Thursday, August 16, 2001

Fiesta Time

I am furtively writing this, as Rob attempts to sleep a little. He had a bad night. We are staying in a cheap, old almost Australian-style country pub, with its Spanish flavour. We have good vibes about the place, and although it was the 37th (or thereabouts) option when attempting to get accommodation in a small place, not in, Cabazon de la Sel on the edge of the Cantabrian western border with Asturias, surrounded by ~ mountains (of course), thermal springs and National Parks. This suits us fine, it is maybe 10-15km away on a local road, and this is THE Spanish National Holiday. It is the Assumption or something religious, but hedonists like Australians, the main (& only really important) thing is that it is THE summer holiday month (cf. January), and this is the biggest long weekend of them all.
Why do we want to be near Cabazon de la Sel? It is a gorgeous very old town, with some wonderful ancient buildings and a good feel to it amongst the winding narrow streets. However everything, literally everything except a couple of bars, are closed this week. It is a humdinger of a Fiesta on the 14th & 15th of August. This includes a half marathon (maraton medio). With Rob within a couple of hundred kilometres there didn't need to be any other excuse.
We pre-registered on Tuesday, with some difficultly and the owners or staff of the two open bars in town (the Americano & the Pariasio) walking around the streets asking people on balconies, feeding their own money into timed local call (yuck) telephones, and really going out of their way. The smoking woman from the athletic club walked to the bar to meet us and take our details. On the day, entry would have been about AUD$10. On Tuesday, it was for nix. How does that go for Half Marathon value? There should be a big turnout, as the prize place money is substantial, although there is only one category for women, there shan't be too many taking part in relation to the men, methinks. As with Sundays' Triatlon, from a field of 122, 12 starters (to wit, <10%) were women, and only people with very respectable times entered. (Apart from me, who came last). Among the women I came 11th, and last overall after the disqualifications and DNF's (non finishers) were taken off the c!
course. In challenging conditions (mad dogs and Englishmen & all that) my 3hr4min in the midday sun, without a wetsuit, with mountains, and not having the faintest idea of the course or what one was being directed to do was OK. Not having swum since around the 20th June, I was delighted.
I expect the run will be the same today. Few women will turn out, and those who do, will be of a high standard. I'm actually quite accepting my anticipation of a last place again today!


Apres Race
200 entries, about 11 women, and most pretty good although the times were a little slower overall than expected by the style in which the winners were running. Both Bob & I got hideous porcelain vase style trophies (no money)for our places, (and mine is bigger than his), and a T-shirt and goody bag for finishing. Our entry fee was zero! Not bad for 3 races in three weeks (thus 3 extra t-shirts).
Love the pub/pensione where we are staying and its' owner. We will stay here until Sunday, there may be a small local duathlon on Saturday, however cannot yet find any information or contact details. The place is a slightly run-down spa resort of a past era, with this bar, and a 'Gran Hotel' full of ancient people paying to take the waters, play bingo, and ?relax. There is also a water bottling plant. We plan to cycle tomorrow, and had a tremendous time at the Half Marathon, 4 laps through the town, including crossing a major 8 line railway line twice in each lap. With runners in each direction, it was amazing to see the scheduled train held up at the station for heavens knows how long to let us pass. Tremendous fun.
Bob has changed his mattress, and in talking cycling to the owner, have found out that he is a masseuse. Bob could benefit greatly in the next day or two.
More later,
Adios se'


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