Grand Columbian: Pre-race Shenanigans

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I have a ton of great photos of the race, courtesy of the fabulous Ms. M, so I’m going to break the race report up into sections, lest it get ungodly long(er).

I woke up with the usual butterflies and went about my normal pre-race prep. It was funny having T getting ready for the race as well, but nice too. We all four headed over to the race start together, so that we wouldn’t have to go pick up a car later. Things at the race site were already in full swing, with the iron and ultra distances having started 2 and 3 hours earlier.

Most of the athletes were still in the water, so we could set up our stuff without getting in anyone’s way.

The transition area had these stupid bamboo poles that would bow under the weight of the bikes. (This was unfortunately not helped by the fact that they didn’t assign racks to anyone, other than by event, so there could be too many bikes on any given rack. One of them broke at the pre-race meeting, so I was concerned that I might come back to a pile of mess… )

We had to leave everything in our transition bags, so there wasn’t too much set-up to be done on the bike. I still made sure I knew where my rack was in relation to the changing tent/exit and all that…

It looks prettier in the Hipstamatic world:

It was chilly and I was nervous about my sleeveless wetsuit decision. But I hadn’t brought the long sleeve, so there was nothing to be done about it. T was nice enough to try to keep me warm.

An adorable pre-race photo:

Soon enough, it was time to head down to the lake. Most of the iron distance swimmers were out of the water, but there were still some ultra folks finishing up. (One of them breaststroked almost the whole 3.1 miles. He ended up getting pulled toward the end. It was crazy talk.) We got into our wetsuits, mostly for warmth and waited for a chance to get in the water for a warm-up. But first, one last Hipstamatic of T:

And on to the warm-up. Look how nice the lake looks. Hardly any chop at all…

So, here’s where my annoyance with the race organizers rears it’s ugly head again. Initally, T’s wave was supposed to go off at 9:00. Mine (along with the other women doing the race) was to go off at 9:05. At the last minute, they decided to have three waves based on your predicted swim time. Now, the problem with that was that we had all go over a timing mat so that they knew who was in which wave (because they’d done this at the last minute.) Unfortunately, the timing guys weren’t ready for it and it took approximately 8 minutes per wave to get everyone checked in and started.

I’d panicked and opted for the third wave with T, so that we didn’t have to worry about folks behind us. That was a mistake because it gave the wind about 20 minutes to pick up and the chop to get worse. But we did get the pleasure of watching T dance on the timing mat:

And then summarily teased by the race announcer. (That boy is such a ham!)

 

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