Monday, June 22, 2009

KANSAS IRONMAN 70.3-Pigs may not fly, but bikes do!

The weekend of June 13-14 a team of us went to Lawrence Kansas to compete in the Kansas Ironman 70.3 race. Our team name was 2 Non Blondes. (clever eh) Sometimes your race schedule as well as your life gets so hectic that you just need to throw in something FUN in the mix and take the pressure off. That's just what we hoped to accomplish by doing this event as a team. Joel, our cyclist, is a SUPER STUD on the bike (even though he will prob deny it.. he is pretty modest about his riding abilities) I tease him and call him Bling Bling Big Ring because he is so strong, he climbs very challenging hills easily in his big ring. I am very very impressed by this. Brent, our runner, is an absolute machine. I tease him about competing in about 8 events daily. He sometimes has races back to back and frequently does up to 5 or so training sessions a day. We were all looking forward to this weekend's race because we each were going to be doing our strength and would be there for support for our friend Leslie who was competitng in her first 70.3 event all on her own. To add to our fun, we decided to camp on the race site.

Our group of 6 met up at the Y to leave and consisted of 4 girls (2 of which were just there for the fun of it) and 2 guys. Brent drove Leslie, Melissa and Noelle down in his packed SUV while I rode down with Joel with his bike securely racked on his own car. We started our journey with pictures, of course and hit the road for our 4 hour drive to KS. Just as we got onto Highway 70 and passed Columbia, MO, Joel noticed how Leslie's bike was swinging a bit from Brent's rear hitch rack. He commented on how he was glad he decided to take his own car with his bike on his roof rack . We snapped a picture of Leslie's bike swinging and just about the same time, we heard this horrible noise and immediately noticed in the rear view mirror, Joel's entire bike STILL ATTACHED TO HIS ROOF RACK soaring through the air and landing on the middle of Highway 70. We both cried out something probably obscene, and noticed Brent doing his best not to hit the bike with his own car. Both cars pulled over as quickly as possible and we began the fastest sprint known to man. (Well, Ok.. I think this was the fastest I had ever run in my life.) As I was running, I thought to myself how glad I was that I had changed flip flops. When I originally got dressed I had on standard 'thong' type flip flops, and changed them into my Teva ones with some criss -cross type straps. Still flip flops none the less.

We pulled the bike off the road as cars were swerving to miss us and the bike and a HUGE tractor trailer type truck stopped short of smashing the bike. He waited there blocking the rest of traffic fortunately until we had the bike safetly moved off the road. After examining the bike, we were SHOCKED to see that the only visible damage was a pretty good sized scratch/ding in the handlebar, and something a tad askew with the deraileur. Joel was in utter shock that this happened because he had just taken his and another bike on a 3 state mountain tour about a month ago with no problems. This was definitely a FREAK accident. We all reveled in the possibilities of how the situation could have been much worse including one of us getting hit by a car as we ran down the highway to rescue the bike-still attached to the rack-laying in the middle of Highway 70.

I'll let you all take that in for a second.... we had to...


................. I know RIGHT.. HOLEY MOLEY!!!!!

Joel agreed to rack his bike behind Leslie's on Brent's rack and he put the rest of his own roof rack in the back of his car. At this point we all noticed that Leslie had some 'brownish' spot on her pants. We joked around with her forming all sorts of explanations for this but finally realized that the real culprit was from the mud my flip flops were kicking back up at her a we ran towards the aeroflying bike. That helped lighten the mood a bit.

We stopped shortly after at a gas station and Joel got on his bike to test it out to see if he could find anything else wrong. We saw no cracks in the frame and nothing seemed to be bent or out of alignment too bad. I thought some lottery tickets may help so I got a few and offered them to Joel to scratch but he declined because he 'doesnt gamble.'... SILLY BOY

I WON A HUNDRED BUCKS!!! How bout them apples!

