Friday, June 04, 2010

The storm before the storm

Today I joined the crazy people for the 7am swim along the race course. Because I'm essentially still on L.A. time it didn't feel too early.

I've been to other races where the swim course looks very daunting the first time you see the buoys in the water. I didn't feel that way at all this time. The course looked very doable. The only thing i noticed is that the buoys looked pretty far put from shore; that's a little creepy because if you have a problem, it's a long way back to dry land.

The first part of the swim was pretty cool. I can not stress enough just how clear the water is. I'm not sure how deep it got - 30 feet? 50 feet? - but there was never a time when I couldn't see the bottom. In L.A. we're lucky if we can see more than 5 feet below us.

Unfortunately, the water became pretty choppy along the far side of the course. With every stroke I was being lifted up in the air and then dropped back down again. I drank a fair amount of salt water, and much of that was the really gross way where you drink it through your nose. I was not enjoying the swim, and although I wasn't nervous about the swim beforehand, now I was.

Well maybe things would look brighter on the bike. That afternoon, we had to ride our bikes 7 miles from the hotel to the race start (it's a point-to-point race, ending back at the hotel.) The wind was intense. There were a few gusts that nearly blew me off the shoulder. And it was a HOT wind, like the waft you get when you open up an open to check on your batch of freshly baled chocolate chip cookies. Only without the smell.

When we got to the transition area there was a small registration canopy to check in your bike. We watched half of the tent essentially flip upside down from the wind - that didn't really help calm us for the race. The other big issue was the sun. I rode my bike there and then had to drop off my helmet with my bike. I had no hat, there was no shade, and it was actually a bit painful feeling the sun just beating down on my forehead. We had arranged to have cars drive us back to the hotel but I couldn't stand being outside waiting for anyone so I just jumped on a hotel shuttle in the parking lot. I had to wait about 15 minutes for it to leave but it was shaded and air conditioned and I was perfectly happy sitting there.

So, today I experienced rough ocean water, strong winds, and intense heat. Sounds like it should be a great race.    


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