Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Inspiration!

I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that I view my spectacular failure at the Half Ironman as an inspiration. Probably a bad thing. And yes, the Half Ironman was a massive, massive failure. I thought I was ready but I absolutely was not. Not logistically and not athletically. So, I guess let's back up to that part.

Jeremy (who was nice enough to come with me) and I left the apartment around 6:30am that Saturday (7/10) to catch the bus to Providence at 7:30am. I was kind of worried about getting my bike on board just because their policy, while it did allow for bikes, also included a caveat about the bus driver being able to put you on the next bus if there wasn't enough room in the cargo area. We got to Port Authority about 30 minutes early, but it ended up being a good thing because I was able to get the bike on without a hitch. Well, sort of. I guess you could call the bus driver's griping a hitch but overall it didn't impede my progress.

We got to Providence around 11:30 and headed straight for the convention center. I checked in and got all my stuff just fine, but soon realized that I would need to check my bike in at the start. This wouldn't have been a problem if the start had been within walking distance of downtown Providence instead of a 45 minute drive away. Alas. As you might imagine, this worried me a little bit since no bike meant no race and a complete waste of time and money. So Jeremy and I started frantically thinking of what to do. After finally deciding that renting a car was going to be the best bet, we left the convention early (in order to get a leg up on anyone else who might be as incompetent at planning as I) and headed over to the Avis across the street.

30 minutes and $70 later (damn under-25 fee) we were on the road to Roger Wheeler State Park. Fortunately for us, the day was nice and the drive was scenic. We had a little trouble finding Point Judith, but finally managed to get to T1. We had 15 minutes to park and check in the bike so I quickly pumped my tires and rode back and forth a few times making sure the gears were in passable shape. I then took it into the transition area and hung it up by its seat at my spot (1041). I was a little self conscious because the entire transition are was full of tri and expensive road bikes (LOTS of Cervelos). I don't think I saw a single other bike that didn't have proper pedals. More than anything, it finally gave me some inkling of how serious most of the racers were about the sport and made me want to be competitive as well.

After my bike was secured we headed back to downtown Providence to check into the hotel and drop off the car, which we'd had for approximately 3 hours. I have only nice things to say about the Hampton Inn in Providence. The room was nice (though I think anything with air conditioning would've pleased me by that point in the heat wave we'd had all week). We also had 50 more channels there than at home. AND there were free cookies in the lobby. How much more could you ask for, really?

Once we were checked in and the car dropped off, we walked to Providence's one (albeit nice) mall to eat and find me a liquid breakfast for Sunday. I got this idea from a triathlon podcast I've been listening to (TriTopics, if anyone is interested). It seemed brilliant to me as I tend to have...digestive difficulties before races.

A quick look at the mall directory revealed that there was a GNC near the mall entrance and a food court on the third floor. Needless to say we headed for the food court first. I read in a beginner triathlete forum that it's best to finish your last large meal before a race about 12 hours before the start and by that point it was about 5pm. The choices at the food court were mostly not triathlon friendly but at least there were lots of options. I ended up going for the standard bowl of spaghetti and tomato sauce. It's a safe option.

This is getting really long so I'm going to break it up into two parts. TO BE CONTINUED...

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