Friday, September 11, 2009

Ironman: pre-swims and rides

There is a small dark cloud hanging over Ironman Wisconsin; a couple weeks ago a local woman drowned in the lake while training for the race. Her photo is on the cover if the local free weekly paper all over town. And then on Wednesday, a second person was either swimming from his boat or fell overboard and went missing. He is presumed drowned.

In addition to that, there is a big algae outbreak which is killing the fish. We saw a huge dead fish washing up on shore Thursday. Today we went back down to the water to do our practice swim and Greg asked one of the lifeguards "did you guys get rid of the dead wish?" The lifeguard misheard him and said "the dead body? No, they still haven't found the body." So we are swimming in a lake with a dead body in there... somewhere. Nope, not creepy at all.

Apparently the water quality is pretty bad because of the algae. Now far be it from me NOT to complain about something, but here's how I see it: we normally do our swims in the Pacific Ocean. The water is cold and we are fighting the surf. We get tangled up in strands of seaweed 8 feet long. There are pools of who-knows-what-kind-of-sewage. In Madison, the lake is warm and smooth as glass so I'm thinking we never had it so good.

We did a complete loop of the course, a 1.2 mile swim. I did it in about 50 minutes, and I suspect with fatigue a second loop would take me 10 minutes longer. So that would put me at a 1:50 swim which is even slower than I was planning on but still way-within the race cut-off. I've convinced myself I'm not going to worry about it.

After the swim we decided to ride the bike course. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. Everything was wrong. For starters, on race day all the streets will be blocked off for us. But when during our ride, we had to hit the traffic lights and stop signs at just about every block. And there is a section of the course that takes us right through the heart of the college campus, so we had to fight our way through crowds of thousands of college students walking between classes. Add to that the fact that the course has many turns along it, and we kept getting lost. So we rode the 13.1 mile course, made several wrong turns, and got back to hotel having ridden less than 8 miles. You do the math. The one good thing about it is that we seemed to confirm that there aren't really any major hills to worry about, unless we skipped them during one of our missed turns.

That afternoon Stacey from EST took us out to Wal-Mart for a supplies-run. This was one of those monstrous "Super Wal-Mart" stores. I don't know if you've heard of the "People of Walmart" site, but while we were there I decided to make my own contribution:

Cheryl went to Walmart with us; she's in Madison to watch her husband race. She picked up a large dry-erase board so she can make signs and then change them throughout the day. Very clever. I may have to consider that for my next spectator race.

Various friends and family members of the Disney Team came into town and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named suggested a nearby Italian place for dinner. Apparently it is quite amusing to watch me custom-order dinner, but I don't think it's strange to want a plain chicken breast with no coating, no sauce; penne-shaped pasta- no sauce; salad-no dressing. And of course a Mountain Dew.


Blogger Athena Misty, aka "GeekGirl" said...

It looks like you're having BEAUTIFUL weather out there, Wedgie! I see that your bike splits are awesome, and you're on the run! Go Wedgie Go!

2:55 PM  
Blogger Steve Stenzel said...

I LOVE your "People of Walmart" submission!

It was GREAT to meet you!! Congrats on a GREAT race!! I'll be getting some photos fixed up over the next few days, so watch my blog for some photos and videos of the painfully fun day! CONGRATS AGAIN!!

6:17 PM  

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