For those of you who would like a shot at a $75.00 Saucony gift certificate from Online Shoes (www.onlineshoes.com), go to this post and leave me a story about the biggest affect your endurance sport has had on your life.
I realize the fewer entries the better, but I would like to ask my friends to spread the word on these final few days and lets get some more people into the drawing! If we don't get lots of participation, then the advertisers aren't going to keep doing these kinds of things!
At last we knew, our intrepid sherpa had dropped Dee Dee off at work, went for a trail run, cooked gumbo, and loaded up the car with Dee Dee's bike and race gear. Talk about busy, busy! I really needed a nap, but I knew it was highly unlikely. I made it to Dee Dee's work on time, and even dodged a traffic accident to make it happen. She popped out of her store at 4 PM, right on time, and we were off to Lake Lanier Islands!
Unfortunately, said sherpa forgot to bring directions to Lake Lanier coming in from the west. I wasn't worried though. There are three roads that run south to north, and each one connects to the road that leads to Lake Lanier Islands. Eventually, we reached Peachtree Industrial Blvd and headed north. Part of the race course is on this road, and Dee Dee enjoyed pointing out the nuances.
We arrived at packet pick up just after 5 PM. Dee Dee grabbed her stuff and spent a little bit of time in the expo doing some shopping. I picked up some 2XU compression sleeves, and Dee Dee opted to wait till after the race to pick out her race prize. We left the expo and headed over to the transition area to drop off Dee Dee's bike. Before racking, I pumped up the tires and checked everything over. While Dee Dee was racking her bike, I drooled over the pros bike in the first rack. They had some sweet sweet rides. With Dee Dee's bike safely parked, we left for the hotel and got checked in, then hurried over to Cumming to meet Kevin and Cathy for dinner.
It's always good to have someone local pick out a hole in the wall eatery to dine in. They have the BEST FOOD! (and beer too, evidently... Ed.) I was very happy to find that they had La Rossa on the menu there, one of my favorite beers!
See how happy I am? :-) We had a lovely dinner! Cathy and Kevin are such fun to hang out with. The food was good. The beer was good. The conversation was flowing. It doesn't get much better than that. After dinner, it was back to the hotel and ready for bed! With a little help from the beer, I was soon snoring away, although we have no proof of that (other than Dee Dee's word).
Around 10 PM, Dee Dee got frustrated with the kids running up and down the hall ways slamming doors. After two calls to the front desk, she finally jerked the door open and yelled at the little hellians to keep it down. After 10 to 15 more minutes of hushed voices and doors slamming, it finally quieted down. I told Dee Dee not to worry. She would be fine for tomorrow's race if she got no sleep at all! As for myself, I felt like I had woken up from a nap and had quite a bit of trouble getting back to sleep, but eventually, I did.
The alarm clock went off at 4:15 PM, and we were up and at'em. Dee Dee's wave was scheduled to go off shortly after 7 AM, and we needed to be there on TIME. I wanted to pull into the parking lot at quarter to six, and that is exactly what we did. I didn't count on having to walk a half a mile to transition, but hey, that's the way it worked out. We pulled in right behind Kevin and Cathy and walked with them down the road.
At transition, the body markers were out in force, and we looked for Sarah. We found her quickly and she proceeded to mark Dee Dee and Cathy (and I got a hug!).
Dee Dee and Cathy went inside transition to get set up, while Kevin and I went around the side of the fence to watch and take pictures.
Once Dee Dee had everything set up, it was time for the long walk down the beach.
Everybody gathered around the swim start, and it was amazing. Over nine hundred women were ready to get their tri on. While waiting for the race to start, I saw a familiar face pop up to the front of the line. It was none other than Missy from Tennessee! I had been keeping my eye out for her, but with ton's of chicas running around, I didn't have much hope. The bathing suit she was racing in certainly helped! LOL... I introduced Missy to Dee Dee and Cathy, and we all spent a few minutes chatting and keeping the nerves steady before the race start.
The professionals were there too: Mirinda Cafrae, Pip Taylor, Michellie Jones, Sam McGlone. It was truly amazing. Their body composition was to die for, hard core triathletes, indeed.
Pip Taylor returning from high fiving the front row of age groupers! Awesome!!
After a brief delay, the AFLAC duck counted down... three... two... one... AFLAC!! and they were off.
Cathy went off before Dee Dee, and once Dee Dee got under way, Kevin and I walked down the beach to the swim finish. About half way, we had three calls for help go off in the water, pretty much all at the same time. The life guards were on top of things and moved swiftly to assist the swimmers. Evidently, everything turned out just fine.
I managed to squeeze into a leeeetle space at the swim exit and waited for Dee Dee to come out of the water. Cathy had a really good swim. Kevin and I missed her entirely. It wasn't long before I saw Dee Dee make her way up the shore and snapped a good pic...
Dee Dee climbed the hill to transition. Kevin and I took off for the bike exit. We have a little experience with this race now. We knew what we had to do. I put the camera away and took out the video camera. I'll upload some video at a later date.
We watched rider after ride come down the hill out of transition. Again, we missed Cathy, but Dee Dee came out in short order. I barely had time to yell, "Go Dee Dee" before she went zooming by.
Then we waited. I figured it would take Dee Dee somewhere around an hour and fifteen minutes to do the ride, depending on how she was feeling. I was a tad bit surprised to finally see Dee Dee coming down the hill after an hour and a half.
She really didn't have time to train the way she would have liked, but she was out there getting it done, and I was so proud of her!! I got a little video of her coming back on the bike, and a good bit of her leaving the run exit. While Dee Dee was out on the run, Kevin and I positioned ourselves where we could see her coming back on the run, yet still beat her to the finish line.
Dee Dee was in good spirits on the way by, despite the rising heat. She even managed to smile. She was having a hell of a time with cramps, but was soldiering on like a true triathlete. I dashed back up the side walk and got some good video of Dee Dee coming through the finish. She raised her arms in triumph and crossed the finish line, a two-time Iron Girl finisher.
I hurried around the timing booth to grab Dee Dee at the finish line. She was having severe cramping and needed a few minutes to recover. Finally she felt like walking it out a little, and we wandered around the finish area. We ran into Marni and Katrine. Marni finished first in her age group, fifth overall amateur and eleventh overall female, including the pros. Katrine came in second in her age group behind Marni. Not a bad day for the girls from Florida et all!!!
We hung around a bit for the awards ceremony, then grabbed Dee Dee's bike and headed back to the car. On the way out, we ran into Missy again. She had a great race, finishing in the top 5%. We wished her a safe trip home before continuing our walk towards the car. Dee Dee ended up stopping just outside of transition and asked me to come back to pick her up. I walked back to the car. If I had been smart, I'd a rode her bike! LOL... Anways... I picked her up, took her home, helped her get her stuff out of the car and situated. It wasn't long before she was down for a nap. Me too :-)
Being a sherpa is hard work, but its fun, and I can't wait to do it again!