrs/day. We can always get cereal, salad, Asian, Halal, Mediterranean and international cuisine. Oh yeah and Mcdonalds! It’s actually pretty popular…particularly when people have finished.

All the female cyclists are sharing an apartment. We each got our own room to help us sleep with the jetlag and focus for the upcoming race. My coach Dan is here in the village which has been fantastic and my Luna manager is set up for massage in walking distance from the venue. There’s a trek bike store that Oakley has set up as their cycling home. So I get to go there and grab unlimited drinks and food from their stash, get a massage and lounge about in a comfy air conditioned loft.

The village is definitely amazing. In Canada’s building we have an athlete’s lounge where we can get on the internet, make snacks, watch movies or Olympic coverage and just hang out. Across the hall we have a wellness centre where there are tons of yoga mats, a quiet reading room and a power nap room! The medical centre is staffed with chiros, physios, massage therapists and tubs for contrast bathing.

The village is huge and beautifully done. There are little gardens between the apartments with water moats, sculptures and lots of plants. In the international zone we can get our hair and nails done and go shopping, the cafeteria is big enough to feed thousands of athletes without any line ups. There’s a fitness centre for training and relaxing by the pool. There’s pretty much everything.

The atmosphere is great. Good, calm energy, the Chinese volunteers are very helpful and the air quality is supposed to be excellent with the rain. Although it looks really hazy it hasn’t affected me at all on the bike.

Bell has been an amazing sponsor. They supplied each athlete and staffer with a smartphone with unlimited text and email while in china, as well as 300 minutes of international calling. And we get to keep the phone! It’s been great for touching base with my family here. Unfortunately I actually feel cut off from what’s been happening in the non cycling parts of the Olympics. CBC online which was amazing for live coverage is unavailable here.

I actually feel totally calm here, like I belong and know what I’m doing. I don’t feel overwhelmed by it and the calibre of athletes here. We’re all good at what we do and this is our chance to show it. I’m looking forward to the race. Hopefully it’ll go smoothly for Marie, my Luna team mate Georgia and myself.

So Saturday 10 am in China…so 7pm Friday for BC folk and 11pm in NB. Oh and I have the number 4 plate. Last Olympic Champ Gunn Rita has the #1 plate, my team mate Marie #2, Germany’s Sabine Spitz #3.

24 comments:

Matt Belanger said...

Best of Luck Kika!
We have all been cheering for you in the past few years and will be doing the same this weekend.
We are proud of you!

Jean-Luc Bélanger said...

We are proud of what you accomplished, Good luck to you and all your teammates in Begin. Jean-Luc, Julie and Mathieu Bélanger from New Brunswick

Anonymous said...

Love every minute of it! What a wonderful experience. Best of luck,
Fans from Fredericton

Andrea/David Suzuki's Play It Cool said...

I had my alarm set to watch the race tonight so thanks for the update. My heart was racing watching Simon in the triathlon - watching cycling events gets me caught up in the moment like no other sports and I can't wait to watch your race!

The village sounds idyllic. Enjoy it and have a fantastic race!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear you arrived OK, are in good calming surroundings, and are ready for the race. The new timing of the race is even better for us in the Pacific timezone too!

Best of luck!

John in North Van.

Anonymous said...

Hey Catharine,
Tom, Dan, Jenny and I are so proud of you already, so enjoy the whole experience and best wishes for a great result!
Paulie

Anonymous said...

Best of luck from your fans in Revelstoke, I always thought that mud was part of mtn bikin

Anonymous said...

Been following your season and can't wait for tomorrow's race...Best of luck! You've got a whole country cheering you on!

Jeff Colvin from Revelstoke

Remi Parent said...

Good luck Catherine, best of luck to you! I'm really happy that you got this far, go get em!
From Remi Parent in Nigadoo New-Brunswick!

Anonymous said...

Hi Catharine

All the best from you fans in freddy beach you rock!!

We know you can do it.

The McKeown Clan

Kerry Van Kooy said...

Hey Catharine!

Your name is the buzz at the Bike Barn! We can't wait to see you go and we know you love the mud! Rip it up...we're so proud of you,

Love, Kerry, Aart and your Penticton buddies

Chris said...

Right on! Good luck! Chinese McDonalds post race meal!

Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine, good luck... you can do it!

A little heads up for next year, our race the Intermontane Challenge is offering equal prize $ for women.....a whopping $10,000 for the overall win in the solo category! We would love to have you there!

Pin it!

Kelly Servinski
Marketing
Intermontane Challenge

Monilee said...

Thanks for the update, Kika! We are all cheering for you. Have a great race and know that you deserve to be there!

Anonymous said...

Bravo Catharine! All of NB is proud of your performance!
Andre from Fredericton!

Jean-Luc Bélanger said...

Hey KiKa, I watch your race, YOU DID A FANTASTIC race. WHOA!!! you are our New.Brunswick Champs. You have the same even more determination that I saw in your young tme during the 2001 Canada Games. Be Proud of yourself. GREAT JOB. All my family is with you. Jean-Luc Bélanger

Matthias said...

Hi Catharine,

I just saw your interview on Radio-Canada in French and I must say it was probably the best example of National spirit I've ever seen.

The interviewer at the end thanked you for speaking french and at the same time your smile throughout the interview kept everyone here in Quebec smiling as well.

Keep up the great work and team spirit!

Cheers,
Matt
Montreal, Canada

Steve said...

we couldn't be more proud of your performance, Catharine! Excellent season, terrific results, hold your head high!!!

Brock Endean said...

Congratulations Catharine! My whole family and I watched in great anticipation as you competed yesterday. You are a great inspiration, keep up the good work.

-The Endean family from Chase.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your great race...you had us on the edge of the couch waiting for you to turn the corner to the finish line! You are amazing and should be so proud of what you have accomplished this year(and more to come with the World's around the corner). Enjoy the rest of your experience in Beijing!
Greg, Yvonne and Alex

Monilee said...

Great race Kika!!! Time to celebrate now ... enjoy the rest of your time in Beijing!

Gabriel said...

Hey Catharine / Keith

An experience (even one four years long - give or take) of actualization looks effortless when the right person, with the right outlook, the right attitude, and right support, walks through this world. They are what they are before the spotlight. They are what they are after the spotlight. And when the spotlight is on them, the rest of us get to see something beautiful happen

smile girl smile

Gabriel,
Kamloops

Anonymous said...

WOW Kika!

You are there, You have race at the Olympic! Can you belive it? 7 years ago I was sharing my room with a futur Olympien. Do you remember you race at Canada Games in 2001... I will never forget it, it had start with your periode, hahaha You were so happy! you told me that because of it you will race fast... and then, you lost your seatle in the last lap and you finish 5th. WOW, now you have a won a word cup and you have finish 4th at your FIRST Olympic race!



Congratulation Kika! I am so proud of you. I had butterfly in my stomic during your race, just like it was me racing. Enjoy your stay in China Kika and do not forget... you are from NB.

PS.: You rock!

Julie Bélanger, xxx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations from the Sturgeons. We watched the hole race and were cheering for you. Say hi to Geoff

David, Susan & Matt