Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The sound of madness

Saturday was the annual Tri-Shark triathlon, which also marked my triumphant return to triathloning. I was going to go for the age group win, as usual, but then I decided it would be more fun to wear my pink birthday sash during the race – and the drag from that was obviously what cost me those 8 or 15 places. C’est la vie.

That night we go out for my birthday dinner, and I have my pre-race fuel of 2 amaretto stone sours. Read and learn, folks, read and learn. Of course, Sunday is the Udder Century, not a race per se, but if you’re not going to be in peak form and crushing others at ALL such events, then why bother?

After spending the night at my mom’s, Deanna and I wake up at some ridiculously early hour to get ready for the Udder. We step outside and.....what ho? It’s warm and muggy and NOT windy? Hmm – a sign of the apocalypse perhaps? Not to fear – by the time we get to Wild West Town, where the Udder starts, it’s about 20 degrees colder and windy. And then it starts raining. Of course. As we set out, I have a vision of IronSpud......

* * * * *
(cue Wayne’s World dootooloo music.....)

Scene: Ironman Coeur D’Alene has begun. Tasha has finished the swim, changed into her cycling clothes, and is sitting on a chair in transition, tapping her foot impatiently, looking at the sky.

Volunteer: Is something wrong, dear?
Tasha: I’m just waiting for the weather to improve a bit. I’m just not used to this, where I come from.
Volunteer, after a pause: Umm, this is the nicest weather we’ve had in a long time. Warm, not a cloud in the sky....
Tasha: Exactly! You see what I mean then! And then there’s the problem with the wind!
Volunteer: Wind? But......but there IS no wind today. It’s amazingly calm.
Tasha: Exactly! How can I be expected to race under these kinds of conditions?

* * * *

At the second aid station, I’m about to have my standard pb&j half, when out of the corner of my eye I spot.....donuts? Nestled in their box so invitingly? Now, normally my finely honed athletic self wouldn’t even think of fueling with such low-grade carbs, but since I’m planning on proving my theory that an ironman can be completed with only Timbits as sustenance, this bears further investigation. After ascertaining that they are indeed for riders, I pick out a jelly donut, which I eat only under duress, pillowy donuty marvel that it is. Yes, I know, the sacrifices I make for my sport – there’s no end to them. I’m happy to note no ill effects – and in fact, I ride pretty well for the next hour - so Timbits at IronSpud – it’s on.

Of course, as the ride continues, the wind continues to pick up. Deanna has long since decamped, having planned for a much shorter ride, so it’s just me and the elements. And the barking dogs, like the large black Doberman who comes running at my bike. A Doberman? Surely you jest. I admit, I laugh at him – “Come on, I rescue you guys for god’s sake!” – and like a typical ADD Dobe, he bounds off to chase a butterfly or something.

Now, at this point in the ride is where my mind comes totally unhinged - because I had planned to do an approximately 120 mile ride, and in spite of the crappy weather, I’m still planning that. To which I now say, what the hell? So I spend a lot of time looking at the maps and talking to the volunteers, trying to figure out the best place to tack on 20 miles, which is why after I add on my detour, I’m one of the last riders on the road, and the wind is really sucky now. So sucky, in fact, that while talking to other riders at the last aid station, I actually utter the following words: “Hills are great, just the greatest thing ever. I would take hills ANY DAY over this.” Clearly, madness this way lies.

And while I’m pleased that I got in another 110+ mile ride, I still have one pressing concern: the fact that I have yet to do a single lake swim, the short swim at Tri-Shark notwithstanding. Thus, this past Monday, even though it was yet another windy, blustery day, just 59 degrees, and according to the coastwatch site the Lake Michigan water temperature was 46 degrees......I decided I was going in. Fish or cut bait time. The water couldn’t really be THAT cold, could it??


t-odd said...

I just put together the "timbits" reference. Does anyone else find this funny in a 12 year old boy way? You know - "Tim's bits." Too obvious? Nice ride, I wish I could find the time and ambition to do a ride that long. It would probably do me good.

D said...

God damn it, Todd. Timbits are our religion. Don't fuck with our religion!

That box DEFINITELY has more than 20 in it. Oh man, I can't wait to have some Timbits!!!! How the hell am I gonna get them all the way to CDA without them arriving in mah bellay?