Friday, August 13, 2010

And yet another quickie post

Sorry for the sparse posts. It's been difficult to find wifi. But trust me, we've been having plenty of fun. Photos and full results to follow -- maybe tonight we'll have real wifi access....

Following the awards ceremony at Woodside, we took the bus to Camp Lotus, near Placerville, Calif., where we camped for the night in real-live tents and sleeping bags. Notice I said "camped," not "slept." We arose bright and early the next morning for a trip down the American River with the W.E.T. Whitewater rafting company (who are absolutely the best!). I can't begin to express how much fun we had. I'll get some photos up ASAP -- they're hilarious!

They had to drag us off the river at the end of the trip, but when we finally dried out enough to climb on the bus, we drove to North Lake Tahoe. Yesterday we spent the day exploring the area and taking advantage of the beautiful beaches. Many of us rented boats of some sort. In the evening we had a more formal dinner, giving the team members a chance, finally, to show off their party clothes.

Today we spend part of the day at Tahoe (and the beach) again, and then head back to San Francisco to spend the night before flying home on Saturday. We'll be sad to leave each other, but oh the memories we've made!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quick Results Post

From cell phone on bus:
Girls: 1st UK, 2nd Ireland, 3rd UK/Ireland, 4th USA, 5th USA/Canada, 6th Australia

Boys: 1st UK, 2nd Ireland, 3rd UK/Ireland

Final Day of ITE Competition

This morning we got to sleep in a little (we don't have to get on the bus until 9:30). We'll travel to Stanford to compete in our final round: shooting. From there, we climb back on the bus (we've certainly developed a long-standing relationship -- you decide whether it's a good or bad relationship! -- with our bus) and return to Woodside for the awards ceremony.

Then it's back on the bus once more, to travel outside of Sacramento for a night of camping. Wednesday morning we head down the American River in rafts (everyone hold on!). We're off the rafts in the afternoon, and head to Lake Tahoe for a final two days of rest (maybe) and relaxation.

In other words, depending on internet connectivity, you may not see another post until we're in Tahoe. We'll try our darnedest to at least post a quick note, via cell phone, on final results.

Wish us luck!

Exchange Days 5 and 6: The Competition!

Posted by USPC ITE team member Geneva Torsilieri

After two days in Yosemite, we packed up and left the park bright and early Sunday morning to travel to competition in Woodside, CA. The day’s carefully scheduled timeline was quickly derailed when the engine of our bus burst an engine hose. We proceeded to sit in our bus on the side of the road for almost 3 hours waiting for repairs. More than 8 ½ hours after leaving Yosemite, we arrived in Woodside, just in time to change quickly for the swim phase of our competition. Stanford University hosted the swim phase at their beautiful facilities, however the format of swimming in a long course pool (50 meters long rather than 25 yards long) presented some new challenges, both physical and mental, to all of the U.S. team. Everyone swam well, with Christine McGrath leading the U.S. team in 2:27.

The US Team (from left): Geneva Torsiliery, coach Shirley Antrobus, Keiley Smith, Maggie Lloyd, Christine McGrath, Rosalie Purvis, Meagan Reader, McKenzie West, and coach Carmelo Felix
After the swim, all the competitors piled back onto the bus, this time bound for the Horse Park at Woodside to watch the horses that were to be used in the riding phase. These horses were generously donated by kind-hearted owners, who cared for them while they were at the Horse Park, gave us as many tips on riding the horses as possible, and took them home again for us when we were finished.

There were some definite standouts in the pool of horses, both positively and negatively. Following this demonstration, each team drew from a hat the horses they would be using for the ride phase. Several of the horses were used three or four times, so for the process of the draw, each horse's name was put into the hat the number of times it was to be ridden. For example, we drew the same horse for two rides, and were assigned the first and third ride on this particular mount. Overall, we were a little worried about the mounts we had been randomly assigned, but with the help of our coach Shirley Antrobus (who was the AMAZING) we came up with a sensible horse assignment plan, and a good plan for the horses we had chosen.

This (Monday) morning arrived WAY too early, and we left the hotel at 6 am to walk our riding course and prepare for the ride. The riding course consisted of fences 3’0-3’3” in height, and involved obstacles such as combinations, a slip rail, a gate, and banks. Warm up for the ride was done in the format of Modern Pentathlon: each competitor was given 20 minutes and 5 warm up fences to get to know their assigned horse and prepare to ride.

