Sunday, September 25, 2011

And another 70.3: This week it's Augusta

A week ago I updated the blog from dry and cool  New York state, and today I sweated my fanny off in hot and muggy Georgia. It was my final triathlon for the year, and what a race it was. Just imagine, close to 3,300 racers entered the Savannah River this morning, with goals as humble as simply finishing and as über as qualifying for next year's World Championship in Las Vegas.
Transition at 6:00 a.m., jam-packed with athletes

I had worked this event (then in its second year) for the first time last September. It had been a bad weekend, as I had left Judy in the hospital in Lubbock and her condition suddenly deteriorated so badly that I had to change my travel plans and head for the airport even before the awards had been started. It rained last year, and much of the race is still in a haze for me. For 2011, I was determined to enjoy Augusta's southern hospitality and get a btter idea of what this place is like.
You know you're in the South when you see tillandsia usneoides

To add a bit of fun to this trip I decided to take the Ritchey along so that I would get a chance to ride a few times. As it turned out, I was able to go for several rides just across the river, in South Carolina, where most of the bike course for the race is located. Smooth roads, beautiful countryside, and little traffic were a real bonus on these 30-mile jaunts.The bike also allowed me to monitor the Pro field during the run portion of the triathlon, especially useful since none of my other officials had brought bikes. While sitting on the motorcycle had been pleasant with the day's early 80-degree temperatures, riding the bike quickly showed me how brutal today's conditions really were. No wonder the medical tent was chock-full of poster children for heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Who says being a ref has to be boring? Checking the Pros...

The crew consisted mainly of the same officials as last year, plus the welcome addition of veteran Marty F. from Florida, with whom I had worked the San Juan race earlier this year. He and I get along superbly, and we share a common love for good beers. Nothing like the Terrapin Hopsecutioner, I tell you! Marty's wife, Lauren, drove to Augusta with two racing buddies, and all three finished their race, Lauren with a PR. All of us had dinner twice so that I really didn't spend much time holed up in my room in the Marriott.
Triathletes have a wicked sense of humor
It's a crazy world: Tomorrow I will fly back to Lubbock, try to bring order into my life for two short days, and then fly up to Colorado Springs (the upgrade cleared this afternoon!) for the 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championship, for which I am the chief. I doubt that it'll be another weekend with 98% humidity!

So long,


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