The importance of networking with athletes around the globe is extremely important for us as N.Americans on multiple levels. We train largely by ourselves and would otherwise be working in a vacuum, getting in contact with other high end athletes helps us learn new things and expand our knowledge of training and competing.
Meeting up with Gord proved to be a little more difficult than I expected. He was staying in a different motel, close to Park's gym which was supposed to be about a 15 min walk. The directions contained no street names, just references to buildings and businesses along the way. With no internet connection while away from my hotel I was on my own until I got to Gord's place. Over and hour later and circling the main city block 1.5 times I finally found where I was supposed to be. Fortunately we weren't on a tight schedule. Traveling in a foreign country where I'm illiterate is slowly teaching me to be a patient traveler.
We did a four hour session with several others form the Korean team. It was rather humbling watching Park climb. He is quite a bit shorter than me, but had no problem doing the big moves that I had to try really hard to make. We mostly worked on endurance training, but I also got to do some technique training in relation to practicing moves I sometimes struggle with. Having others there to critique and coach me was a big help.
Day 3 was a rest day. It was also the day were supposed to check in with the Korean Alpine Federation. Last year the meeting place was the Seoul Youth Hostle, which is very near the city centre. This year it was hotel just outside of the airport. This was convenient for athletes who showed up just before the comp., but so good for those of us who arrived ahead of time to adjust to the time change. Getting back to the airport was pretty straight forward but time consuming. I also found out that my hotel was between bus stops so it didn't matter what stop I would have taken on the way in.
|Airport skating rink.|
Back at the airport the KAF had people waiting to meet the athletes and direct them where to go to get to the hotel. Because the hotel is near the airport there is a serous lack of anything to do. The Incheon airport is supposed to be one of the best in the world with all sorts of things to see and do, unfortunately most of that is on the other side of security. After wandering around the airport I took the train to the first town outside of the airport. Its still on the same island as the airport, but there were more restaurants and stuff to look at making a good way to spend a couple hours.
|Cook your own, Korean BBQ|
Finding somewhere to eat dinner was my main interest. I like to try to go to traditional type restaurants rather than western style that have been copied or imported. The first place I went into was maybe a little too traditional. They had photos of the meals they made and the lady pointed a two that didn't look all that appealing and crossed her fingers in an X at the others. Then she pointed at the kitchen and the woman back there threw a little squirming minnow or eel on a plate and they both pointed at it and the menu board. Shortly after they both decided I probably shouldn't eat there and sent me on my way. Fortunately there was Korean BBQ place just around the corner that was pretty good.
Today we rode 5 hours on a bus to Cheongsong where we check into the hotel, do our registration, and then go to the opening ceremony and athletes meeting. Tomorrow morning we will start the competitions. I plan on doing both lead/difficulty and speed climbing. The comp will be live streamed thru the UIAA website.
I am bib/jersey #1. The starting order will be randomized but has not been posted yet.