Greetings from Canada!
We are in Corner Brook on the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
Imagine a place east of the sun and west of the moon.......well, mostly east of the sun. But certainly west of Greenland and two and half time zones away from Chicago.
I knew Canadians were a little different, but the two and a half time zones away is just downright oddball. To me, it sounds like something Indiana would do.
Back to Corner Brook. It is a beautiful island with majestic mountains spotted by the most beautiful green conifers. The water surrounding the city is clear and cool. I have never seen so many different types of clouds converging in the sky at the same time. And the past few days, the sun has been shining and the temperature has been a comfortable 70 degrees.
The trip out here was rather uneventful and rather French. Now there is something sexy about listening to people speak Spanish, or Italian, or Portuguese. But French? It just sounds like a lazy, slurred version of English or French or some muffled mixture in between. I wanted to offer the flight attendant some water and say cough out those cottonballs, will ya?
But that was Montreal. And this is Corner Brook which is mostly English, with an island-like accent that sounds like a combination of northern Minnesota and Boston.
Other than the language difference, the only other thing that makes me feel like I'm in a different country is the metric system which is really testing my quick computation skills. I keep thinking .62 to 1, .62 to 1 for every speed limit sign I see. I saw a limit of 100 which was thrilling. But then I realized that was 62 mph which didn't sound nearly as cool.
The prices out here are pretty high. Gas is $1.19 per liter. I don't know how many gallons that is. Milk is $3.41 per gallon - I'm not sure, maybe that is more than gas. Want some orange juice? $3.99. Chicken breasts - two - $7.73 - just ridiculous but I don't think they have island chickens.
It's no more expensive than Hawaii. But unlike Hawaii, I have a coffee-flavored bone to pick with Canada.
Ok, what is the deal here. Why do I get the feeling that this is a DRY decaffeinated island? The only place that serves some semblance of coffee is Tim Horton's. And, their size medium is only a 12 oz cup. PLUS, you have to pay for cream or sugar and THEY put it in for you. I can't even begin to tell you how many ways that is completely wrong but yesterday it was the best I could get. How could these people live in this place that probably gets like a thousand feet of snow per winter and NOT drink coffee?
And there is something freakishly large about the candy bars in the store. I have never seen Kit Kats that big. You could get eaten by a Kit Kat if you turned your back too long.
We previewed the course yesterday and though it is hilly, it is not the monstrous ugly hilly we were expecting. Which is always a good thing. The run has about 10 feet of flat surface on it. The rest are serious hills that descend or ascend for what seems like 1/2 mile. And on foot, that's kind of long. The bike course has one killer hill. Now this sounds all good and easy but the fact that we do the bike course 4 times and the run course 6 times makes me think that I will get to lap 2 of the bike and think 'when did that bear jump on my back?'
But wait, this is an island. And they don't have bears. Which bring me to my next entertaining point - the Moose Crossing signs. They've got moose up here and I'll be damned if I go home without seeing one. Apparently, they imported the moose because what is a Canadian island without a moose?
So, more accurately, I will be thinking 'when did that moose jump on my back?'
Other than previewing the course, we took a hike along the stream and found a great place to swim in the stream tomorrow after the race. We figure it will be like an ice bath, minus the ice.
I'm excited to race and ready to tear the hills up! Anything can happen on a course like this. I believe it will reward those that are willing to work hard enough. And I'm ready to work!