One Athlete's Mind
What a rush! This trip hasn’t slowed down since it began… 3 days ago? 4 days ago? Ah who knows, it’s all a blur when you’re playing with time zones.
After a smooth and exhausting 30 hours or so of traveling, we made it to the Athletes Village here in Almaty Kazakhstan. The highlight of the journey was definitely our 7 hour layover in Amsterdam (not being sarcastic). Shelby (Nipissing), Gavin (Lakehead) and I hopped on a train from the airport which took us into Amsterdam Centraal (that’s what is was called, no idea if it was actually the main city center) where we got to take in the AMAZING city of Amsterdam! After wandering around for a while, dodging glass bottles and pigeons in the red light district, and sampling a mighty fine chocolate croissant (the simple things), we decided to rent some commuter bikes and we joined in the CRAZY amount of bike traffic in that city and finished off our tourist-ing in style.
Loving life on my rental commuter bike
The next flight went by pretty quickly, finally getting a few hours of sleep, and we landed in Almaty around 4am local time. The Universiade volunteers did an amazing job of welcoming us at the airport and guiding us to the event shuttles, where we convoyed with other athletes and a police escort for the 40 minute drive to the Athletes Village.
I won’t try to describe the impressiveness that is this Athletes Village, I’ll do my best to post photos to capture the coolest parts (likely in a massive album on Facebook following the trip). But suffice it to say that this has been possibly the coolest experience of my athletic career. With the Olympics always having been my dream, this is absolutely feeling like an mini-Olympic experience for me, so I am loving every minute of it!
The Opening Ceremonies took place last night, and the city of Almaty held nothing back in giving us an experience of a lifetime. I may have been in an extremely jetlagged state, but it didn’t take away from the impressiveness of the show and the amazing feeling watching them raise the FISU flag and light the flame for the Games. And not to mention in the hour or so waiting to be called in, I kinda cleaned up in the pin trading department :p (Games goal: get as many international pins on my accreditation lanyard as I can before Closing Ceremonies).
Today will mark day one of competition for me with the 10km Classic Individual Start race. I’ve been looking forward to this race for many months now, so with my start time in just under 6 hours now, it’s safe to say I’m getting pretty excited! The race venue here is absolutely gorgeous, with the trails in great shape and what looks to be a very fast course.
I could go on and on with everything that’s been going on but I’ll wrap it up here. There is very little down time so far so I’m not sure when my next update will be, but feel free to follow along my social media as I’ll be posting pictures whenever I can!
Jordan Cascagnette, Student-Athlete, Ski Coach