Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And now, what you've all been waiting for...

Pre race:
The night before the race, we had a Team USA dinner. I think we all got chills when the team manager gave us the "you are representing the United States of America" speech. Very cool.

Race morning, I actually slept 'til 4am. I'd been getting up automatically at 3, so the extra hour was weird. I ate and had coffee and went to the bathroom and all that pre-race stuff. And then I began to panic. ITU has strict uniform rules and I could've sworn I'd seen something about the logos for wetsuits...I wanted to wear my sleeveless, but it's a Zoot and literally has a tramp stamp and all these swirly things on it, so I rushed over to the host hotel to question the team manager...and ran into the bike mechanic and chiropractor. They're both zen like, and were just like "well, if we see Tim, we'll ask him for you".

I found him, and to my relief, there are no regulations on wetsuits. I hadn't worn mine in months, so squeezing into it was, um...interesting. Dad and his buddy, Gary, met me down at transition before the race. I typically don't get nervous before races, but this one was different.

The Swim:
My wave was set to go off at 8:13. It was just the second non-elite wave. And it conatined all women 18-34 and 50+. I did a little warm-up run and went down to the water with my cap and goggles, handed off the flip flops to dad and got herded into the corral! This is where we got the warning of the wind. There were white caps in the water. Severe chop. We were warned that if we had a disk wheel on the bike to be VERY careful because the elites were having some issues on the the overpass with the cross winds.

We all waded/swam out to the start. Apparently, the officials blew the horn three times before we actually went. And even then, I'm not sure anyone heard it, but we saw the next wave coming into the water, so we went.

And it was cold! And rough. Although it was a river swim, it was salt water because the river dumps into the ocean not far away. Many of the girls were intimidated by the distance of the swim. This was not a HIM. It was a 2x Olympic race. That means a 3k swim. That didn't bother me. Neither did the jelly fish. Or the salt water. Or the waves and the chop. It was the other girls. The clawing and the kicking and the punching. I never like that part, so I tried to just keep my position and be just as rough without purposely hurting anyone.

The swim upstream was long. Stroke after stroke. Bobbing up and down with the waves, trying to sight and just looking for other blue caps, taking in gulps of sea water, brushing up against jelly fish. It was rough going, but soon, the turn around was in sight. So many times I've been to that point in the swim...you know the shortest part of your day is nearly over. And you know that soon, you'll be upright, riding that bike...but for now, it's time to power home on the swim.

The age group waves were beginning to blend together. We were catching those in front of us and a few from behind were passing us. That trek back to shore was refreshing. My feet were cold, but I felt as though the most difficult part of the day was over. Riding and running wouldn't be so bad after all that....


Ironbolus said...

Man - I got chills just reading about your coach telling you that you represent the US; how freaking awesome was that - can't wait to read the rest! And welcome back.

Brett P said...

This is a good read. I'm looking forward to reading more. You're awesome!

Anonymous said...

Damn...jellyfish yeah? PLUS whitecaps? And aggressive girls..sounds like a helluva a way to start your morning. Awesome bit...out of the drink..upright soon!