When we got into the car I made a few calls and found a bike shop in Overland Park that was able to look at the bike for us. We made a small detour over and were totally WOW'ed by this place. It was called the BIKE SOURCE and it was like a mall for cyclists. It was the biggest bike store I had ever seen. We were like total kids in a candy store when we walked in with our eyes widened! We ran around looking at their apparrel, bikes, and they even had tri bike trainers. Melissa and I had to test those out and simulated a little race as Brent took pictures of that. This place ROCKED!!!!

While we were all playing, Joel took his bike over to the shop and had them fix the rear deraileur hanger for a measly $16. A BIKE COMES LOOSE FROM THE CAR, STILL ATTACHED TO THE RACK, FLIES THROUGH THE AIR AT 70MPH ON HIGHWAY 70 AND THE ONLY MAJOR DAMAGE COST $16??? WOWOWOWO WE WERE LUCKY. (note: Joel had to fork up money later to replace the carbon handle bars...but they were still rideable for race purposes).

After we left the Mall of Bike Stuff place, we stopped for lunch at Subway then hit the road again. When we got to the campground where the race was to take place we were warned ahead of time about the registration line so we dumped Leslie off to stand in line. Since she was competing on her own, she had more race nerves than the rest of us and wanted to make sure she had enough time to prepare for everything. We drove all over the stinking camp ground looking for the actual camp site because it seemed everyone there told us to go 'this way'.. nope.. you were supposed to go 'that way'. "Who told you to go this way.. you were supposed to go the other way." URGH. Finally we found the camp site and unloaded all of our gear, and put our Cheerleader/Support Team, Melissa and Noelle, to work setting up the tents. They were fast too. Brent, Joel and I went up to the registration line and met up with Leslie who was already a good ways ahead in line.

When we got up to the tables to pick up our packets, Joel and Leslie went down to check their bikes in and get body marked. Brent and I didn't realize that this was the only place they were doing body marking because we didn't have a bike to check in. When this was brought to our attention we asked the registration table if they could body mark us and they informed us that we had to walk ALL THE WAY down to the bike check in for this. Well this was not a short walk. We thought this was rediculous. Why couldnt someone with a sharpie just re-copy our numbers that were already written on our hands, onto our legs and arms?.. So I asked a lady if I could borrow her sharpie to write my name on my 'bag' and Brent and I wrote on each other. Well, I wrote numbers on Brent.. and I think Brent was showing off how smart he was and wrote my numbers in heiroglyphics. (Brent should have been a doctor with that handwriting).

Back at the tents, I had one of our Cheerleading/Support girls re-write legibly my numbers. :-)

It was about 6pm and we headed off to dinner while Leslie stayed back and opted for a liquid dinner and to take some personal time to chill and prepare mentally for her race. I think she was also enjoying the male scenery that surrounded us. ;-)

When we got to the restaurant, Paisano's, we met up with our party of 20, another party of 15, and another of 40. The place was packed with fellow racers from St. Louis. It was great to catch up and exchange well wishes for the next day's events.

On the way home, we stopped for some 'liquids' and then headed back to the campground. Apparently we got a little bit too loud and were shushed by a slightly miffed neighbor. Oops!

My chiropractor Adam and his friends were at the campsite just accross from ours so we went to hang otu with them for a while and seek some last minute care. Then off to bed by 10...only to find that one member of our group snores... LOUDLY. We giggled about this for a while until he quieted down and we eventually all fell asleep under the stars. ONLY TO BE WOKEN UP BY LIGTENING AND THUNDER at about 3am. This did not set well.

We were expecting the race to be delayed possibly due to weather. Fortunately the storm that was showing on the radar, passed right over us and everything began on time. We made our way down to the swim start and met up with a lot of other people from ST.Louis and exchanged nervous 'good luck's. I was just totally excited and not nervous at all. I had the easiest job of the day. Swim for a half hour and then be DONE. There was music blaring on the speakers and I was totally in my element, dancing around in my wetsuit waiting for the team wave to start.

