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Australian professional triathlete Leon Griffin reports on his experiences from the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.
Glad to report the pillows at my hotel in Abu Dhabi copped a 10hr hiding last night and I no longer feel like a walking zombie after a big sleep.
Before day one was over though I had a very interesting swim in the late afternoon as my grumpiness grew to a dangerous level after being awake for near 40 hours. I always find it interesting to observe the local people’s behavior when travelling to a completely different culture, and yesterday was no exception.
The apartment block next door has a more inviting lap style pool (20m rectangular) than the hotels (15m pear shape one) so I thought I’d sneak in to that one. I had the pool to myself for about 10 minutes before upon flip turning in the shallow end I was joined by a cheeky little four-year-old kid who thought I appeared like a good object to jump on! I ignored the first four to five attempts until it was obvious I was his entertainment for the afternoon and he wasn’t going to stop…
After politely asking his pool-side mum if she’d mind taking him to the other side of the pool or at least stop jumping on me…I was slightly amused with her reply “Why, he likes doing it…this is everyone’s pool, not your’s, so he can do what he wants”! To cut a long story short, an argument ensued, security was called, and I thought it better to cut my losses and end the swim and keep myself from being thrown in the lockup!
It’s now Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting in my brand new Pearl Izumi bike bibs, busting to try them out but I’m procrastinating because the organizers are warning to try avoid riding on the roads or pretty much anywhere around here at all costs…encouraging athletes to bring your own trainer…like a bike and luggage isn’t enough to drag around already let along a 20lb extra as well! Airlines aren’t that accommodating. Will let you know how the ride goes tomorrow and hopefully I’ll still be in one piece!
Lots of athletes are starting to roll in now and the place is starting to get a bit of a buzz to it…I still haven’t made it down to race site at Emirates Palace yet but will do so for the first open water practice tomorrow. The prestigious Laureus Sports Awards annual function is being held on site at the Emirates so it would be great to bump into Roger Federer, Jensen Button or any of the other stars in contention down on the beach tomorrow morning…but I doubt they’ll be out of bed at 7 a.m. if they don’t have to be.
One last note, today was a significant change to the bike course…it will no longer pass the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque as I’m lead to believe it poses a security risk…mmmmm…not sure how dangerous a few skinny triathletes are at full flight on their bikes but maybe they’ve heard just how fast Bjorn Andersson rides!
Oh, and seems you can’t get away from the Yanks anywhere in the world…Starbucks in the Middle East, you betchya! I couldn’t resist as you can see by the picture. If I can’t get a nice euro style latte like I can at home in Oz, Starbucks is a reasonable backup.