Walking the course

 Geneva Torsilieri was first to ride for the team, and second in the overall lineup. She started off the U.S. rides with a clear round. Kenzie West, Christine McGrath, and Maggie Lloyd also rode clear rounds. Rosalee Purvis did an amazing job with with an extremely difficult and green horse, finishing with 3 refusals (in Tetrathlon, a horse/rider pair is not eliminated at the third refusal, but instead is assigned a number of penalty points per refusal (as well as accruing time faults). Megan Reader and Keiley Smith also rode well, with just a few penalties each. Despite a high level of riding from each and every rider, the difficult course and equally difficult mounts made only a handful of clean rounds.

Coach Shirley Antrobus gives the team last-minute instructions on how to ride the course.

Later in the afternoon, we returned to the Horse Park to run. International competitors had to run 3,000 meters (the equivalent of 1.8 miles) around a cross country running course. Though we have not yet received our running times (will blog those later) we were all happy with our running efforts. Tomorrow, we finish competition with the shooting phase and are off to raft down the American river!

Posted by USPC ITE team member Geneva Torsilieri

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another quick photo post

Whew! We're working and playing hard -- too hard to spend much time on the internet, even when we can get a connection. Sorry! We promise to catch up soon.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos from our two days in Yosemite National Park!

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

A few of our tent cabins at Camp Curry, Yosemite National Park.
Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park
Dinner alongside the Merced River in Yosemite
The view from our tents. Majestic!

One of the many extremely well-fed, and quite tame, ground squirrels at Yosemite.
Yosemite Valley
The Merced River, where we had lunch and a swim on both days.
Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Valley

This is what the International Tetrathlon team members, coaches and chaperones look like after spending two-and-a-half hours on the side of the road in a bus with a broken water hose. Bored and sleepy, but perfectly safe. The bus broke down on our way from Yosemite to Woodside to begin the swimming competition. We did eventually get to the competition!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 2: A Tour of San Francisco

One of San Francisco's famous trolleys
We started the day -- or at least the official activities portion of the day -- at noon with a bus tour of San Francisco. We stopped at Ocean Beach to sightsee and eat a box lunch. The seagulls were happy to help us clean up our crumbs.

The calendar may say it's summer, but coats were in order for the trip to the beach. The San Francisco coastline was shrouded in fog, and the 20 mph winds kept the temperatures in the low 60s. Brrrrr!

Surf's up, kind of...

The San Francisco waterfront.

Our ride home: a high speed ferry that took us from San Francisco back to Marin County. Maybe later we'll tell you about how, after spending the afternoon walking around San Francisco, and having dinner at the famous In 'n Out Burger, we speed-walked the almost-2-miles back to make the 7:20 ferry. Alas, we were too late. Thankfully, there was also an 8:10 ferry!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tet Exchange Day 1: Lots of fun, lots of sun

The five teams of the Pony Club International Tetrathlon Exchange:
Ireland, Australia, Canada, UK and USA
Tet Exchange Organizer Pat Duffy couldn't have ordered better weather for our first official day of activities at the International Tetrathlon Exchange. The sun never stopped shining (which is going to cause some of our fairer-skinned competitors some regret after their day of sun worship!), the weather was gloriously cool (at least by American standards) and the relaxed day of practice and competition gave the teams a great chance to get to know each other.

Several members of the US team practice their starts off the block.
We began bright and early by squeezing into several cars and vans, most driven by those most-important members of the Pony Club family -- volunteers -- to Lucas Valley Swimming Pool in Marin County. After warming up, the teams first swam a practice race of 200 meters, and then swam a mixed-country relay. (Note: we'll post the results of the day's practice competitions in a later post.)

The US team: (from left) Christine McGrath, Keiley Smith,
Kenzie West, Megan Reader, Maggie Lloyd,
Rosie Purvis and Geneva Torsilieri
Following the swim practice, we again squeezed in private vehicles, clown-car style, and went to Pat and Mike Duffy's house for shooting and running practice competitions. In addition, pentathlon coach Shirley Anterbus was generous in sharing her time and expertise regarding the "gates" portion of the riding test.

Shirley Anterbus discusses gates, with an Australian
rider demonstrating.
After lunch and gates practice (and lots of lounging around in the sun) the tet competitors pulled out their air pistols and shot.

The tetrathlon shooting phase.
We finished the day with a 4K relay race, using the same teams as this morning's swim. Each runner ran one thousand meters on a recreational trail in the beautiful California hills.

Warming up before the start of the relay.
Today's activities were for fun and practice -- the results do not affect the outcome of the international competition, which will start on Sunday at Woodside Park. But first, we tour San Francisco, and spend two days at Yosemite National Park!

Loads of luggage!