NAC (North American Cup) in Reno, NV

I entered two events – Division II and Division III Men’s Epee. The goals for both events were very modest, since this was my first NAC. For Division III the minimal goal was to win at least one bout in pools. The maximum goal was to win first DE bout. For Division II the goal was simple – not to end up last and to get experience against better fencers.

Division III was scheduled to start early morning on Saturday, Division II – Sunday. I decided to drive to Reno on Friday, since it’s not very far from me – about 200 miles. It is across the mountains though and there were warnings of lots and lots of snow. I have a 4-wheel drive, but there was even a chance that they would require chains on 4-wheel drive cars … So, I bought a pair of chains just in case. The drive was almost uneventful though – chains were required, but not for me, the whole drive took about 4 hours. The only excitement was because of the idiots in car service who refilled my windshield wiper reservoir with water … of course it froze. Short delay to add the proper fluid and a bit of slow very careful driving while waiting for the fluid to melt the ice in reservoir and a new low in opinion of local Subaru car service.

The first things I noticed walking into Reno Hilton – gambling is everywhere and smoking is allowed inside the building. Registered, went to the room, took a shower and went to find my coach and to see how my clubmates were doing – some of the events started on Friday; got my name stenciled on the jacket, went through mask and bodycord checks to avoid standing in line next morning.

Saturday morning I came down for breakfast and overheard a conversation that put me into great mood for the rest of the stay in Reno. There was a big gun show happening at the same hotel and, as a result, in addition to large crowds of fencers and large crowds of gamblers, there were pretty large crowds of redneck cowboy types, walking around the hotel with their rifles. Two of these characters were in line for breakfast next to me. They looked like father (F) and son (S):

F: Hey, did you know there’s a fencing conpet … fencing comptet … (took him three or four tries to get it right) … fencing competition here today?
S: What the f$&k’s a fencing competition?
F: It’s when they fight with swords.
S: If they use real swords, I wanna see that
F: No, they’re not real, I think they are called foils, very thin blades, look like they’re made of some fiber or something
S: No sh$t!
Took some effort to keep a straight face while I walked away to laugh in my room.

And on to the first event – Division III. There were 84 people in total, 7 people in my pool. I won two bouts in pool, one of them 5:0 and seeded 52nd for the DE bouts. First DE bout was to defend my place in 64, against guy who seeded 72nd – I won 15:14 … that was very close. My next bout was to get into top 32, against guy who seeded 13th – I didn’t have a chance there – lost 7:15. 53rd place. Goal for this event met, I was quite happy. Took a shower, got changed and went to cheer for my clubmates.

Next morning – Division II. 85 people, again 7 in my pool. I really don’t know what happened – fatigue from previous day, lack of concentration, or just much better opponents … I lost all bouts in pool, though I still think that there was at least one, maybe two, that I could have won … Seeded 81st for DE bouts … not last, but still very upset at this result, but managed to calm down and went to fence guy who was 48th … and won … made it into 64; then fenced number 17 and lost 15:5 … not feeling too bad, though – the guy I lost to proceeded to take 3rd place. I ended up in 63rd place, completely ecstatic – failure in pools corrected in the best way possible.

I decided to go back home same day. Several people told me that there were warnings on the radio about the risk that the road would be closed completely, so I got a list of weather/traffic radio stations in the area and got out of the hotel to discover that my car is covered with snow … it was snowing in Reno too. And I forgot the scraper… Saw another guy in the parking lot that just finished cleaning his car, he was kind enough to let me borrow his scraper – problem solved. Car is cleaned, the first stop on the way home – supermarket to buy a scraper and extra windshield wiper fluid – I almost ran out of mine on the way there. The radio was saying that all trucks were being turned away and that everyone else should expect delays of two hours or more. Well, I wanted to get home and was willing to wait if necessary. The road to the mountains was completely empty. The side of the road as far as I could see in both directions was packed with parked trucks. Did not see anything special in road conditions though. I’ve driven through much worse in Kiev in my car with rear drive and no chains. Most of the traffic was on the other side of the mountains. As I got lower, snow turned to very hard rain, but still manageable. Total travel time from Reno to home – same four hours.

Published in: on March 13, 2006 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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