Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bienvenue à Ottawa!

"Bonne soir," I was softly greeted by the customs officer at the Ottawa Airport. French dominates English, especially in Gatineau.

Ottawa and Gatineau are full of spectacular views, all of which I managed to soak in on a two hour tour of the course on the top level of a double decker bus. In spite of having to duck and get smacked by tree branches on multiple occasions, this was a wonderful way to spend the morning. The parliament buildings (as you see here) are visible from my hotel (I took this picture literally hanging out of the bus).

There are a few hills on the course, notably, the two I remember most are around 7.5 Km and again at about 32 Km. The rest seems mostly flat and quite lovely, with a few gentle hills here and there, especially early on. It has been very windy today, and I'm hoping it's a bit calmer tomorrow.

I visited the expo, which was quite crowded after the tour, and ended up grabbing a bus to come back to the hotel. I have dozens of pictures, and can't wait to look through them all. Wish I were here for a few more days to fully take in the city!

I slept well, I'm feeling well, and ready to race. The elites are staying here, and I see them all over the place. Quiet, humble but obviously vying for the top spot tomorrow, it is clear who they are and why they are here. One marathon compatriot inquired of one of these on the elevator, "So, are you going for #1 tomorrow?" to which he smiled, revealing such bright white teeth, and shyly noted that he indeed was. I just may have shared an elevator ride with the winner of tomorrow's race.

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