After two days in slight holiday mode, for us now the experience World Equestrian Games begin. While we were not yet allowed to enter the Tryon International Equestrian Center, we were able to pick up our accreditation today and currently we are based in a makeshift press centre. Makeshift? Yes, the big press centre is not yet ready for use. This is what we all had heard, but we did not really want to believe it. In the end there are always so many rumours. However, next to us we can hear the sounds of the carpenters. Wooden stairs are being arranged, windows are being fitted – the site is actually quite busy. As yet it is still unclear if we will be able to move in tomorrow.
It would not be a bad thing because in the “Legends Club” we are currently occupying, space is hard to come by. Tomorrow there will be some more colleagues and then the area, originally planned as VIP area, will become too small. However, besides the limited space the building is beautiful. It is made of massive wood, the atmosphere is very pleasant. The food we are given outside possibly was supposed to be for the club members, but today we will still be served here. After the move we will possibly get what Ingrid Klimke judged to be “food not befitting athletes”. Yesterday we met the German eventing rider, her team colleague Kai Rüder, and Chef d’Equipe Dr. Jens Adolphsen during a “stair training”. Just like we did the trio went to the Chimney Rock and climbed hundreds of steps in order to enjoy the view of Lake Lure; the lake where the famous lifting figures of Dirty Dancing were recorded. Even though we lost a lot of water during our way up the view was worth it. The eventing riders, even though they are in better shape than we are, became even wetter. They were surprised by some heavy rain during their walk while we were already refilling the lost calories with burgers. There we saw the British dressage team who also had to refill their energy.
Ingrid Klimke told us she did not believe that everything would be ready in time for the WEG – and that it was extremely loud because there was so much construction work. And yes, it is true. It is a constant bustle, excavators here, shovels there, muddy roads, containers just standing somewhere…. It is an alien scenario for an event that is supposed to begin tomorrow. Ok, the main arena will be ready; there they are currently installing the last chairs. And everything that is ready is impressive. The wooden buildings, the many huts, the riding arenas with wooden fences. But there is still so much stuff lying around, there is so much that has yet to be tidied up, there is so much hammering and earth that is moved moved that it is a pity that the hosts did not have enough time to see the whole thing through. After succeeding Canada, Tryon had 19 months to organise this huge event. Almost impossible. Especially when it has been raining the whole winter and spring.
But the Americans keep their calm. They are working hard, currently perhaps 24 hours a day, in order to possibly make the impossible happen. We will see. The biggest project currently seems to be the carriage riding arena. Currently the ground looks as if no carriage could pass over it in one week. There are excavators moving earth from A to B. Let us be surprised. However, in case we will go shopping: we could need some rubber boots over the next days. That is what I did not pack for a place where it is 28 to 36 degrees. But then I did not know that the paths here are not yet paved and that we might encounter Hurricane Florence. We all just can pray for it to pass. Because then the rubber boots will not help us any more.