Monday, June 7, 2010

Miami Nice Triathlon

Yesterday, my wife Salome & I did the Miami Nice Triathlon. Salome was signed up to do the sprint and I was registered for the Olympic distance. On our way south on I-95 from Fort Lauderdale to Miami at 5:00 AM, we came across the strange sight of a car doing a U-turn on the interstate. Since the highway is separated from Northbound traffic by a concrete barrier, we knew something was amiss. I was in the second lane from the left most lane, which turned out to be a lucky thing. About 100 yards further up the road was an SUV facing our direction about to make a U-turn right into our lane. Worse yet, there was a car in that left most lane heading toward the SUV. Our hearts jumped into our throats, I swerved slightly to the right and avoided the SUV. The car in the left lane hit it's brakes and was able to avoid a collision.

Once our hearts stopped racing and we could speak, I told my wife that this is the risk of early morning triathlon starts. We end up on the road at the same time that the most drunk Saturday night drivers are heading home. I figure the first car and the SUV entered the wrong way on the highway, realized their mistake, and were trying to turn around to get off the Interstate. Fortunately, no one was hurt. "It's a successful day no matter how we do in the triathlon," I say. "We survived the drunks on the way to the event."

As we are setting up our transition areas, we meet up with several friends. We are surprised to find our friend Ellen bringing her bike into transition as we didn't know she was racing. Turns out she had just got a new bike and decided last minute on Saturday to see if there were any slots open. Given that her new bike had a different gearing system, we talked her into using her old bike which she also had with her. As we help her with her set up and I inflate her tires, she mentions that the strangest thing happened to her on the drive down. It turns out she was the other vehicle heading towards the wrong-facing SUV. Wow, talk about a scary coincidence.

As we await the start of our waves, I run into a buddy, Eric, who had just completed his first Ironman event last month in St. George. As we are talking about his experience, I look at my watch and realize my heat is about to go off. I hustle through the gate area, cross the mate and the gun goes off. No time to get nervous, I run into the water and dive in. With all that rush to get to the start, I amazingly calm. I guess after the adrenaline dump of the almost car pile up, a late start isn't going to phase me.

I do my usual middle of the road swim, and exit the water in 38 minutes. I'm pretty efficient getting through transition and am out on Rickenbacker Causeway and climbing the Powell Bridge before I know it. While I expect a hot day, the self generated breeze of the bike keep things relatively good. While this course is my favorite tri course, there are a lot of newbies in the field that don't seem to know to get out of the left part of the road after a pass. I hate to sound like a course official or a know it all, but if I pass a biker on the right, we can both get penalties. I politely ask riders to pull right.

About 10 miles into the 25 mile ride, I find another example of bad riding. A rider is laying on the road next to a police car. As I ride by, I realize it's my friend Eric that I was talking with just before the start. Apparently, another rider cut too close in front of him and took him out. As I come back on the road after a turn around, I shout out his name as I pass back by. Eric, who is now sitting up turns his head on hearing his name. I then know he is mostly OK. On my second loop of the bike course, he and the police car are gone, so I know he is being given assistance.

As I drop the bike and head out for the run out of T2, I start to notice the heat. Not too bad, but I'm noticing that it's pretty toasty. Fortunately, the run course around Miami Marine Stadium is mostly a tree covered trail run, but there is about a 400 yard space that is uncovered. As I do my first of two 5K loops, I see our friend Tracey and then wife Salome on the run leg of their sprint tri. I also see another friend, Mandy, who is doing the Olympic distance. Knowing the heat index is supposed to be over 100 degrees, I take 2 cups of water at each water stop. One to drink and one to pour over my head to keep from overheating.

By the second lap, I'm really feeling the heat. On the return portion of the out and back leg, the water stations run out of cups. The volunteers allow us to pour water over our head and into our mouths directly from water jugs. As I make my way towards the finish, I think that it's a good thing this isn't a HIM. A hundred yards from the finish, Salome, Tracey and other friends are sitting under a shade tree and give me cheer. I do my best to give them a wave and a fist pump, but I really just want to get over that finish line. I cross an agonizing 10 seconds over 3 hours. Oh well, the heat had it's impact.

After crossing the finish line, I sit in the message tent and a volunteer pours a cup of water over my head. As I thank her, she asks if I'd like a massage. Normally, I wouldn't wait around for a massage as there is usually a long line waiting their turn. However, my angle of a volunteer directs me over to an open massage table and a minute later I'm getting a leg massage. Sweet end to a hot run. I thank both the masseur and the volunteer before leaving the tent.

After I meet up with Salome, we find out that our friend Ellen won 1st in her age division in the sprint. We stick around to watch Ellen get her award and cheer her as she walks to the podium for her award. Later that afternoon, I read on Facebook that buddy Eric is OK, except for some road rash. He posts that more importantly, his bike is OK. Thus, it was a hot and strange morning, but not one got too hurt. Congratulations to Ellen on her award. Eric, I hope your road rash heals quickly and you get back on the road soon.

Friend Ellen Itzler getting her 1st in age group award

Congratulations also go out to young Hannah Crayton, who participated in her first triathlon this Sunday in Anchorage Alaska as the swim leg of a relay team. Her friend Will had to do both the bike and run portions of the relay as the third member of the team had to bow out due to a soccer playoff. It looks like there might be another "Iron Will" in the making. Way to go Will!

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! what a day. Lots of bad kharma in the air between cars and bad bikers. I had a biker in front of me at St George that flew through a water stop and tried to grab three water bottles unsuccessfully on the fly. It was like land mines landing in front of me. You gotta love it.