Editor's note: Some material in this first entry in Dan Beery's log was deleted due to security concerns.
Dear Mom, Dad loved ones and dear friends,
Greetings from Bulgaria, I hope this communication finds you well! We are beginning to recover from our 36 hour travel and adventure. We had an uneventful flight and stopped at Athens for our processing. We processed at the American University in Athens. All US athletes stop there and we actually swam in the same pool the US athletes will practice in. It was very nice, however 50 meters is much farther than one would think by looking at it on TV! Yours truly did have a very impressive start off of the blocks, one bystander remarked that I had sloth like reaction time off the platform!
We then took a charter flight to Plovdiv Bulgaria. Let's just say that security is tight. (Section deleted) So, to sum up, MOM DON'T WORRY!!!
(Section deleted) The five star hotel we are staying in has been cleared of all guests except for our group. The pool however has been open to the locals. The women are apparently not constrained by the need to cover their upper torso area with needless extra clothing in the hot Bulgarian sun. The pool has a bar literally built into the pool itself and is complete with boulders and a waterfall. The rowing course is literally surrounded by and patrolled by police and we travel to and from the course in a caravan with police on both sides of our vans. We don't stop for lights, which I am really beginning to love for this dramatically cuts down the commute time. So, to sum up, MOM, DON'T WORRY!!
The boat is moving well and everyone is loose and confident. I feel no pending pressure about the race. It will feel just like the three or four other major events I have raced in. Since yours truly has had to race flat out in order to make this team 2 or three times per week, I am very familiar with a maximum effort, and since a max effort is a max effort, whether in practice, or for a gold medal... I am comfortable, loose and confident.
I can't wait to see you all and I hope you are well!
Dear Friends and family,
Greetings from Bulgaria. Everything continues to go quite well here. We are really enjoying our time at the hotel and fellowship among the athletes. The food is terrible in my opinion. It is no small wonder that all the Bulgarian folks are so lean. Our times on the water continue to be impressive.
We had an interesting ride back from the course today. To put our commute in more easily understood terms for you, the route resembles the drive (in distance and shape) from the entrance to the White River near the steel mill by VU to probably about the location of Rivet High School, if the river entrance were on the other side of the river. We cover this distance in about 4 minutes by not stopping at any lights.
Ken, a rower from the quad, had the brilliant idea to start timing the drivers to see which one was the fastest. Before we left the course this morning Ken blurts out that yesterday's driver held the record with a time of 3:13 seconds door to door. Apparently, our Bulgarian driver speaks or understands enough English to know what 3:13 means.
At the first turn our lead escort swerved around a VW trying to enter from a yield sign. Our driver didn't swerve around him and wouldn't let him in, forcing him off the road into the grass along the road. Next, we actually passed the escort on the inside of a curve and, of course, blew through the next four lights. I looked at Kent and we all were stone silent as we approached a group of pedestrians slowly crossing the road. Our driver honked and passed within two feel a lady crossing the street. We approached the hotel doors at about 30 miles an hour and came to a brisk halt. We all sheepishly opened the doors and our driver was smiling from ear to ear when Ken muttered, 'I think we have a new record.'
I didn't make it to the pool today. I am trying to learn this phrase: "Excuse me miss, don't you think a bikini top would be appropriate in this blazing sunlight?" However, my aptitude for learning the complex cerylic language is quite slow and I'm afraid I may not learn this phrase adequately and risk offending aforementioned young women.
(Editor's note: Some sections of this e-mail were deleted for security reasons)
Hi Mom and Dad,
Glad you received the shirts an gear. Sorry to hear about the mug. That is unfortunate. We have received a ton of gear over here. They even had tailors to fit everything to us individually. There is another box on the way to you with some more gear in it. I'll probably want to keep a fair bit of it.
Things are going well here. We are entering the last phase of our preparation. We'll be doing hard pieces for the rest of this week, and then backing off the week before our race. The weather is really hot, however there is not a lot of humidity which makes it nice in the shade.
Interestingly, there are a lot of horses used for work here in the fields. Most of the buildings were built during the communist era and are a bit run down. However, they are all built surprisingly well. The rowing course is beautiful and is complete with tiled concrete shaped brick lining the sides of the course for the entire length. There is a huge finish line tower six stories high and every five hundred meters has a tower built on both sides for timing. At the thousand meter mark there is a suspension bridge across the course. There is also a beatiful tennis court, soccer stadium and gymnasium at the venue. All of these facilities do not appear to have been used at any point recently.