Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another race done—time to relax

It's Sunday night, I'm sitting on my balcony overlooking the Caribbean, and another race has come and gone.  And what a spectacular race it was! In many ways, this was the best 70.3 I have worked (and yes, that includes my all-time favorite, Vineman, which may still have an edge on sheer precision). The hundreds and hundreds of volunteers and especially spectators along the roads gave this race a lot of extra energy. The bike course was pretty, but the run course through old San Juan was simply spectacular (and very challenging).
It's easy to work the Pros on roads like this

Old Town is just as pretty as this tile work

The run course led all the way to the old fort
The venue was amazingly well prepared. Municipal workers had been laboring until the wee hours to repaint the stadium where transition (and our last Penalty Tent) was located, new pavement had been laid, and the place was just bustling with activity. It was a total joy to see all that exuberance. The Puerto Rican people were obviously very proud to showcase their island and what they have to offer. Here are a few more pics from the finish area.

Current World Champion Chris McCormack finishes the bike leg

With the seas in the background, an exuberant Puerto Rican athlete finishes ...

... while dozens of volunteers stand at the ready
After the race, it was time to relax, and the VIP party at the Hilton was a good place for Marty and me (Steve had left late in the afternoon) to continue to develop our friendship. What great guys these two USAT officials from Florida are. I stuck around the party with some of the WTC production crew, bonding and destroying a few more beers (and, I am sure, brain cells).

Sunday means "Beach Time" for Puerto Rican families
This morning it was time for a bike ride, and after getting up late I was on the road by 10:30 a.m. once again I rode east, along the shore, but farther than I had on my first day. (After the race yesterday, I had managed to sneak in another short ride after covering the run on my bike as well.) The gray, overcast skies soon cleared up, and it was a joy to see the blue Caribbean but also to ride through forested areas and ranch land that is populated by droopy-eared Brahma cattle and their buddies, the white egrets.

I was tempted to switch from the Ritchey ...
On the way back (can you believe it was at mile 42, the same mileage that sees us stop at Lakeway Liquor on our traditional Sunday ride in Lubbock?) I stopped at a tiny beach shack, El Balcon del Zumbalo, sat on the beach, drank three Medallas, and listened to the best salsa music I've ever heard. Oh, it was heaven! And a few miles down the road I stopped for a late lunch at one of the many eateries in the tiny little town of Loiza and had my second mofongo of the trip, this time with squid in garlic. Dang, life is good!

Mofongo con Pulpo Ajilo (mofongo is made of fried plantains)
And now I am sitting here, as I said, on the balcony, listening to the waves and updating the blog so that you can participate in my humble travels. I would have never thought all those years back when I took that USAT officiating clinic with Robbie T. that I would end up in such a cool place!

The Ritchey BreakAway is back in its suitcase, and most of my other stuff is packed. I won't fly out until about 11:30 tomorrow  morning, so no rush. It's highly unlikely that my upgrade request will make it through since the entire flight is booked—according to ExpertFlyer, not a single seat in any fare bucket is left over. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be able to stand it among the Kettles—especially when I think about the fact that in just one week I'll be back down here for a UCI race. Yeah!


1 comment:

  1. Looks like you are having an awesome time, makes me want to travel some.