Written by Ben WZ, Cam and Aaron.
Tuesday was our first speed workout on snow in four months which was something we were all looking forward to. Pav and Toivo, our amazing coaches, took this as an opportunity to video and analyze our technique under fatigue, something that certainly occurs during racing. We all learned a few thing we had to work on, then we hit the powder later in the day for a short afternoon workout. Included in this ski were a couple short group sprints to mix things up and keep everyone on their toes, literally!
Our next task of the day [after showering and dinner of course] was to research local attractions nearby and plan our Wednesday ‘culture excursion day’. After powerpoint presentations, group discussion, and a silent vote we decided on Erfurt. The town boasts a settlement that dates back to the prehistoric era. It also happens to have the tourist trinity; a cathedral, a synagogue and a citadel [get your camera out!]. That and the fact that it’s only 45min north of Oberhof meant it was a done deal.
Wednesday morning we woke up, grabbed a quick breakfast and did our own separate morning jogs for 30 minutes each. Ben ran over towards the ski tunnel, and decided to run down the path parallel to the luge/bobsled track. There he found athletes doing practice runs down the large concrete track on luge carts with wheels. They seemed to be about our age and were doing their morning training. Even though they spoke different languages, Ben felt a certain connection with them, as they were all out for the same purpose. I guess we’re not the only winter sport that has to resort to wheels for summer training.
Pav was feeling a bit slagged that morning but she made sure to double down on espresso’s before embarking on the voyage.
Ben DJ’d the drive with some incredibly good music [Justice, Floyd’s-Time etc]. We drove through tunnel after tunnel- our little black VW van whistling through the orange lit cylinder above and below hundreds of square feet of earth.
Our visit in Erfurt began with the cathedral. Founded in 726 it was rebuilt between 1349 and 1455. The cathedrals two best features were an 8m x 9 1/2 meter fresco of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, and a 15th century painting of a unicorn hunt riddled with colorful detail and gold foil.
After the cathedral we split into 3 groups and roamed around the town for a few hours. While we were walking around the city we saw lots of cafes and restaurants, and got some amazing pastries. Pav found a Chocolaterie where- after a feeble attempt at German she resorted to shouting ESPRESSO! ESPRESSO! CHOCOLATE!! The athletes ended up with a heavily cacaoed chocolate milk, which is perhaps not what they expected.
The scenery in the city was really astounding, mixing the old stone house and narrow streets with the modern European buildings built with large glass pains. The city was also filled with parks and had a beautiful shallow river running through it filled with fish and ducks.
In the afternoon we all piled into the vans again and head back to Oberhof for naptime. For dinner we went ‘out on the town’ [in Oberhof- which is a bit of an inside joke because the town has 2 restaurants]. The whole thing was a bit of a fiasco as none of the staff [2 old ladies] spoke English. Under these circumstances Pav suddenly became fluent in German and began translating the menu to the team. She then mediated between us and the disgruntled waitress. The end result was…dinner. Everyone got food. Success! We all learned a few things as well. Apparently pommes does NOT mean apple in German, it means french fries and Uber-backen does NOT mean uber-bacon, it means baked [big disappointment for a lot of us]. We pretty much all ended up with different variations of potatoes and pork [fried and baked].
In the end we all got in a good night’s sleep…
-Cam, Aaron, Ben [& Pav]
[Next blog post brought to you by Baisa!]