Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rev 3 Cedar Point - Pre-Race

If having things go wrong BEFORE a race is a good thing (better than during the race, right?), then the days leading up to Cedar Point were perfect.

The weeks leading up to the race were pretty hectic, including taking on a new job at work, so while I did my workouts, mentally I was not focused on Cedar Point. I didn't pack until late Wednesday night and I didn't have my usual lists and the like to guide me. The good news is that I was not obessissing about the race, the bad news was that mentally I was not "in the game".

We left Houston on Thursday morning on the 7:35 a.m. flight … but my bike took a side trip to Tampa before meeting us in Columbus.

See, Douglas and I completely underestimated the time required to park, take the shuttle, wait in line to check our bags and make it through security. Our “official” check-in time at the Southwest counter was 7:19 for our 7:35 a.m. flight, and that was before paying for my bike, getting our baggage claim tags and ultimately going through security.

When we checked in a loud buzzer went off warning us that we were checking in late and that our luggage might not make our flight. It was seriously loud and I would have been embarrassed if I was not panicked about missing our flight. When the agent handed us our boarding passes she told us to run once we got through security or we would likely miss our flight.

We made it to our gate at 7:30 and the plane was pulling away from the terminal at 7:35. Southwest does mess around! Luckily, I saw our bags make the flight … my bike, however, did not, although, we did not find that out until we arrived in Columbus at 12:25.

The Southwest team in Columbus was fantastic and told us exactly when we could expect my bike. Depending on which flight my bike took, we were told it would either arrive at 2:15 or 4:30 pm. Either way, we had time to kill, so we went to rent our car and grab some lunch.

The rental car agent gave us a great recommendation for an outdoor shopping and dining spot just a couple of miles from the airport called Easton, so we headed there and had lunch at Cosi (I wish we had one in Texas!) and walked around to kill some time. The weather was beautiful and it was actually nice to walk around after traveling for the entire morning and before getting into a car to drive for several hours. We got a call at 2:15 from the baggage crew letting us know that my bike had arrived so we headed back to the airport after grabbing some delicious yogurt from Yagoot (another thing I wish we had here)!

With that, we started the 2 hour trip to Sandusky and Cedar Point. We drove through small town USA, Ohio and reveled at the great scenery and made each other laugh – it was a great, albeit slow (speeds), trip.

We arrived at Cedar Point and checked into The Breakers (host hotel) and Douglas was immediately spooked. You know how there is almost always some sort of buzz at hotels – people coming and going, the check-in crew manning computers, etc. … well, not here, not Thursday night. The hotel was basically deserted and Doug said it reminded him of The Shining. It didn’t help that the hotel was decorated for Halloween. I, of course, preceded to harass him for the rest of the night – well, the rest of the trip – about his fear. Red rum, red rum …

After getting settled in we ventured out to find a good pizza joint, knowing that if we found a good place we would be repeat customers since I always eat pizza pre-race. We ended up at Chet and Matt’s and had stellar pizza – so good, we had it three nights in a row!

Friday morning we slept in and then went to expo to do packet pick up and check-in with Team Trakkers. The expo had some great give-a-ways and the race schwag was awesome -- plus, meeting so many of my teammates and seeing Coach Carole was icing on the cake.

So, Thursday my bike was missing. Friday, my rear tire went flat.

3 times.

Without riding it.

Seriously …

I started to freak out a bit. I had already purchased all of the 650 tubes All3Sports had in stock at the Expo and there was not much available in terms of 650 tires. I was pretty freaking frustrated.

Turns out the first two flats were due to a tiny poking, super thin sharp wire (tire ribbon maybe?) on the inside of the tire. After I removed it and changed the tire for the third time, I figured we were good to go. We grabbed lunch and checked out the run course only to see several hours later that the tire was flat AGAIN! Crap!
I was really nervous at this point. Did I need a new tire? What was causing the flats? Uggh.

Bike Authority was on hand and they checked out the tire and rim tape and felt like my wheel was ok and the tire did not need to be replaced, so they offered to change the tire and promised me that they would help me get to the bottom of the issue if it went flat again. They thought the 3rd flat was likely a pinch flat, which was not outside of the realm of possibility given that I had turned the tire inside out after changing it the second time and it didn’t go back on as smoothly as I would have liked. Ok, breathe, Anne.

After a great nutrition session with none other than THE Robert Kunz from First Endurance, it was time to hit Cedar Point for the Rev3 family night. I was determined not to worry about the tire while we were at the park. Carole asked me how I was feeling about the race and I responded in all sincerity, that I was more nervous about the rides at that moment!

The family night from 6 – 9 p.m. was beyond awesome. No lines at all for some of the best rides on the planet (seriously, they are on the list of tallest, fastest, best rides. Millennium Force – check. Top Thrill Dragster – check. By the time we had ridden all of the open rides I was actually starting to feel a bit nauseous (some of the rides are crazy!) and it was time for dinner. Team Trakkers stuck together for night and it was great to get to know them better as well.

Top Thrill Dragster ... 0 to 120 mph, straight up, straight down in 17 seconds!

Team Trakkers!

The other great thing is that the host hotel was at the park so we walked straight from the park to our room. It was great to lie down while Doug went to pick up more Chet and Matt pizza!

Saturday morning I let Douglas sleep in while I went to the practice swim. Lake Erie was pretty choppy and my practice swim left a lot to be desired, but I have long given up fretting about the swim. The conditions will be what they will be. After doing the Gulf Coast Tri in May 2009, I know I have swum in some pretty choppy water. Thankfully, the wind forecast for Sunday had the wind coming from the opposite direction and they were predicting calmer waters for Sunday.

I also ran into my blogger buddy, Mark -- Tri Dad of 5! It was so great to meet him and wish him well in person for his first 140.6

After my swim, Douglas and I decided to drive the bike course so I could see what was in store for Sunday and I also wanted to do my last bike ride on the course. We had so much fun chatting in the car on the route and stopping at a local orchard for some fresh apples and homemade just-out-of-the-oven apple fritters and blueberry muffins.

Thankfully, my back tire was still holding air so I did not have to stress about that on Saturday. After driving the course we went back to the Expo and Transition areas to turn in my bike and attend the athlete meeting. Then it was off to church and then back to … you guessed it … Chet and Matt’s for my pre-race pizza dinner.
After dinner it was back to the room to pack my transition and special needs bags. I feel asleep around 9:00 p.m. with 3 different alarms set for 4:30 a.m. and dreams of 140.6 in my head …


Ironman By Thirty said...

Glad to hear that you worked out all the kinks before race day. I can't even begin to think how stressed I would be about getting 3 flats prerace let alone during a race.

I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one who eats pizza for a prerace dinner. People think I'm crazy, but I love it and it works!

Steve Stenzel said...

Oh God! 3 flats would put my mind in a BAD place for race day! Hope you had a good one out there!!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Wow the 3 flats would freak me out too! aaagghhh!

Hey thanks for the tip on the LBS down on Dairy Ashford and Weistheimer. I stopped in a couple of weeks ago and they are going to be able to get the Felt B14 (the new Felts are hard to find) I want in and get me all fitted. Can't believe I have never been in there before?