Today is the first real day of the event and begins with a scheduled bike inspection for all riders. As we go downstairs we see that it is raining pretty hard outside and the forecast is for rain all day. After breakfast we go back up to our room to get ready for this verification that we have all of the required equipment and that our bikes are fit for the event. We do not exactly know what to expect but we go ahead and get our bikes in order and pack our lights, helmets and reflective gear along with us. We go down to the start area which is about 1 km from our hotel at our designated time. Clair is scheduled for an 8:45 am inspection and I for 9:00 am. As we enter the stadium we are told that the bike inspection has been cancelled. So much for meeting this bureaucratic challenge! I guess the bike inspectors had no umbrellas. We are able to pick up our documents however and get checked in.

The document pick up area is quite an international affair. Check in is arranged by country and we are directed to the US table. We are still bumping into people we know from events at home but it is clear this is no local event. It somewhat resembles an international convention for bike geeks. Every known language being spoken and every type of person imaginable is seen. We saw a man carrying a large flag with a Camel on it but it was unclear to us if he was from some middle eastern country or a cigarette salesman. After check in we purchased some shirts and posters, posed for some photographs with friends and then departed.

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