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I’m here. Diego is by the sink preparing “dinner” or whatever we may call it. We just did a bodyweight training circuit in the room. This time, we couldn’t rent a car, which is quite a nuisance in Columbus. We have to manage as we can.

We seem calm and serene. We talk, we design our clients’ workour prescriptions, I write articles and manage my annual program of courses with the notebook on my lap, in bed. But, to get here, we have been in and out a madhouse.

At this point I stopped to choose the metaphor: hurricane? No, too dramatic. Circus? More likely. Then I settled to madhouse.

It all started when Gene Rychlak broadcast the RPS International Open. I read the description and it slowly sank in that an old dream I had about lifting at one of the Arnold’s parallel events had a chance of coming true. It seemed a bit unreal: I don’t care at all about the Arnold’s, and in fact have a problem with the crowd and the excessively commercial and bodybuilding biased format. But I do care about the fact that powerlifting is an “issue”: the WPO lost the Arnolds to the IPF, which, in turn, might lose it again. It is one of those occasions you lift at by invitation, because you are one of the best. I wanted that. Nevertheless, I am a small unequipped lifter. These events give clear preference to the equipped, big weights.

I had swiped it out of my mind when suddenly I saw the RPS International Open event, which included raw lifting. I couldn’t resist registering.

But how to get there?

I had just come back from a long stay in the US, when I lifted at the WPC Worlds, and indulged myself with some vacations. With one irresponsible sponsor backing away from her commitment with me, money was a problem.

My brother suggested we tried crowdfunding. If you want details of our experience, read about it here. The article discusses general aspects of sports crowdfunding. But we had to handle the cultural specificities, by which we mean traditional incompetence, confusion, inadequate platform, inability to make the campaign international, and obscene taxes and fees. The “all or nothing” system made all these items, during a time we needed at least a little peace for competitive preparation, worse. We worked much more than other project developers: we were the first to create a high performance sports crowdfunding project in Brazil.

Once you start it, though, you can’t abort it.

Lesson number one: I’m kindda stupid. Why did I trust artists’ experience when common sense should suggest sports would have a different response?

Lesson number two: never do it again.

The crowdfunding ended with threats of lawsuits against the financial organization that does the online money transfers and – believe it or not – takes a holiday at Carnaval! Plus takes 4-6 days to process your claims, depending on how many times they can reply with “I’m sorry, I found a hair splitting discrepancy in your billing address”.

Yup: I almost lost the US$6 thou that I worked my ass off to earn.

Having finally transferred the money to our accounts, about two days before the trip, the t-shirt firm printed all the logos in the wrong places and committed a sequence of idiot mistakes: each time we corrected one, they created another one.

Lesson number three: idiots are much more creative than you.

Finally, we officially closed the super-stress season and I called a taxi to take me to Diego’s house so that we could drive together to the airport. The taxi didn’t have a GPS and got lost in his neighborhood. São Paulo is a 20 million people city.

But no, stress season was officially over, can’t stress!

More later in chapter two.