After a really long travel session, we finally came into Erzurum. As soon as we touched down we could tell that things were different than normal. One of our techs was the victim of an extortion scheme which made him pay 115 euros for a tank of gas, and the hotel we are staying at was way up above the city at the base of an alpine mountain. We started training the next day, and since the venue is about a 40m drive from the hotel we get to see some of the landmarks and statues on the way there. Such as:
|Squatting downhill skier|
|Two-headed eagle at the gates of the University|
|Satellite dish-ridden alleys|
An Antarctica-grade storm moved in just about as soon as we got here and it raged for the next few days, closing the road and making it hard to train and go outside. It was awesome to watch Dmits kill it and ski to third yesterday, big shout out to him, and also to see Kikkan slay the world cup on Eurosport.
We had doping control randomly yesterday, we had planned to go into the city, which is very cool and has a lot of historical things, but you can't say no to WADA.
|I think they left out a word, but maybe this is the Russian HQ.|
Today the weather cleared up beautifully and the gale force winds were replaced by bluebird pow and shining sun. Training was awesome, too bad I have a race tomorrow or else I would have been there for days. The venue is odd, there is one hill that seems to be manmade with about 6 different ways to go up to the top of it, and that is all. It is also fenced in by barbed wire, for some reason, which adds to the oddness. Getting to train with all the guys decked out in their various national team gear is rad though. Another sign we're not at home is the prayer calls from the nearby mosque that come at noon, weird to hear during an interval session.
|The venue is pretty sick.|
After training I got to work my Norwegian skills on the van ride back, which was fun, and also me, Boobar, and Logan Hanneman rode up the tram to the top of the alpine area. We were standing in line then a guy with a Turkish Ski Federation jacket took us by the arm and ushered us past the line and into the gondola for free; we have all decided the USST jacket is kind of a golden ticket in some places.
|Boobs and Bog Logs checking out the skiers|
|Boobar pointing the way|
|Major traffic jam at the bottom.|
|Women with head scarves waiting for something|
|The view from the top, Erzurum has 368k people|
|The ski jumps, lit up at night. Hopefully we get to see our guys jump this week.|
|Beautiful at the top|
|Some abandoned station|