ANADIA, Portugal - Stanford graduated senior Eddie Penev will compete for the U.S. Gymnastics team at a World Cup event in Anadia, Portugal. In his second blog post of the trip, Penev discusses his final day of preparation for the meet and the delicious Portuguese food he has been enjoying:
After 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep I felt completely rejuvenated from yesterday’s travelling. I was pleasantly surprised that the jetlag did not impact my rest too much. This proved to be a good thing because training was much more strenuous today given the fact that the qualification competition begins tomorrow!
Still kind of groggy, we went down as a team at 9 a.m. to have breakfast. Breakfast in Portugal is comprised of very different things than back home. They served a lot of cold deli meats as well as various types of cheese and the traditional eggs/bacon.
As soon as breakfast was over we got ready for our first training session of the day, which was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Generally, our first workout is fairly light. We stretched out a little bit and worked on the timing of a few of our skills and did some conditioning. The intent of the practice was just to get our body moving and our blood flowing in preparation for the evening’s podium training (the final practice).
Once this concluded we were scheduled to have lunch at the arena with all of the other athletes. As with all the other meals, the food was terrific. They served a bean soup, pork with rice and veggies as well as some excellent potatoes. They also had an assortment of awesome desserts that we cautiously sampled.
Once lunch was done we had some time to kill so we went to watch the indoor cyclists who train in the same arena that our competition is going to be held at. They ride their bicycles on a wooden platform that is raised about 10 feet above the ground at approximately a 45° angle! This track completely circumvents the competition arena.
It was honestly pretty incredible to see how fast they went around the track at such a steep angle. It definitely gave me a new appreciation for the difficulty of cycling!
When we got back to the hotel we had some time to kill before the second workout so we decided to do some exploring of the town. The town our hotel is in is just outside Anadia so it is a very small countryside town with a few stores and plazas. There was not too much to see but it was a beautiful day and the walk was awesome nonetheless.
The second workout was later in the evening and it was much more focused and intense than any of our previous practice sessions. Podium training is your last opportunity to get out onto the competition floor and get a feel for the equipment that you will be competing on.
My task was to basically go through each of the events that I will be competing (floor, pommel horse and vault) and do either all my skills or sequences, or half sets from the routines that I will be doing in the qualification competition tomorrow.
Overall, we were all pretty happy about how well the podium training went. We felt on our game and did not have too many issues with any of our skills. I was especially pleased with how well I adjusted to the new floor, which is something that can be very tricky at international competition.
The particular floor they are using at this competition is not as “bouncy,” as we say in gymnastics, as some of the floors we use in the U.S. This can make it harder for gymnasts to get as much height and speed on some of their skills and it makes connecting one skill to the next a lot more difficult. Fortunately, everyone is using the same floor so everyone is on equal playing field in that respect.
We left the training session in good spirits and we are optimistic and excited to begin the meet tomorrow now that we have had more time to adjust to the time zone and the new equipment.
We ate dinner back at the hotel, which consisted of some amazing rice and grilled chicken. After that, we decided to take a taxi to a nearby grocery store to stock up on some snacks as well as power bars and sports drinks for tomorrow’s meet.
Now that we are back at the hotel, it is time to turn in early for the night and try to get as much sleep as possible before tomorrow’s competition as we have to be at the arena at 9:15 a.m. to begin the warmups.
For those of you are interested, live results will be posted online. We always appreciate some support from back home!