Tuesday, August 23-Wednesday, August 24th
It's hard to capture in words the level of excitement and anticipation present at the OTC (Olympic Training Center) as Team USA prepared to head out for South Korea for the World Championships. Even though we had to head out at 4:30 am on Tuesday morning many were too wired to even go to sleep. You could almost feel the buzz. Laughter in the hallways, bouncing skate wheels, and the washing machines going non-stop on three different floors in the dorms! Funny enough, all the junior girls were ready way ahead of time but those junior boys seemed a bit lost.
Justin Stelly, being a native of Louisiana, contributed to the party spirit by spray painting a patriotic helmet and creating a red, white, and blue gator hat. Eben proudly displayed a blown up Sponge Bob on a stick which, sadly enough, didn't survive the plane ride. Our trip from Colorado Springs to San Francisco was uneventful and smooth. There we met up with Mario Valencia and Sara Sayasane for the flight to Korea.
I have no idea how many time zones we crossed. Somewhere along the way we lost a whole day. After our 13 plus hour plane ride, unfortunately we still had another 5 ½ hour bus ride. After leaving Tuesday am at 4:30 am, we finally checked into our hotel at 11pm on Wednesday night. (Jay Ingram, one of our team managers, said he figured out that we were on the road or in the air a total of 27 hours!)
It turns out we were the first people to stay in the newly renovated hotel --- Hotel Yeosu. The hotel manager told me that it had literally opened the day before. As is typical Asian, it has very simple, elegant lines --- cool marble tile floors, beautiful natural grain wood, and simple artistic features. The humorous part has been all the electronics. There are buttons for six different light zones, the climate system and fans. A universal remote was supposed to control all of this, but besides arrows there wasn't anything else recognizable on the unit!
Tomorrow, we see the track for the first time. Now, all we want to do is sleep. I have no idea what day or time it is at home. We are officially in another world.