UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - Former Richmond Cross Country and Track & Field standout Julie Rechel is one of three athletes chosen to represent the United States in the upcoming World University Games Triathlon in Taipei, Taiwan.
The '11 alumna and school record holder in the 10,000 Meters will maintain a daily blog throughout her stay in Taipei, which Spider head coach Steve Taylor will post to his blog and Twitter accounts. Rechel's first entry can be found below.
Rechel was a standout both on the field and in the classroom during her time at Richmond. In addition to leading the Spider women to their third Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship as a senior in 2010, Rechel capped off her collegiate career as the recipient of the University's "Student-Athlete Presidential Citation for Academic Achievement" award honoring the Spider student-athlete who maintained the highest cumulative GPA (3.97) over her four years on campus. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Pharmacy at VCU.
I successfully made it through 30 hours of travel to Taiwan! I traveled
Richmond to Chicago, Chicago to Tokyo on a flight without inflight
entertainment, Tokyo to Taipei, which the coaches said was an hour and a half
long flight but was really 3.5 hours since they didn't factor in the time
change, and Taipei to the hotel (2 hours) via a double decker party bus
complete with neon lights, karaoke machine and disco balls. We're staying at
the race hotel, which is nice but somewhat run down. Kaitlin, Jess and I are in
a two floor, triple room with a large balcony that would be pleasant to sit on
if it were less than 100 degrees. We eat all of our meals at the hotel buffet
style. Breakfast choices included "dry chopped shredded pork", various forms of
duck, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and miso soup. Lunch choices included
various forms of raw fish, octopus, duck and lots of generally
indistinguishable items. I'm glad I packed lots of food!
This morning we went to do a swim (at an outdoor pool...we traveled in style via the party bus again) and run (the heat is oppressive) before lunch. We then napped and went on our pre-ride of the bike course. That was definitely the highlight of the day so far since we got to see some of Taiwan, including a massive pagoda temple and people paddling down the river on rafts with pointy hats. It was basically straight out of Amazing Race. We are hoping to buy some of those pointy hats as souvenirs. After dinner, we have the option to go to the night market. We're all tired, so we're hoping we have the option to go on Saturday after the race. Other notes about Taiwan- there are lots of scooters here and people just tool around on them with tiny little kids holding on...often with no helmets. Sometimes the scooters have windshields. These are like deluxe scooters. Also, there are mountains in the distance and blockbuster is still in business over here.
Tomorrow we have the same type schedule with opening ceremonies in the afternoon. We got our race numbers today - I'm seeded 22nd out of like 45. Kaitlin's seeded 3rd and Jessica is seeded 14th. The seeds are based on ITU rankings, and since I've only done one ITU race, I'm ranked pretty low. Two years ago, the team members finished 2 (Gwen Jorgenson, now on the Olympic team)-12 (Jessica Broderick)-13 (Lauren Goldstein-Kral) and got second overall as a team. Expectations are to do just as well. There's pressure on all three of us, though, since we all have to finish for the US to have a complete team. That seems easy until you factor in 105+ degree heat index at 9am this morning.
Overall, this is a neat experience and I'm so thankful/fortunate to be here. Not many people have the opportunity to be on Team USA at an international competition of this caliber. USA Triathlon sent 4 crewmembers, and it's cool to seem important enough to have all these people wanting to help you with everything. Also, I haven't had a "team" race experience since I graduated from UR, and racing is a lot less stressful when someone else is figuring out the logistics and I just have to show up ready to compete.
That's all from Taipei,
Julie Rechel (UR '11)