Editors Note: Jon Olsen is a Modesto resident and member of the U.S. World Cup ultramarathon team. Olsen is in Italy this week, where hell compete at the IAU 100-Kilometer World Championships on Sunday. This is his second installment.The alarm was set for 6 a.m. The only problem with that is I woke up at 5:30. I wanted to get one last run in before meeting the team. So, I decided to shut off the alarm and get ready for my run. I was out the door by 6 ready to run. I was actually going to be able to run on flat asphalt for the first time. But there was one problem, the hotel sat on a highway off/on ramp. There were no side streets either to run on, so I ran super duper small loops in the Holiday Inn parking lot. Not ideal but I made it work. A fartlik run was in order to wake up those fast twitch muscles that laid dormant for the last week or so. A fartlik run mixes short bursts of fast paced running with jogging. After 30 minutes of this, I finished with 10 minutes of jogging and called it a day. After getting cleaned up and eating breakfast, we were off to the train station in Milan. It was a 30-minute train ride from Milan to Seregno. We caught the 10:39 train to Seregno. After departing the train, we were half expecting to have a van waiting for us but the other knew better. And that half was right. No van, runners, or anything looking like they had to do with the race. After making a quick phone call, a van arrived with two of the race staff who happened to be recently engaged to get married. They both knew some English and we spoke about sports, politics and various other topics. They were very gracious hosts and made us feel very welcome. Moreover they were taking us to a location they knew nothing about and with an address that was incorrect, so after getting lost twice we arrived at the race hotel. What a hotel! It sits on the lower part of the Alps, which at this present time is covered in a fresh blanket of snow. The views from this mountain retreat are breathtaking. This isnt anything like anything I have ever seen. The Rockies are nice, so are the Sierra Nevada, but the Alps are the Alps. They tell us the weather will be perfect for race day, but after an entire afternoon of rain/snow showers we question the reports. Team USA had a little drama upon arrival at the hotel. We were lucky, being the first to arrive at the hotel, we got the last double room. Apparently the rest of the team will be in larger dormitory style barracks rooms. We offered to vacate the primo room but were allowed to keep it. The accommodations resemble dormitories and we were glad we stopped at the market at the train station to pick up some soap because apparently toiletries are not included with this room; neither is a toilet or shower, but we do have an in-room sink. The other restroom facilities are shared with four other people from the US delegation. They are feeding us too well here, which was originally a concern being that the lodging is at the top of a mountain. We did not know what we were going to do for meals, but after a hearty lunch and even better dinner we are thankful we ordered up dinner tomorrow as well. It looks like we will have some down time tomorrow before the festivities really begin on Saturday. The biggest concern we have at this point is trying to remember names. We enjoyed the conversation at dinner tonight, which ranged from talking about jobs and families to the important things like where it was permissible to use the restroom during the race. These things are only acceptable table conversation amongst runners! Ciao!