And so to Venice…. or rather our accommodation in Lido di Jesolo, where we arrived yesterday afternoon. Think four streets parallel to a long, long beach, wall-to-wall hotels, souvenir shops and amusement arcades, and you can imagine that it’s not really the kind of place that you would expect elite athletes to be hanging out in! The beach itself is covered by row after row of sunshades and loungers. Nonetheless this is our home for 3 nights, as dictated by the WOC organizers, for the first individual event, the sprint.
This morning (Friday) we had the sprint model in Venice itself and tested out the organizers transport arrangements – a ferry from the end of the Lido across the lagoon to the city. The biggest problem was the traffic getting the 15k from the hotel to the ferry – convinced we were going to be late there was great relief when the Swiss minivan turned on to the road ahead of us – there was no way they would leave without the Swiss!
The model event itself was a collection of controls in 1m wide alleys, on the sides of canals, on drinking fountains, steps, and on random trees that seem to have survived in Venice, all amid a maze of streets, alleys and canals. Woe betide anyone, however, who gets caught behind a tour group – there goes your sprint race right away! Fortunately the sprint itself, both qualifying (on the island of Burano) and the final, are not in the heavily touristic areas of the city, so hopefully this will not really be a problem.
Although the start draw is not yet available, Imogene and Tim will be in the early start block, Greta and Matt (who we picked up yesterday in Treviso) in the middle, and Lizzie and Ross in the late one. It will be an early start for us all with pre-quarantine at the ferry terminal closing at 8am and ferries to Burano laid on at 7.30 and 8. After the qualifying those who have qualified for the final will be ferried straight to the final quarantine which looks to be in a Military Academy at the eastern end of Venice itself. Food is an issue, we are currently trying (along with the Austrians and Spanish who are in the same hotel) to negotiate an early breakfast, but we will also need to take all our supplies for the whole day. For those at home live tracking for the sprint final is about 1/7 of the price of the other races, which probably means that it won’t be very good in the narrow alleys of Venice! Happy watching.