The line started moving closer toward the swim start. Just a few feet and then stop and wait at first. Then it would be a few feet further and less wait between moving again. And it was about that time that the chill bumps started to dissipate. (it was cold that morning! I was holding Clubber for warmth) Finally, we reached the porta-potty lined area. Getting close. Decided to take one last potty break...and when I got out, chaos! I ran down the line to find mom and dad to pass off my sweatshirt.
And then a mad dash for the ramp to the docks. And I kid you not, we jumped off a boat dock into the river. How much more Kentucky can you get? Like a bunch of lemmings, we were running down the ramp, one after another, and jumping in the river!
And that's when the fun began.
I started with a bunch of guys I know, most of whom are not super strong swimmers (sorry, guys). And we started in the back 50 participants. Bad move there, but we didn't know it at the time.
The swim up river was fairly uneventful. It was swimming over and around and through people. Then there was a really mucky area. I couldn't see out of my goggles. AT ALL. It was just dark. So much for thinking the river isn't so bad. And it stunk. And then I saw people standing and walking. In the river! WTF? So, I got to that point and stood and walked until my foot hit muck and sank about 8 inches into it. Um, yeah, swim, swim, swim.
Finally, the buoy to turn around and go downstream. This is where I seemed to have some issues. I didn't think I was swimming slowly. Or too crooked. But I must have been doing both. I seemed to be too far out in the middle of the river, so I veered in. And then i just kept hitting rubber (or whatever those speed suits are made of) from guys who really couldn't swim very quickly.
I'd opted on a sports bra and tri shorts for the swim so I could just put on my jersey shoes and helmet in T1...and i could feel the water in my sports bra. Huge drag. Not good. Oh well, lesson learned.
I kept sighting off the bridge that doesn't really connect to land on either side. And it seemed to take FOREVER to get there. Swim, swim, swim. Over, around and through people. That's about all it was for the entire way.
Finally, under that dark bridge. Then under the next. And to the stairs, where we were to exit the water! I checked my watch. 1:15. Crap. That was slower than expected. Oh well, I feel pretty good. I'm doing this. First leg is over...and on to T1.
It was like a mad dash for transition. As stated earlier, my bags were at the end of the row, so it was easy to identify. I ran to the change tent and was joined by a volunteer. She sat down with me, dumped my bag and allowed me to pick through what I needed. She helped roll down my jersey when it got stuck on my wet torso and she handed me my race belt...and as I left that tent, she wished me luck. I ran out...a little hesitantly, a little frieghtened. And to my bike, where I heard cheers for "Cincy Express". And then more by name. I made the little trot to the bike mount and smiled as the fear vanished and the focus came back.
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