Thursday, August 26, 2010

Calgary Pre-Race Report

Last year the pre-race logistics were a pain. Staying out of town, and with one car between my Mum and I made it even messier this year. I needed to register and pick up my race package at the Westin downtown then truck all the way out to Ghost Lake (about 90 km out of Calgary) to drop off my bike and my T2 bag, then head all the way back to the hotel.

I was quite cranky about the T2 bag, a change from last year, although on reflection all I needed to put in it was a hat, running shoes and a gel so it wasn't that big a deal. Unfortunately I hadn't planned ahead - I only had one hat with me and was suffering from terrible, terrible hat hair. I had to buy a hat at the expo so I didn't spend the remainder of the day terrifying small children and old ladies.

At Ghost Lake Mum left me to drop off my bike and headed out to take pictures. Things took a bit longer than planned as when I went to let the air out of my tires (the sound of exploding bike tires made the volunteers' suggestion to deflate mine much more convincing) the valve on my back tire broke. Changing the tire wasn't an issue but put me in a bit of a panic as I had decided, from some unknown reason, that I only needed to bring one spare tube for the race. A stupid decision, in retrospect, but easily solved.

Once my bike was set up, deflated and ready to go I left it with the minor panic I always feel when I have to drop off my bike a day in advance.

I wanted to do a quick swim and reacquaint myself with the lake. Putting on a wetsuit is a pain and I wasn't sure if it would dry out in time for the race the next day so I went in in just a bathing suit. This confirmed for me that the water was perfect for a wetsuit. It was very cold but I was only in for about 15 minutes and all the comments from racers struggling to get into their wetsuits made it worth it. I'll take my ego boosts wherever I can get 'em, thank you very much!

After that we made a quick detour into Cochrane to pick up spare tubes (I bought 3, taking my pre-race flat as an ominous sign) then back to Calgary.

Mum dropped me at the hotel, where I had to deal with nervous energy entirely on my own and in a foreign environment.

I figured I'd do take out from the hotel restaurant, the Keg, and had the following conversation:

Me: Can I order takeout?
Keg Phone Person: Absolutely!
Me: What kind of pasta dishes do you have?
KPP: We have no pasta.
Me: No pasta?
KPP: There is no pasta on the premises. [Obviously I wasn't the first person to ask.]
Me: You have a hotel full of triathletes and no pasta?
KPP: That's correct.

To be clear, this was the restaurant in the host hotel for the half iron. Hence my surprise.

Turns out there was an Old Spaghetti Factory behind the hotel to save the day. I got my pasta dinner, and paid a lot less than I would have at the Keg.

I was in a foul mood when I got back to my room, which went away as soon as I started to eat. I had tried to stay hydrated and fed throughout the day but obviously hadn't managed very well. Not a particularly good sign for the coming race but not surprising considering the logistics involved in the day.

Sated from dinner, I starting doing some math. My wave started at 6:30 and I wanted to get to transition by 5:30 which meant I'd have to catch the shuttle at 4:15 so I'd have to check out by 4:00 and I'd have to get up by (yikes!) 3:30. I laid out all my gear for the following day and made it a night at 7:30. Ooh the excitement of the triathlon lifestyle!

Race Day ... To be continued!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Quick Update

All right, all right a race report is coming. Just not quite yet.

I'm digging myself out from under laundry and various things left undone at home plus absolute chaos at work is leaving me a bit tired at the end of the day. Our server got tempermental while I was away and the day I got back it died entirely. Nothing like trying to deal with two weeks' worth of work plus a technology crisis (I'm to go-to person for tech stuff, however anything that requires more than a reboot is beyond my abilities to cure).

A quick summary of my trip:
Stayed in:
- Chilliwack
- Penticton
- Rossland
- Turner Valley
- Calgary
- Sorrento

Got lost leaving Phoenix, saw the house I lived in from 3 months to 3 years old, drove through the Crowsnest Pass for the first time in at least 30 years, discovered how truly beautiful Southern BC is, lost count of the number of passes and summits we drove through (are all passes summits and vice-versa??), was shocked by the extent of the forest fire smoke, and almost never ran out of things to talk about with my Mum.

I discovered the depths of rage my mother harbours towards slow moving motorhomes that don't move to the right when there's a passing lane. I'm not saying this isn't justified, but it was a bit surprising.

I visited with 14 relatives, 6 of whom 11 or younger. Swam with 4 of the six youngsters. Remarkably few of my 300+ photos, however, are of any of the relatives.

Stayed in a hotel, motel and B&B plus various spare rooms.

Got a throat infection, which sucked for many reasons - bad timing before my race, I didn't want to infect everyone we visited, and I didn't want to miss out on any of the visiting. Had respritory issues from the smoke once we passed Kamloops and I'm still not breathing normally (there's smoke in Vancouver too).

Somewhere along the way I also did a race. Despite the fact that the whole point of this trip was to get me to the race it ended up being the least interesting or fun part of the whole trip. Despite that, yes, you'll still get your race report. Just not today.