Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ironman: T1

One of the highly-promoted features of Ironman Wisconsin is "you get to run up a spiral parking ramp designed by Frank Lloyd Wright!"

I live in a condo with a multi-level parking garage. I drive to work where I have a multi-level parking garage. In the evenings I go to the mall where there is a multi-level parking garage. I don't care if Michelangelo designed it, parking garages don't impress me and the whole running-up-the-ramp thing was a big nothing.

I was ahead of schedule coming out the swim, so I intentionally took it a little easy going through T1: better to go through it smart than to rush through it and miss something. Transition in Wisconsin is a little weird; after you run up the parking garage ramp, you have to go inside the convention center to the actual transition area. So people are running through hallways and slipping in and out of spandex in the same room where the Sisters of Devine Charity will be holding their annual reunion the next day. It just doesn't feel right.

One nice thing about being slow in the water is that it's very easy to find your transition bag. Many of them were already out of the room, so I just pointed it out to the volunteer- THAT one. There were not a lot of people in the changing room, yet it still felt crowded. Something about the flow through the room was just ... off ... somehow. In Coeur d'Alene, I had a volunteer dedicated to me; he stayed with me the entire time, which actually was a little annoying because he was almost TOO helpful. I just wanted to time to focus. In Wisconsin, it seemed like they were taking a zoned-defense approach, with one volunteer supporting 2 or 3 people at a time. Ultimately it seemed to be ok, but I was a little nervous that my gear might get mixed up with someone else's bag. It worked, but it just felt more chaotic than it should have been.

From the Too-Much-Information Department: There's one thing I forgot to do before the race began, and I forgot to do it again in T1. I didn't put any body glide... down there. It wasn't going to be an issue during the bike, but it was going to be VERY important for the run. Let me tell you, for 112 miles I was chanting to myself "don't forget the glide in T2... don't forget the glide in T2..."

When you leave the building to go pick up your bike, there is a long line of port-a-potties. I figured I didn't want to stop along the bike and that I should take advantage of the opportunity. The odd thing was that there was a wall of cheering spectators maybe 20 feet away, and the plastic enclosure does all sorts of weird things with acoustics. It sounded like people were right outside the door, and I SWEAR I thought I could hear people screaming "Go Wedgie!" I knew that I was just mis-hearing things, but I have to say, when you're trying to do your business and you hear people screaming words of encouragement outside, it adds a bit of unnecessary pressure.

11:27 T1 time. That's pretty slow, even for Wisconsin which has a large Transition area and a reputation for slower times. But I didn't care. My Swim+T1 time was what I was expecting my Swim time to be, so I was happy to be starting the bike early.


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