Simi Hamilton

The view of the Dachstein escarpment this morning from our breakfast table.

Headed East

Topic: General News

Sitting here in Munich, at the Mövenpick Hotel, which is a bit of a home-away-from home. We were reminiscing today in the car about the last time we were here and we all had a good laugh when we recalled the ridiculousness of the events leading up to our 24 hour layover here last March. It was the night of the Olympic closing ceremonies in Russia and we were scheduled to take a bus from the athlete village in Sochi to the airport at 12:30 a.m. Our charter flight to Munich left the Sochi airport at 4:30 a.m., but we assured that we wanted to be there at least 2.5 hours ahead of our departure to ensure that we could get all of our baggage, skis, and waxing equipment on our charter with us (our next World Cup in Lahti, Finland was only a few days after the games ended). We got to the airport, proceeded thru check in baggage drop in about 7 minutes, and found ourselves in what seemed like a giant catering tent sent up on the concrete of the Sochi airport tarmac. It had to have been the coldest night in Sochi all winter, and there were a few space heaters scattered throughout the tent. Exhausted, worn out, and shivering, we tried to find floor space on the frigid concrete (all of the temporary chairs were taken by the 200 or so international athletes that had gotten thru security just a few minutes before us. We covered ourselves in our ridiculous closing ceremony threads and tried to find our ‘happy place’. Our charter finally left Sochi at about 5 a.m. that morning, and with a relatively quick trip from the Black Sea to the German interior, we found ourselves circling for an hour around the airport waiting for it to open for the morning (the time change from Sochi to Munich is 3 hours, and the flight was about 2:45 but we couldn’t land until 6 a.m. or so). After finally touching down and shuffling inside to the baggage carousel, we waited like a hoard of zombies for our massive pile of luggage to make it’s way out to the carousel. We checked into the Mövenpick by about 8 that morning and I don’t think I’ve slept so well in any European bed over the many years that I’ve spent over here.

So anyway, as time rushes past and World Cup periods turn into seasons which turn into Olympic cycles, it’s fun to think back on stories like that… the ones that I’ll probably remember far longer than any race or training camp.

We head to Otepaa, Estonia tomorrow morning after just finishing up a little Tour de Ski ‘recovery camp’ in Ramsau, Austria. Our time in Tyrol was great, as it always is, even though we got about 24 hours of rain and 50 degree temps. The skiing was excellent when we arrived last Thursday, and it was near-perfect this morning, it was just those couple days sandwiched in between that left us wanting more. Perfect for some R&R I guess.

We’ll race an individual classic sprint this weekend as well as a skate team sprint before making the trip to Rybinsk, Russia next Wednesday. Russia will be the last World Cup weekend before a long break leading up to World Champs. I love heading into Eastern Europe as it’s always an adventure… The ability to appreciate all of its nuances is solely determined by how much you can embrace things that are totally and absolutely foreign to you.

More to come from the east soon…


The view of the Dachstein escarpment this morning from our breakfast table.

Not a terrible place to spend five days


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