Joel Reichenberger: I’ll sleep in Steamboat
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia — One casualty to these Olympics has been my sleep cycle, and that actually has nothing to do with jet lag or the time zone.
The Olympics is the event that doesn’t sleep, and I haven’t much, either.
Of course, it started when we spent nearly 32 hours traveling with only a few quick naps between checking in at Denver International Airport and setting our bags down in our hotel room in Krasnaya Polyana, the headquarters of the mountain cluster of venues at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
The first night of competitions, featuring women’s moguls qualifying, seemed late. It was midnight before we were done working and sitting down in a condo-adjacent restaurant. (Just a tip about that joint, which didn’t have a sign so I don’t know its name: Avoid the pizza. We didn’t come to Russia to pay 900 rubles, or roughly $30, for knockoffs of American food like buffalo wings.)
We went to bed by 2 a.m. that night, but it turns out that was the “early night.”
The opening ceremony came next, and it finished at midnight, required a 45-minute bus ride to get home and about 90 minutes of photo processing before I wrote a column about the experience. It was after 4 a.m. before I began the 10-minute walk from the mountain cluster media center to our condo.
The second night of women’s moguls competition was nearly as bad. The finals wrapped up at about midnight local time. Add in a 30-minute bus ride and time working photos and writing another column, and it was another 4 a.m. walk home.
These aren’t idle days, either. One big regret so far is not bringing a pedometer. I’d love to know how far I’ve walked. The blisters on my feet say at least 1,000 miles.
OK, that’s an exaggeration, but the distance is considerable. If we’d walked more than 15 miles in these three days, I wouldn’t be surprised. Then carrying my photo gear makes every step more difficult.
The mornings, while not super early, aren’t late, either. The alarm was set for 9 a.m. this morning, and after I blew it off, Luke had to hammer on my door to get moving.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m not complaining. In fact, I don’t even mind.
A funny thought went through my head as I walked home at 4 a.m. this morning. Well, a lot of funny thoughts went through my head at 4 a.m., but one that I will share. I was thinking about today’s schedule, and going to the men’s downhill race and the first day of Nordic combined training. And I was really, really excited. I even began walking faster.
This is a ridiculously amazing experience and it’s been taxing, for sure. I’ve tried to work on the buses coming home from some of these late night events, but keep nodding off, awakening to the sensation that my computer is sliding off my lap.
But there’s so much here that’s so exciting, I haven’t minded the hours at all.
The media center is interesting at 4 a.m., actually. It’s far from bustling, for sure, but the Asian reporters are on deadline, so they’re hammering away even when I leave.
And there are always people on the street on my way home, not scary people but volunteers, other reporters and fans.
Seriously, the Olympics never sleep, and as I don’t want to miss anything, I am OK not sleeping, either.
I’ll sleep in Steamboat.
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Wednesday, Nov. 25