October 5, 2014
This was the inaugural year for this event and it fit right in with my husband’s Ironman training program. You can read the specifics about the event HERE.
Aside from his first full Ironman, this was the only other time he had to check his bike the night before. It is also the only triathlon that we’ve been part of where T1 and T2 were in separate places.
Since we were staying close to where the event would finish, we were able to “sleep in” until 5:30AM. It was a chilly morning but thankfully the wind was not gusty like it was on Saturday.
We got to the Finish Line/T2 area within 10 minutes. He went over and set up T2, got his body marking done and then we went back to the truck to stay warm until it was closer to the time for him to get on the athletes shuttle.
Daylight began to break on the horizon and it was time for him to get in line.
Once he was on the trolley, I walked around and took a few pictures before heading back to the B&B.
There were a few folks in the kitchen at the B&B having breakfast, so I toasted a couple of waffles and sat down with them. I met a lady whose husband was also doing the event and then another guy came in and his wife was also a participant. We were the triathlon widows! We all sat there and talked for quite a bit but then I went upstairs and crawled back in bed for an hour. Since there really wasn’t anyway for me to see him start the swim and then transition to the bike, I had plenty of time so it was a relaxing morning for me.
He had given me time frames of how long he thought each discipline would take him but I wanted to get to T2 in plenty of time. Just like earlier this morning, I sat in the truck for a little bit because I was really there too early. The sun had come out but it was still “cool” (55 degrees) at 11:00AM. I hoped he was warm enough out there on the bike. Took a screen shot of the forecast for what the rest of the day would hold.
From a distance…all cyclists look the same. With helmets on you cant even tell if it’s a guy or girl coming at you until they are close. I did have one advantage with trying to identify him from a distance – he was bundled up. I knew if I saw skin on a cyclist, that wasn't MY athlete. Eventually I saw my Nanook of the North come in.
As he came out of transition ready to start the run, I ran with him for a bit. He said that the swim was so cold that he could barely change into his bike clothes. His fingers were frozen. He said the water temp was only 59 degrees. WHAT!?!?! Hopefully running and being in the sunshine would warm him up. He was then off to tackle the half marathon portion.
I stayed out and cheered on some of the athletes for awhile but then went back to the truck to eat my lunch. When I thought it was close to the time for him to finish, I went to the top of the “hill” because I thought that the bridge in the background would make a good photo. Again – not as bad as when they are on the bike but – from a distance its difficult to tell the athletes apart. But I saw him coming toward me and (mostly) got the shot I was hoping for.
From here, he didn’t have further to go but it wasn’t a straight shot so I was hoping that I could run down the hill and get to the finish line just before he would so I could get a photo of him there as well. Bad thing was that I really had to pee. But I made it just in time to take a picture before he crossed…without peeing my pants!
As I was standing next to the volunteers handing out the medals I said “Here comes my athlete” and she let me be the one to give him his medal and took a picture for me. YAY! Thanks volunteer.
He grabbed some food and sat for a little bit but couldn’t stop talking about how cold the swim was. He wasn’t very satisfied with his overall finish time but he FINISHED and he is a stud in my book. He then let me take a few “finishers” photos of him.
Then it was time to load everything up and head back to the Beall Mansion (our Bed & Breakfast) so he could shower and take a quick nap.
Initially we went to Fast Eddie’s for dinner. Everyone talked about how fun it is. But as far as we were concerned it was a mess. You had to stand in line to order your food and then they would call your name and you had to go back up to get it. You could barely hear the announcements (names or ticket numbers) over the loud speaker. We got a table and ordered drinks; tea for me & a beer for him but once we finished them, we left. You had to pay as you went for drinks, cash only and the place was a dump! Luckily we had the restaurants list from the B&B in the car and found another place to go to. Perfect spot, Bluff City Grill. The food was awesome. Hello Tater Tots! And it wasn’t crowded or annoying. The perfect place to refuel and decompress. T3 ROCKS!
Overall this was a good event and had just a few hiccups for being the first time for it.