I signed up for this?? Really! What the F@ck was I thinking?
This thought went through my head many, MANY times.
It was a long day that started off longer thanks to the rain and this little thing called lighting!
Apparently the Rangers thought that it would be unsafe for us to be swimming out there in the middle of a monsoon.
While we were waiting for the ‘all clear’, we froze our fins off. We were herded into the changing tents to preserve body heat.
Imagine…400 pent up athletes shoved into tents made for 40 people max. There were men in the women’s and women in the men. Now imagine that the full people are still out there swiming.
Finally, imagine that you are coming in from a looooong swim and as you hit the shore there are 400 people cheering you on, you grab your bag and run into the tent and strip down to 200 people hooting and hollering!
Imagine your best locker room fantasy! Now add Macca! (Well maybe that only works for the girls)
Somehow I think that the RD could sense a revolt happening (or a whole other scene on the girls side) and he found a clear moment in between the lightning to get the ranger to call the scene safe enough to swim.
HA! Safety! As if... don’t they know that we are triathletes? We laugh in the face of danger. We ride headlong into trouble. We run whether others fear to tread. We are electrified by the possibility of electricity. OK. That may be pushing it...
Regardless, they finally got the swim underway and I was able to latch on to someone’s feet all the way until the turnaround point. After that I was distracted by this weird tapping sound on my head and the feeling of water on my face. Every time I turned to breath, I would get a face full of water. What the heck? There was no wave, so what is going on?
It took me a good 10-15 breathes before I realized it was the rain. And it was raining H.A.R.D! After the rain left, it was the wind and then after the wind, it was the rain and then after the rain it was… the shore!
It was an eerie feeling to have your name called by strangers. At first I thought that I should know all these people but when I ran into T1 and the 5th person said my name I just figured it was one of the benefits of a well supported race. Nice volunteers!
Another great benefit? Wet suit strippers! It may be old school to you IM people, but for me it was awesome. Lay down and 2 seconds later, you're off and running wetsuit in hand!
Despite the help the strippers gave me, it was my socks that caused my undoing in the changing tent. I had chosen a double layer sock that would last me through the bike and the run. What I didn’t count on was that double layered meant double trouble for my waterlogged brain.
Maybe next time, I can skip the strippers and request some put-on-ers?
Some cool things about the ride?
I rode up the ramp chatting to another local. We laughed and made fun of our plight so that the hill that never ended didn’t feel soo bad.
Another cool thing? Reaching the top and slamming down that pedal. I went from 6 mph to 30 like nothing. I was enjoying the new wheels!
I was able to feel the speed like a pro out there; I also got my chance to act like a pro on the aid stations. Each aid station must have had 10+ people and you’d just call out your needs and someone would have it ready for you. Just snatch and go!
Awesome! No stopping. Just like the pros.
My Pro dream ended abruptly as I witnessed Macca climbing out of Northshore as I was descending into it. I then realized that the speed I felt on the downhill, he feels all the time.
What I would have loved to see was him climbing the 3 sisters. I am certain it would have been a thing of beauty. As it was, I was spared the agony of the sisters thanks to my family. They had shown up throughout the course cheering me on and they surprised me by being at the first hill.
Now with camera in hand, I HAD to look good climbing the hill. 'Smile pretty! No walking'.
Once I was past them, I figured that with the zoom on the camera, they’d be watching me climb the next one too, so better look good climbing that one too.
Finally the third hill. I’ll be able to relax on this one, right? No such luck as Nate and Bailey come flying down the hill dress as superman. Well maybe superman is a little too nice. How about dressed in a red cape, riding shorts, a sh!t eating grin and nothing else! To top it off, Nate was still wearing his heart strap. This picture was too much for me and I burst out laughing!
Thanks Nate and Bailey, you made that hill fun!
When I finally made it to T-2, I must have been in a coma. The last 6 miles, I just couldn't wait to get off the bike and when it finally came time to, I was totally unprepared.
I’m heading to the volunteer and I realize that I need to get off the bike soon. I try to do the cool thing and leave my shoes on the bike. I get one shoe unstrapped and pop out my foot when I suddenly realize, “I’m not going to make it”. If I don’t do something quick, I’m going to fall over and be laying on the side of the road in front of my family and 300 spectators!
