Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On the road – Half Ironman Weekend

October 3-4, 2014

FRIDAY, October 3rd:  We left the house between 11:00AM & 11:30AM.  We never stated a time that we wanted to leave by but I have a feeling we left later than he wanted but he had to attend a meeting at 9:00AM downtown so not much we could do about it.  And before we even got on the interstate, we stopped at Jimmy John’s for my husband to get some lunch.  We weren't in any sort of a hurry and didn’t have to be in St Louis (technically Ballwin, MO) by any particular time so it was refreshing that we could just take our time and stop whenever we needed/wanted to.  We stopped once so that I could take over driving duties and then stopped about an hour later so that the husband could take over for the final leg. 

It rained off and on the entire time but other than that it was a fairly uneventful drive.  As we got closer to the Illinois/Missouri border, my husband dialed up OnStar to get final directions to his brother’s house.  This surprised me because he’s been there a million times (slight exaggeration) and then when it told him to go a particular direction, he thought it was incorrect – or not the most direct route – and ignored it.  Thus we suddenly were on the way to Kansas City.  But we were able to get off the interstate at the next exit, called OnStar again – this time FOLLOWING the directions – and were back on track. 

Lovely weather we’re having, huh?

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We arrived at M&J’s a little before 3:00PM their time.  We just lounged until J got home and then she put dinner in the oven.  As we were preparing our plates, I asked what was in the stuffed shells and she replied “meat.’  My husband said, “That’s gonna be a problem.” to which my SIL then dropped the F-bomb!  I don’t eat red meat or pork which she knew but had forgotten.  I wasn’t worried about it because it was more important that my husband get the food he needed but she was mortified that she had forgotten.  So the BIL fixed a piece of salmon for me.  It really was no big deal but we had a good laugh about it THE REST OF THE TIME!  Smile

It took everything we had to stay up and watch Dateline and then it was off to bed.  We wanted to be on the road by 9:30AM tomorrow.

SATURDAY, Oct. 4th: We were actually on the road by 9:00AM.  We needed to stop and get gas and a coffee but packet pickup was a little less than an hour away so again, no real rush.  The closer we started getting to our exit, we began seeing bike racks on the back of cars.  Either we’re all going the wrong way or the right way!

Packet pickup took place at the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary from 10:00AM – 4:00PM and the first athletes meeting was to start at 11:00AM.  Thank goodness the event wasn’t taking place on this day because it was CRAZY windy; up to 25mph gusts.2014, 10-04 (18)2014, 10-04 (30)

It looked like almost everyone had the same idea to get there early and attend the first meeting.  The line was super long and not moving very fast.  But eventually it was his turn.

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We then went ahead and grabbed a seat in the very small room where the athletes meeting was to take place.  Nearly all of the chairs were taken and people were sitting on the floor.  But I couldn’t believe that there was one participant in there with her three kids and each kid was sitting on a chair. Seriously?  The lady that was conducting the first part of the meeting eventually made those kids sit on the floor.  Pretty sure some fire codes were being broken with as many people that were in there.  Once the meeting was over we walked through the “expo” area and then it was on to T1 to check his bike.  He did find a pair of gloves at the expo and since he’d forgotten to bring some, he bought them there.  FORTY DOLLARS!   Ouch.

Normally bikes are racked by their seat but with it being so windy, most people were smart enough to rack via the handlebars and then they could switch it out in the morning.2014, 10-04 (28)2014, 10-04 (20)2014, 10-04 (27)

Then we walked down to check out the swim area.  Nice white caps!

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He wanted to drive a portion of the bike course but we weren't really figuring out what/where it was so we gave up and went into town to get some lunch.  2014, 10-04 (32)2014, 10-04 (35)This is the Clark Bridge crossing Illinois and Missouri and it spans the Mississippi River.  They would be biking across it and it was also the backdrop for the entire race.2014, 10-04 (37)2014, 10-04 (42)

We grabbed a quick bite at Subway and since our check-in time was still about an hour away we drove around and took in some sights.  However there isn’t THAT much to see in Alton so we drove to the Bed and Breakfast and waited in the parlor while our room was still being prepared.

We were staying at the Beall Mansion. You can read more about it HERE. 

2014, 10-04 (52)2014, 10-04 (50)Surprisingly, I didn’t take many pictures of this place.  Maybe that speaks to the fact that while it was nice and very different from any place we’ve ever stayed before, it didn’t “WOW” me that much.  The common rooms on the first floor were cluttered with may too many things and plants.  We both thought all of that took away from the beauty of the old home.  Our room had a balcony but it was so cold and windy that we didn’t use it.  I was anxious to use the whirlpool bathtub but sadly never used that either.  This bed was so high that I thought I might have to use that chair to get into it but eventually discovered that I could just step on the side board and boost myself up there. 2014, 10-04 (45)

Eventually we were able to get up to our room and after getting most of our stuff situated we decided to take a nap.  After an hour of rest, it was time to get some dinner.  It was recommended that we go to Princivalli's Café which was not far from the B&B.  This was a pretty good choice, we were there early enough to beat the evening dinner rush and the food was pretty good.  I had the manicotti and my husband ordered spaghetti and meatballs.  We also had some garlic cheese bread which was VERY tasty.2014, 10-04 (55)

Then it was back to Beall Mansion to get the rest of his stuff ready for in the morning.  We watched football until it was time for lights out.

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