Thursday, January 22, 2015
It's just after 4am and I'm sitting at my gate at DIA for a 5:30 departure. The dichotomy of where I am and where I'm going is pronounced: It snowed 4 inches last night and is currently 14 degrees outside. Daily temps in Havana for this time of year are in the mid 80s - though it does cool off to the mid 60s at night.
I peruse Facebook posts from the athletes who left yesterday and briefly chat with another who leaves today. It seems everyone is getting in earlier than myself as I don't land until 7pm. A thought enters my head that I haven't seen any posts from anyone since they left and wonder as to the Internet situation there. I'm not even sure yet if my hotel has wifi.
While this trip is about making history and helping the future of the sport of triathlon in Cuba, I can't help feeling like I'm going back in time. The embargo went into effect nearly 15 years before I was even born and the recent pictures I can find online show a country that in 2015, still looks like something out of the 50's with the classic cars.
The reality of what I am embarking on finally starts to set in and I am both very nervous and excited. Few people can say they've truly represented the United States in anything, but the small size of this group (25) and the destination makes this feel even more important than the Olympics - except that no one is watching.