WOW WAS THIS A BRUTAL SWIM. The water was reeeally cold and the waves were pretty choppy. I swallowed water no matter which way I turned my head. The team wave was last to go but we caught up with the waves that started ahead of us. At one point I passed a guy being pulled out of the water by a rescue boat. I felt bad for him. All this training, and you get pulled out at the swim. The other bad thing about this swim, was that since it was kind of foggy and overcast, you couldn't see the bouy's on the second side of the swim. They were a maroonish brownish color and blended in with everything so I had no idea if I was on course or off.

I got out, sprinted up to hand off my chip to Joel and he took off. We got a good lead on the other teams that were struggling on the swim also. Noelle, Melissa, Brent and I stayed down at the swim site to watch and cheer in the rest of the swimmers, and stayed until the very last one was out of the water. I was glad we did because it was pretty emotional. He was apparently a disabeld vet who had lost an arm. He got the biggest ovation from spectators and it really brought tears to my eyes and gave me goose bumps. What an amazing feat!

The gang at this point went up to go see what was going on in the rest of the race. By the time we stopped at the tent for a bit, and made our way up to the race site, some of the pro's were entering Bike In, and Run Out. We saw some pro men run past which was very exciting, then we got to see Chrissie Wellington!!! She is totally amazing. She always has a smile on her face, and the crowd absolutely loves her for it. She really looks like she is having fun and it makes me so happy to know that even the pro's enjoy doing this, and love the fan support.

At some point I obtained an Ironman Cowbell and went crazy with the cowbell as I was cheering all of the runners. I was having a TOTAL BLAST. I saw even more people from St. Louis and it made the race so much fun to watch. I started being silly with the runners and asking them all sorts of goofy questions as they ran passed. I got quite a few smiles, and 'thank you's' from them which just fueled my enthusiasm even more. Brent dissappeared and then reappared running right passed us.

THAT MEANT HOLY SMOKES JOEL FLEEEWWW thru this bike course. (And later we found out that only in true Joel form, he did it all in his big ring) IMPRESSIVE!! His time was only 1 minute off Chrissie Wellington's bike time. THAT IS TOTALLY AMAZING. With knowing we had a pretty decent swim, a stellar bike time, and Brent.. well he can run!.. we were excited to see how we would do over all and became a little more excited. OK.. WE WERE EXCITED.. U PICKIN UP ON THAT.? (well I was super excited).

Brent ran passed us on his last leg, and we stood our post to wait for Leslie to run by. We saw her run passed a few times and then as we turned around to go back to the campsite and watch her run passed us there, we saw Brent, finished and proudly wearing his finishers medal, walking towards us. OH NO.. WE MISSED HIS FINISH. But oh YAH.. that meant he rocked his part too.

Back at the campsite we waited for Leslie to run passed us and cheered on other competitors with our crazy cheering and 'more cowbell'-ing. If I had only had pom pom's I would have felt more complete. I saw a few friends and ran alongside them (in my running flip flops) and cheered them on to the finish line.

When Les crossed the finish line, we all ran up to cheer her in and hugged her in an emotional moment! We were so proud of her for doing this and even more because we knew and appreciated the struggles she had just endured to get to this point. Chrissie Wellington posed for a picture with all of us and that just topped the moment off like a cherry!

We relaxed afterwards, socialized, and then at some point went to see the posted results and realized that 2NON BLONDES had won the coed team division. I came bouncing back to the group extatic and told them the great news. It was really neat to get our award.. a yellow painted brick with a plaque on it. (get it.. Kansas, follow the yellow brick road...) Proudly we posed for more pictures and I goofily made a few versions myself.

We had a long ride back. I think we were all exhausted from emotion, and physical exertion.. wait.. I didn't do much.. ok mine was mostly from cheering and jumping. Hey.. I got a bit of a plyometric work out in????

All in all, it was such a positive emotional, exciting, fun, relaxing, meaningful trip. One of the definite highlights of my life so far. We fortunately have a ton of pictures from the trip that I can look thru for years to come.

Everyone needs a little fun sometimes, and to have a race like this where there is NO pressure was just what the coach ordered! It really made me excited for my 70.3 race the upcoming weekend.

Thx n Congrats to

and support cheerleaders
Noelle and Melissa

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