Adventures in Bend

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The less said about the weeks leading up to the race the better. Let’s just say that taper can be tough on both the taperer and taperee. But the big day finally arrived and we packed up the Element and headed to Bend. There was a brief stop in Portland to have lunch, but it’s a pretty long drive. It was T’s 45th birthday, so we celebrated at a great Mexican place.

Bend-BdayT

The food was fantastic, as were the cocktails. We finished the night off at a whiskey bar around the corner. Delicious!

The next morning was all about pre-race logistics. We picked up the boy’s packet and drove up to the lake to drop off his bike.

Bend-BikeDropoffWhile we were up there, I booked a site at the campground next to T1 so that we could drive up in the morning and not have to deal with the bus. Genius! The boy got to scout the bike course on our drive up and back, much to his chagrin. (This is one long race!)

When we got back to Erin’s, the boy organized his stuff and then headed off to his pre-race meeting while Erin & I took young Austin to the dog park. (Wally doesn’t get along with Erin’s dogs, so he had to stay back in Seattle.) Austin had a great time chasing birds and running around, with the occasional dog to sniff. He’s a simple dog.

That night we had a nice dinner with a friend of Erin & David. Later in the evening, the Canadians (Khai, Andy and Phil) showed up, fresh from their nine-hour drive. It was a fun boisterous evening filled with delicious food and drink. Then early to bed!

In his typical infuriating fashion, T slept like a log. I, of course, hardly slept at all. (And I’m not even racing!) At 0-dark-thirty, the alarm went off and it was time to get this show on the road. Erin was kind enough to accompany us to cheer T on. I loaded up the cooler with some food and lots of coffee and we hit the road. We left extra-early because I was nervous about them shutting the road to the campground and it was very dark and quiet as we drove out. I think we beat all of the race buses because there didn’t seem to be any other racers there.

It was pretty cold, so we spent some time in the car with the heater running. Then it was time for the boy to get ready to race. Erin & I set up some chairs along the lake. It was shaping up to be a beautiful day:

Bend-Lake

And this little nectarine was having a great time meeting all of the athletes:

Bend-Austin

Erin was nice enough to take a pre-race family pic of us:

Bend-FamilyPortraitThen it was time for the boy to get in the water and swim 3.1 miles. Or 5k for the metric peeps. It’s a crazy long swim in any system.

Bend-SwimAndyPants showed up and hung out with us before her race. She was in the water after T started and out well before he finished:

Bend-AndyPants

The course is two loops, so we had a chance to see T come out of the water and get heckled by the race announcer:

Bend-TSwim

And enjoy his jaunty turning style:

Bend-Swim2Erin’s giant cowbell was very popular, especially with Austin:

Bend-AustinErin

Toward the end of T’s swim, we looked up to see a familiar pair of faces. Susan and Joe had come up to cheer T on. Complete with signs:

Bend-SusanSigns

At this point, this was what spectating the race looked like:

Bend-Lake2

But Susan spotted him coming in, so we had a little warning. (Yet somehow I didn’t get a picture of him finishing the swim… ) By that time, the race announcer knew all of us by name, so there was a raucous round of chanting as T came out of the water. He looked good as he headed to the change tent. Meanwhile, the cheering section had time to get set up for round two:

Bend-CheeringSection

And despite our heckling, (or maybe because of it), he made good time and was off onto leg two of the big crazy race:

Bend-TbikeStartI think this is a good time to end part one, lest we end up with the world’s longest post. Stay tuned for the rest of the VERY long race story…

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