Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Geel, Beer, Belgium, Athletes, Water.

Tops of tuesday to you. I got in last night near midnight as there is a bloody baggage handlers' strike in Brussels airport so it was chaos. Lucky to have flown at all, most of the other flights out were cancelled.
Excellent trip, I left in the middle of a storm, water everywhere. I flew, caught some trains and thought I was staying in Geel but turns out that I was actually staying in Hententals or Hottentots as I have rechristened it.
'Hello blonde lady' I said, waving a tattered piece of paper at a woman on a bike. 'Can you tell me where this hotel is?'
'Ja' said she, looking impossibly cool and not flustered, 'it is two towns over. In der market square.'
But if course it is, I thought.

Finally got there, dumped bag, had shower and took myself of down stairs with Gore Vidal's memoir. I then joyously took up residence at a table OUTSIDE in the SUN and ordered the first of some fine FINE BElgium beer. Nom nom.

Met Finn, grabbed a bite to eat and we discussed her game plan.
'I plan to run very fast.' She said.
Excellent plan. We then ceased talking about racing and talked of important things like poo jokes and how no matter where you go there are always Meercats.

Next morning up at 5, off to Geel with Team USA.
The day was overcast and drizzly, teams from all over looked skywards and then at the tiny skinny easily slidable wheels of their road bikes.
Tough race, 18k run, followed by a 78k bike, followed by a 9k run. It was quite a nerve tingling race. I watched it with a Doctor from Maine, a German/Kuwait lady who lives in Alaska and a 16 year old kid whose mother was running in the race in the age group above Finn.
Finn started off well, looking strong and comfortable, and then proceeded to nail that race's ass to the flag pole. She gained time the entire race and after the second or third loop on the bikes, she looked to be pulling away. On the last 9k she swept into the town square with a German runner 55 five seconds on her tail.
'RUN YANK RUN!" I bellowed, helpfully.
Clearly that worked, because when she came back around for her final sweep the German was almost three minutes behind and Finn milled up the ramp with a big grin and the promptly won her age group.
There was much cheering.
What a bloody run she put in. And this is coming off the back of some seriously tricky months of injury when her foot had a cracked bone, her quads were hissing at her and she had to wear 'Das Boot' just to walk sometimes.
There was other stuff, mostly related to beer and spanish talking and climbing over reception desks to steal hotel phones to make free calls to sleeping paramours. There were more poo jokes and some wandering about and then some passing out, and a car journey that aged me twenty-five years.
But it's not about that, it was about watching someone accept a challenge and then pull out a performance that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. 4 hours of grit determination, pluck and brilliance.
Finn is now a champion, she has a medal to prove it. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Congratulation Miss Finn!



Blogger Twenty Major said...

Hurrah for Finn. Belgian beer is powerful stuff.

Glad to see you avoided all the paedophiles too.

9:49 a.m.  
Blogger jothemama said...

Heh, do you think that's how all the fast running comes about? Early training?

Like whoever it was on your blog Twenty, who ran through the nettle patch to escape?

10:15 a.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Huzzah, that all sounds FAB!! Congrats to Finn!! :-)

After a while living in Brussels I drank the beer like water. I think that's where my route to alcoholism started.

11:18 a.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

bravo to Finn........"I plan to run very fast"......life is just so simple sometimes......

12:15 p.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

Yay Finn! Well done! No doubt about it, you're a champ, gal! Enjoy your achievement!!

Glad you had a good trip, fmc.

12:34 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Yay for Finn.
Free phone calls to the Paramour are the best.

2:07 p.m.  
Blogger PI said...

Haven't read your last post yet but wanted to tell you this before I forget re your post on cannabis: I have just been listening to Caspar Walsh about his book 'Criminal' where his father introduced him to cocaine or was it heroin or both. Obviously both of them took drugs galore but interestingly he said the one that really messed him up was cannabis. The whole interview made me think this would be a book one should read if I EVER finish 'Midnight's Children'!

3:20 p.m.  
Blogger PI said...

The girl done well! Congrats! I'll bet there were tears in your eyes.
Are you enjoying Vidal? He can be such a bitch.

3:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

He's a waspy gossipy little twerp, fortunately I like waspy gossipy little twerps.
Hello there to everyone else, busy busy all day, will swing by many blogs later. After I stop swearing and being made work for a living, how very dare they!

3:56 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Sounds like a grand old time, FMC. Poo jokes really do make the world a bit brighter, don't they?

Congratulations FINN!!!

4:07 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

yay for finn! a motivating story for what feels like a monday - and the fact that you could finish with a smile on your face! wheeeee!

the 'run yank run' just about made me spit out my coffee from laughing....

4:34 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

Rock on Finn!!

4:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Sniffle&Cry said...

Women tell poo jokes?

Say it aint so...

5:46 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Ah we do, we really do.

10:24 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

They even do real poo too.

11:05 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Ah, so shocking, eh..?
Life is brutal.
Poo, poo'd, and poo'd some more.
Women's poo chat right there.
Oh, and.

1:09 a.m.  
Anonymous AM in Belgium said...

Which lovely Belgian beers did you taste?

Did the strength of them surprise you a little (I know they did me when I first came here... feeling decididly wobbly and thinking to myself - I've only had 3 beers - I can't be drunk).

7:56 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

AM, I had, Duvel, Chimay ( nom nom) Hoorgarden (sp) and Leffe- but the blond not the dark.
The Chimay is my favourite. They are strong all right, I woke up on the morning I was leaving clutching my hotel key in my hand going 'WTF?" ouch. I knocked up to Finn's room after breakfast and she was just as bad. But it IS delicious.

8:45 a.m.  
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