Greece: Votsalakia (Samos) Runaround

Me and The Girl went on holiday to the Greek island Samos. We stayed at a nice apartment with a beautiful ocean view.
Although the holiday was mainly about relaxing, there are still some workouts to be done.

Our place was on a small hill between Votsalakia and MarathoKampos. The goal was a 45 minute run at higher pace. So I opted for a simple one way and back route. Especially since Votsalakia consists of a big main road, as you can see on the map below.

 

The first part is easy, a nice downhill with some hairpin turns. Within the first few 100 meters you would drop around 50 meters. A tough section to top off the training for today when I get back.

 

Not long after you encounter the first structure of the village. This building is not yet completed, but it has a small memorial sign in front of it. In Greece mostly used to indicate fatal accidents on roads. Not sure if the two are related in this case.

On the left side there is a small bay with a beach. A small gravely path leads up to it. A few days later they organized it and put up some beach chairs and parasols.

 

Next up along the road are some fields where locals are growing some fruits and vegetables. Some small houses and supermarkets.
Each house looking better then the other.

 

We are in the low season, and because of the economic difficulties of the country, tourism dropped for this island. Because of this you could see sites like this:

Restaurants or bars not opened yet, or still preparing for the later high season. Others are making the best of it and are open, in expectation of the various tourists (like us) that did show up.

Now we left the major part of the town behind us. Next up is an intersection, which eventually leads up higher in the mountains to the caves where the Pythagoras lived. A famous philosopher and mathematician. Not long after it was time for me to turn around and head back.

Ofcourse I couldn’t stop with taking a selfie at the turn around point.

Belgium: Genval Runaround

A few weeks ago me and “The Girl” decided we would go away for a weekend. The choice fell on a nice hotel just southeast of Brussels, Belgium, in a small town called “Genval”, as you could have guessed by the title of this post.

Today that weekend arrived. It promised to be a long day. First off, I still had to work. Quickly after I got home I got packing, being a guy and only a single weekend, this was done in no-time :) Before we knew it, we were off!

Normally, the trip would take around 2.5 hours, but we expected some minor delays, as we would drive through rush hour. We were lucky, and with a minor traffic jam we entered Belgium. This was the point where our luck ran out. Around 15 km’s before we would arrive at the hotel, we struck on a traffic jam. This seemed to be a bad one, but, our navigation simply guided us around it, to eventually decide to direct us back to the same highway we just left. At this point, we got passed by about 6-7 (undercover) police cars, and a few ambulances. While literally crawling, several more police cars passed us. It turned out a big accident occurred, right at the off ramp we had to use. In the end it would take use 2.5 hours to cover the last 12 km’s. Walking to our hotel would’ve been faster.

When we arrived at the hotel, we forgot all about this, as we had a new priority: food! Because of the delay, we missed the dinner schedule, so we went with a perfect sandwich, and a nice glass of wine. Let the weekend begin!

Next morning we woke up, with this astonishing view:

 

Our hotel was on the top of the hill, with the main part of the hotel on a more busier street, right down at the lake. Here we would grab a nice breakfast. Below you can see the hotel from across the lake.

 

After breakfast it was time for my workout. A lap around the lake turns out to be about 2.5 km’s. The Girl has some running experience, but due to injuries this was a long time ago. But, she joined in on the run, we both ran our own pace. I started off with two easy laps, while The Girl went with some lessons from Evy Gruyaert. The next picture shows “The Girl” on the first lap. Lapping her would proof to be a big challenge.

My third lap I went with a higher pace, also because she just finished her second lap, and I didn’t want to make her wait in the colder temperature. Afterwards it was time to turn on the relax mode for the remainder of the weekend. Not before I took some pictures of our hotel:

Included in our trip was a spa, located in the lower part of the hotel. It was quite small, but perfect to recover from the run. That evening we would have a luxurious dinner in the restaurant. Due to a mistake from the hotel, our dinner got upgraded from 4 courses excluding wine, to 5 courses including wine. Perfect! Normally, the more expensive the restaurant, the smaller the dishes, not in this case. We were STUFFED.

The next day would be our final day. We had to leave the room before 11 AM. So we gathered our bags and put them in the car, had breakfast and checked out. BUT, as we knew how to get into the spa from the day before, we knew we didn’t need the room card to enter the spa. So we enjoyed the spa some more, before taking off. Ending a (almost) perfect weekend!test

ITU 2013 Mooloolaba

While I was in Australia I visited a friend at Mooloolaba. When walking across the esplanade I noticed a sign saying that there will be a triathlon this weekend. It turns out my trip happened to coincide with the ITU triathlon!

So that weekend I got up bright and early to watch all the events unfold.

Soon enough I came across the famous blue carpet. The athletes will start a bit further down the road, swimming through the river. Then bike to the esplanade to complete 7 laps. The picture below shows the T2 area, from which they will run another 4 laps.

A short while later the transition area’s were being set up. As I was curious to who would be participating in the race I walked across. To my surprise I saw the following:

A fellow Dutchman representing us against a strong field. The brownlee’s were missing, but strong guys like Richard Varga or Javier Gomez are present.
The conditions were quite hard, around 30-35 degrees, water was said to be around 20-23 degrees, Celsius that is.

I was standing close to the finish line, at the roundabout / turning point of the multi-lap course. This is also the point where the athlete’s would first enter the lapped course, and where the gates close behind them to “lock them up” on the laps.

Here are two short video’s of the athletes blazing around the roundabout. Apologies for the poor quality.

When standing this close to the course, I really got the idea on how fast these men and women are actually going. You can see their times and speeds on television, but it doesn’t give the idea on how fast this actually is. Really cool to have seen the ITU up close, especially since it wasn’t even planned to go and see this!