Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Crashing Local Events (part 2) – Running a Marathon

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Off to the races...

If you follow this blog then you know Miki loves to run.  She’s done marathons, triathlons, half marathons, 10ks, etc.  So, when she saw a poster advertising a marathon around lake Misurina near Cortina, Italy we changed our plans slightly to stay an extra day to attend the race.  There was one slight problem.  The translation we received from the front desk of our hotel was slightly inaccurate.  It went from a marathon to a half marathon to a “short run”.  The staff was very helpful but didn’t really understand what it was but they did know all you had to do was show up.

We turned up on the day of the race and it wasn’t what we thought.  It was only a 3k run.  Miki specializes in longer distance running so this was different but she decided to do it anyway.  She was placed in the “Femminile Seniores” group based on her age and sex with 6 other runners.  The other six runners were incredible.  Miki called them mountain women.  They were tall, big, and looked very strong.  At this point, I would have gracefully disappeared, hoped back into the car and headed for our next destination but Miki just smiled and lined up near the starting line.

Miki running in the Lake Misurina "Marathon"


Miki closed to the finish of the Lake Misurina "Marathon"

Not surprisingly, the other women in the group beat Miki but still not a bad showing for running at a high altitude, on a short course, against a bunch of mountain women.  Way to go Miki!!!

Femminile Seniores:

1. Monica Gaspari 10:53

2. Sabrina Boldrin 12:24

3. Marina Piller 12:50

4. Valentina Bachmann 14:51

5. Irene Cicolini 14:58

6. Elena Da Ros 15:25

7. Miki Busscher 15:50

Miki with the race organizers. She was the only non Italian in the race.

Crashing Local Events (part 1) – Speed Climbing

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Speed climbing up a dam near Cortina, Italy

One thing that helps immerse you in the local culture is to crash local events.  In this case it was very easy.  There were flyers up all over Cortina, Italy advertising a speed climbing competition at the dam.  We’ve never seen speed climbing in person before so we figured we’d go check it out.  We were definitely the only non Italians there but it was fun to see what the locals do with their time.  Plus, watching the speed climbers was amazing.  These guys climbed up the side of the damn faster than I can run on flat ground.

Remember the climbing we did on the via ferrata?  I mentioned in that post that even local kids climb on the via ferrata routes.  This proved it.  These kids could barely walk and they were climbing with no fear!!

Local kids practicing how to climb the via ferrata

No fear…

Kid zip lining down off the dam

Here is some video of these guys flying up the side of the damn.


Travel Tip: Look in local magazines, look out for posters, talk with the concierge, find a local event and just show up.  Who cares if you can’t speak the language.  The poster we found for this event were in Italian but it had a picture of a climber, a time and a date.  That was enough to figure out what was happening.

Tarifa, Spain – The Kitesurfing Capital of Europe

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Kite surfing in Tarifa (you can see Morocco in the distance)

Tarifa is a small town at the southernmost point in Spain.  You can see Morocco across the straits of Gibraltar on a clear day.  The town has a very young and laid back feel to it.  Lot’s of young families with a mix of kite/wind surfers and some backpackers thrown in for a good measure.  The main draw here are the wind related activities of kite and wind surfing.

I’ve never photographed windsurfers before so I dragged my gear to the beach and hung out for a couple hours shooting the kite surfers.  It’s pretty amazing the distance off the water they can get.

Kite surfer flying through the air

One word of caution when photographing kite surfers on the beaches in Spain.  BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU POINT YOUR LENS.  It’s best to keep it pointed towards the water at all times even when you aren’t taken pictures.  Why?  The beaches around here are topless.

I’m not sure of the laws about photographing on the beach but I’m guessing it’s not a good idea to try to photograph all the topless women.  However, there were several occasions where I was doing some panning shots of the kite surfers zipping across the water and some women got in the way and ruined my shot.  I really hated it when that happened.

Topless women getting in the way of my photographing kite surfers

I kept on shooting to try and get some shots without these women in the way and I did get a few keepers.

Kite surfer getting some air

This guy had a different kind of kite surfing board.  It was made more for carving that for catching air.  Not as flashy as the other guys but still pretty cool to watch.

Kite surfing carving in the surf

Kite Surfing in Tarifa

"grabbing" some air in Tarifa

There are a lot of very nice beaches in this area.  It would be a great place to hang out for a week or two to just relax.  Not all of the beaches are full of kite surfers.  As the wind changes the surfers move to different beaches.  Also, most of the beaches have a surfing free zone for swimmers.

Kite Surfing Beach

There are over 30 kite surfing schools in Tarifa so if you want to learn there are plenty of options.  I looked into it but the instructors recommended a minimum of 5 days of classes in order be able to go out on your own.  It doesn’t look that hard but I have a feeling it looks harder than it is…

2010 Macau International Marathon

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Miki and her friend Erika running in the 2010 Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon.

Miki’s official stats for the race.

More pictures of both Miki and Erika can be found here.

Numazu – Senbonhama Triathlon

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

We travelled down to Shizuoka last week for Miki’s first triathlon… The Senbonhama Triathlon.  I tagged along and took pictures again.  With all the various races that Miki does I think I’m getting pretty good at photography sports.  I usually bring two cameras.  One with a medium zoom and one with a long telephoto.  This time I did things a little different in that the camera with the medium zoom lens was on a short tripod and took video while I was shooting her with the telephoto.  I strapped the camera taking video to railing, a flag pole and balanced on a top of cone to get some video while I was taking still photos.  Maybe next time I’ll hire an assistant to help get some better video for Miki’s next race.

As usual, I put together a video slideshow of the days events.  Enjoy…

She ended up placing second in her age group.  Pretty impressive since it was her first traithlon!!