At the last minute, I unclip and come to a complete stop. No professional hopping off the bike while it is still moving. No. It’s a complete stop and I am straddling my bike. My Garmin is still on the bike, my last minute items are still on the bike. I am a mess!
Finally, I makeshift my way enough to get off the bike and run up to the tent.
I am hobbling to the tent with my Garmin in one hand and my food in the other hand. I have one shoe on and one shoe off. I have this zoned out look on my face looking for directions. And about this time, I realize that the one foot that doesn’t have a shoe…it’s asleep!
I am a hot mess!
Nothing special in T2. Except I finally found some salts! Like an idiot I forgot mine at home and I have been looking everywhere for them. Luckily, the weather was cold and I was not in dire need, but I was so very happy to find them here.
At about mile 2-4, I realized what else I had left at home. A knee brace. Right about now my IT band started acting up.
Now you may see pictures of me and notice that I have a knee brace on. Well at this moment I was wishing that I had two. I had decided to wear one for the entire thing. I’ve had it on since the swim, through the bike and now onto the run. That knee felt great! It was the other knee that was feeling left out and wanted some attention. And why didn’t I have a knee brace on this knee? EGO! I had decided that I didn’t want to look that lame out there and be the ‘guy with both knees in braces’. Well, what is better? Be ‘that guy’ or be the guy who hobbles through the entire run?
Next time wear the brace (or toughen up those legs!)
I’ll tell you who didn’t look lame out there. Jason. Jason did the entire race in a wheelchair (minus the swim part!). He overcame obstacles that would have made lesser men cry. He persevered over hills that were an almost overwhelming struggle on the bike. He overcame the three sisters when most everybody was abandoning the bike and walking up them. He is awesome. As I ran through the small part of the run that had a 100 foot section of dirt, I witnessed Jason first hand struggling to make forward progress. I cheered him on and watched him grunt and struggle his way forward.
I was impress and inspired.
I was less impressed when he F-L-E-W by me at near the end of the run. He was sailing down the hill and my knees where buckling at every step.
Less impressed, but no less inspired. Way to go Jason!
I was also inspired by Frank’s (The RD) signs. Or perhaps inspired is not the correct word.
Motivated…to kick his butt!
At the end of the bike and all around the run, he placed little ‘motivational’ signs:
- For a good time, call Frank!
- When you get close to town call my cell…If I don’t answer, I am getting a massage!
- This hill is going to suck…so is the next one!
And my favorite:
- Damn, this burger tastes good!
The one sign I did find actually motivational was:
- Suck it up, buttercup!
For whatever reason, that one helped push me through.
Another motivational thing? The run through the District. It’s an area that has lots of nice restaurants and shops. Basically it’s a place full of people, especially for the race.
There is nothing like having a few hundred people you don’t know cheer you on. Or as I like to think of it, it was the “crap! Can’t stop running now, or I’ll look like a moron in front of all these people” time.
My last bit of motivation happened at mile 12.5. A friend/volunteer was directing foot traffic and passing out food.
“What do you need? Water, Gatorade? Or we have beer!”
Beer. Sweet nectar of the gods.
Yes, I had a beer at mile 12.5 Right in the middle of my race. It was truly motivational!
And now the part where JT will be pissed off at himself for not doing the Silverman because ‘it’s not an m-dot race’ - - - It was sponsored by MGD! You know what that means?? FREE BEER! The recovery tent was a happy place!
Overall, it was a great race for me. I met my swim goal, blew away my bike goal, and came relatively close to my run goal.
I kept going over the time goals in my head and no matter what I did, I could not realistically come up with a time less that 8. I know that others do it, but I couldn't imagine it. Not here. Not in Vegas. Not on these hills. Not at Silverman.
Imagine my happiness
I’ll come up with another report later on regarding the wheels but this one is already too long.
I just want to thank my family and especially the Mrs. for being there for me. It was great! There is nothing like having your family there for you.
Finally, a big congrats to Stef. She prevailed were I would have failed. I think I speak for a lot of people out there when I say Stef has more endurance and perseverance that most people in our community and that is saying a lot!
Congrats Stef, it took two years but you met your triathlon dreams! You earned it, every inch of the way!