I think it might be colder than the Vancouver Olympics!
Got six hours of sleep – pretty good – went to women’s road race – cycling in the morning. Left at about 10, met Elliott in front of our dorms and headed over there together. We got there via the DLR to the Jubilee line then a walk through the park – Green Park. Luckily I have my iPhone with gps or we wouldn’t have known where to go 🙂 – because the Olympic “helpers” didn’t know where we were supposed to go either. Elliott on the Jubilee line:
Today was not a good day for my brain – I typically get to events obscenely early and today was no exception – today I should have been there by 10 at the super latest, two hours before the event – but I got there at 11 – and of course everyone was already out. The closest best spot was in front of buckingham palace – but I needed an escort. When i got there they said i was too late. But I went out anyways – by the time I found everyone they were all camped out in the middle of the course near the start/finish line and there was a small stage set up where each team was being introduced – right as I got there the US team was introduced – lucky timing on my part because we had one racer that was from Gilroy. There were four of them on the team and even though I didn’t know which one was the one I needed I was able to get a picture of everyone – not good pictures – but something because I knew it’d be insanely difficult to pick out one specific rider in a group of 60+ riders flying down the street. Neat building on the way:
At 11:30 a photo helper named Alex directed us down the course – literally – at 11:30 – we walked about a 1/4 of a mile down to a small photo position in front of buckingham palace. Fans cheer us on:
Then it started to rain. Not too bad but it was kinda chilly. I started out with a low angle then tried a high one and then settled on the low angle. The riders went by in a matter of seconds so who know if it was the right choice – clouds were kinda cool so I thought I’d try and get some of them in there.
Afterwards a photo marshal (guy) attempted to take us back to the workroom – but he got lost a few times. The photo marshals have been interesting, typically they have been younger in the past but most of the photo marshals here have been middle aged – and the majority of the photo marshals, which were very nice and helpful here were middle aged women. So that’s cool. Once the race gets going there really is nothing to do until they come back. So I went and did a panorama. The media room is so small that every seat was taken, including the one I had put all my stuff on – it had been moved and someone was sitting there. I found one other seat… at some point I went to the bathroom came back and my chair was gone – what the heck – vultures! This is why I always lock everything up!
I went back out and got in position to shoot finish line, it had been awhile since I shot a finish line pic – but there weren’t really many options anyways. I settled on a spot – an hour and half before they were scheduled to show up. I chatted with Andy (crap forgetting his last name) – from USA Today – perviously with the Dallas Morning News… interesting things are going on there – but too much to get into…
After a while it started to rain, and rain and rain. Another example of not using my brain – I didn’t check the weather – I knew it was supposed to rain at some point – I didn’t bother to check before I left the room – and it was a cold rain and I didn’t have a jacket, a long sleeve shirt or any protection for the cameras. Ooops! Well the Nikon rep Sara will be happy to know that I sheltered the cameras with my body so they did not get wet, but I got soaked. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t remember to bring anything – but there weren’t many of us. The leaders came in and a guy in front of me wearing a bright yellow poncho leaned over the railing – I had to lean too and just barely caught the winner crossing the finish line – someone from the Netherlands. So the US didn’t win there was no point in me staying for the medal ceremony – cause I had to get to swimming.
And yet another example of being brainless – I forgot to check to see if I had my swim ticket (we have to get a special ticket which assigns us to a specific photo position) – I realized this when I got to the bus to go back to the MPC that I had left swim ticket in room. What happened was I went and picked up “welcome kit” which also included a backpack. Then I went up to get swim ticket from USOC’s Bill Hancock – and put it in the new backpack – I think u can see where this is going. Yes left this morning and left new backpack in room of course. Though I the help desk is partly (small part) to blame because it was the fourth of fifth time I stopped by to get my welcome kit that they actually had one available!
Now is where my brain finally kicked in. After I got on the first bus I figured I had a few options – go back to the USOC and beg for another ticket (super doubtful), go to the venue and see if I could get in (this wouldn’t have worked for sure because they checked my ticket before even entering the aquatics venue, usually credential is enough), ditch swimming altogether, or bite the bullet and just go. So I figured once I got back to the MPC I could take the bus to the DLR… but when I got the MPC I asked someone if there was a bus to the ExCel building – the first person I asked could barely speak English and said “no” – so luckily I was able to find someone who did and she pointed me to a bus that had just turned on its engine a few hundred feet away, so I ran over and jumped on. That saved me about 30 minutes then if I had gone back to the DLR. I was able to catch the DLR at ExCel (there were a ton of people but they were all going the opposite way). Then three DLR stops back to my room. I was able to go to the room get the ticket and a few other things and run back to the DLR stop in less than 10 minutes to catch the next DLR back to Stratford International – with one transfer at Canning Town.
Amazingly got to my photo spot at the Aquatics Centre around 6:15. I had left cycling at 4:00 – so I think that was record time. Plus the transportation Gods were with me because I never had to wait more than a couple minutes at each transfer! And the dedicated Olympic lanes worked well. Shot swimming – US won a few medals including a silver in the Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay with Phelps – the announcer pronounced his name as “Fills.” Saw Dana Vollmer break a world record (went brainless and shot the wrong lane for most of the race – oops). Saw Jed Jacobsohn and Kyle Terada in the B section were I was at. Paul Kitagaki waves to me:
Afterwards edited images and then went for a cheeseburger and beer with John Leyba, unfortunately at 11 pm the only thing open near us was McDonald’s and there is absolutely nothing near my dorm. Today was only about 14 hours.
Pano from the finish line (would have loved to have riders in it but impossible to have done without another person)