Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Endurance Village

Wednesday July 2 2008

As the week progresses, the endurance village down by the old Roman Theatre continues to grow. More tents and towers are up, the nations' flags are flying, the entrance and exit gates and finish line and in-gates are up, a catering truck for the bar has arrived and begun to unload equipment. The stables are ready. The printed books will be finished this evening and ready to hand out to businesses in town.

Yesterday evening, Fausto said "Come with me to get a sledgehammer." We walked halfway across the vet area and he said "No, my car is back there! We walked right past it! Why didn't you tell me!" I thought we were walking to get the sledge, but he'd intended to drive. We walked back to his car and drove across town, when suddenly he threw his hands up in the air, like he forgot something, and we turned around. Yes, indeed, he forgot to turn off at his house! "What do you call it when a man forgets his house!" I said, "Too busy!"

Why on earth would someone want to take on the challenge of putting together such a big event like this? Try to find sponsors to finance it, try to put all the pieces together for 100 riders from 9 nations, over 160 km of tracks in the countryside around Gubbio. All accompanied by the headaches and worries and problems and crises and little sleep for days, for weeks on end.

"Because," Fausto says, "I like the people and I love endurance, and I believe in helping the sport I love."

Passion alone can't put on a ride: it can cost something close to E300,000 to put a ride like this on. Main sponsors for the ride this year are the Dubai Equestrian Club, Colacem, and the lovely Park Hotel Ai Cappuccini where I'm staying.

Fausto is always looking for ways to make the race better, and he's always looking for more sponsors, and he's grateful for, and lucky to have, many family members, friends, and businesses who are helping out in all aspects.

The endurance village, when it's finished, will be decorated with plants and flowers; and two mounted cabinieri will be present for the prize-giving. What Fausto would really like is to have 300 mounted cabinieri present for Opening Ceremonies. "Maybe next year - it will take me a year to organize it!" And more sponsors to finance it. (Think of it - hotels and stables for 300 more people...).

Sounds like a show worthy of a European Championship...

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