so after some adventures and a quick visit/car trouble in fort collins we made it up for the race in canada.
about 2 hours late sadly. the first thing we saw on the road into town were... Pro Bikers! awesome. these guys all had the evil bitch bikes with the $10,000 setups. very fast. they were at the bottom of richter pass as we showed up. we could see the road heading straight up the pass but we didnt try to follow them, instead we headed downcourse to the starting area. all along the way there were bikers coming toward us. as we covered more miles and took more time off the clock the level of the bikes and riders went from freaky fast to just a lot faster than us. towards the end it looked like people we could even ride with. the last 20 or so looked like they were absolutely hating the idea of being in a triathlon. one guy who we called santa because of the 300 pounds and giant white beard looked pretty happy peddling along though.
we parked the RV and started walking the one mile to the start. at least the cop said one mile. turned out to be about 5 miles and we got about 80% of the way there when the pros started coming in. they were totally spread out as there are no teams and no drafting on the bikes. really cool to see them spread out rather than in a bunch. the first chick came in about position 9 or 10. only about 20mins or so behind the lead guy. she looked really strong. one of the guys at about position 20 or so slapped hands with everyone on the course as he went by.
after watching the guys arrive for about an hour we decided maybe we should have a beer. when we came back out, it was more normal people. actually normal people being those that could run a marathon in like 3:30 hours rather than the insane people earlier. we watched them run out of town and followed them 5 miles back to the car. saw all kinds. fat. skinny. fast and really slow. some people are bikers and fat and dont look good on the run portion, others were bad on the bike and were pretty much sprinting on the run now.
we parked the RV and set up for a few hours then headed back to the start line to do our volunteer work. we got to hand out Tshirts to the finishers from 8 to midnight. so if you ran this race, and finished then, we saw you. i would guess you didnt see us as most people could hardly walk at the end. :-)
what stories i could tell about those 4 hours. before hand we thought it would be pretty hard on us with all the people coming in. but after you see 20 people stumble, fall and then puke you kinda get used to it. the last hour the amount of people finally slowed down. the big groups came in trying to beat hour times. so at 14:49 there was a large group and at 15:59 another one. the 16:59 group never showed. only about 4 people finished in the last 10 minutes. the last guy was escourted over the line by the male and female winner earlier in the day. ( they probably flew to vegas and back during the race ) the last guy finished pretty darn close to cutoff, puked and we started packing up. sadly one more person finished but didnt get a finisher shirt after cutoff. also the 79 year old nun ran in with about 4 minutes to spare. oldest finisher ever. next year we might very well finish arm in arm with the first ever 80 year to do it. another set of two people finished at about 16:30 and the guy asked the chick to marry him. he had run the ring for the marathon. sadly the ring wouldnt fit on her swollen fingers. but she said yes anyway. :-0) another woman came in and started pumping fists and had the greatest grin on her face. she was an ironman.
it was emotional, the whole thing. amazing. we thought at the time it looked do-able. the people coming in at the end were obviously athletes. but not extreme. we were confident.
the next day we signed up. there was a line about 2000 people long and it started at 5 in the morning. we showed up about 9 and stood in line for about 4 hours. actually resa and sheila did, mark and i went looking at those high end bikes at a local store. $3000 would get me pretty focking fast i think.
so after 4 hours in line we signed up. they said volunteers needed to use a different line. you didnt have to wait. it was empty. so.... uh.... well. anyway we are signed up.
for ironman. 350 days to go.