Whether it be the ITU Championship Series in Madrid in 2010 or the Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Oxnard, the number one priority when you travel for a race is to inspect your bike. Freak damage can happen even when the bike is in the best hard-shell case. We checked into the hotel, built up the bikes, got in a tiny run and then headed to the pool mid day. The sport complex here is amazing. The building holds a 50 meter, 10 lane pool indoors. It’s perfect.
There are “dugouts” on the side of the pool so that coaches can walk down and peer through a window that’s been built in the side of the pool wall and watch the swimmers at profile, head on and going away. The pool here is in a University….we have those in the US, but while in the States a university might have facilities dedicated to football or basketball most colleges in Europe have facilities dedicated to sports on the Olympic program. There are athletes practicing judo and rhythmic gymnastics and the like.
The race takes place in a gigantic park that’s right in the heart of Madrid . The park is called Casa de Compo and it’s amazing…to begin with it’s probably three times the size of Central Park in New York . It’s got great topography with some solid hills. I hear there’s a zoo and a amusement park in the corners but I haven’t come across those yet – I have seen the gondola that crosses the park but have yet to eye its two ends.
There’s a good sized lake and prostitutes…..what? Yes, there is a gaggle of prostitutes that hang out on the side of the road. They dress in manner that leaves no doubts and they can often be seen leaning into cars that pull over to negotiate terms. I was shocked when I was here last time and now I’m kinda immune to it. The police don’t seem too concerned, I’ve been through their zone twice when police cars have been driving through and they just roll on by.
There’s quite a support staff for the team here and one of the stand outs is chiropractor, Camille Reagan. Beyond being a phenom doctor who knows and understands athletes bodies she’s also adventurous and resourceful. Camille found an amazing Indian restaurant just blocks from the hotel. We all piled in a private room with rugs on the walls and sat on deeply pillowed couches for an amazing meal. One thing that’s so true about endurance athletes is they can eat. We put away multiple courses and left deeply satisfied.