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NACAC XC Championships Tobago - Pre Race

Published by
Maximus   Mar 8th 2010, 4:07pm

The question is "How do you keep the Junior team from getting sunburned when you go to a tropical race?" There are currently a few that look like lobsters here in Tobago and the senior team hasn't been good about watching over them apparently. I'm here in Tobago with the US XC team for the NACAC (North Amer, Central Amer, and Caribbean) Championships. This was my consolation prize for an 11th place finish recently at the USA XC Championships in Spokane. Not a bad consolation.  It has been a great experience so far with the race yet to be run. We have been here a few days to acclimate to the weather (90deg and 80% humidity) and travel time (17hrs from the West Coast, that's long). I didn't realize it when I signed up for the trip, but Tobago is way down here. Only about 20 miles or so off the coast of Venezuela. And because these trips aren't just a race but a cultural exchange of sorts we were able to take a day and do what you would normally do in the caribbean...but without the pina coladas and rum. When we travel to these meets we have a Junior men's and women's team and a Senior men's and women's team. The Senior team is supposed to kind of keep an eye on the juniors to mentor them if need be, and at this point I'd say we failed since a few of them look a little pinker than when they arrived. But, we haven't raced yet so it may all be fine.
The islands, if you haven't been, are pretty close to what I expected. Beautiful beaches with reefs just off shore, palm trees swaying in the warm island breeze, and anytime you step outside you immediately become drenched with sweat. Love it! I do think I could handle this year round although not on an island, no trails here, and running on the roads will end your life eventually. Not an "if" but "when" sort of situation. No body's in a hurry here except the drivers.
The hotel we're staying in is a golf resort built, as far as we can tell, on an historical fort of some kind but no body knows what it was. There is definitely an old cannon sitting out back though. Not something you might find just laying around say...at Motel 6.  The food is good, lots of fish barbequed with different sauces usually with some kind of fruit in them, and other pretty standard fare.
We were able to finally get a course preview in this morning, (Saturday morning, the morning of the race) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that golf course doesn't necessarily mean the same thing it does in the U.S.  It's a pretty tough course with undulations and turns and uneven footing pretty much the whole course. Certainly not going to be an easy race when you add in the temperature at 4:30 race time. It's the dry season right now and it's pretty evident when you look at the shape the course is in. There are some cracks on the fairway that I swear go through to China. I'll be surprised if someone doesn't lose a foot out there. And that's just the worst of them. There are cracks that would swallow a golf ball every five feet. Playing on this course would require some absurd amount of free drops and mulligans if I played it. I doubt even Tiger could get himself out of a jam on this course. 
Anyway, sitting in the hotel room now waiting and resting for the race. I'll give a full report and some pictures when I'm back in the states.

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