Whirlwind! Craziness! This weekend was WILD! On Friday Michelle and I were headed to Knoxville to Work for Rev3, but first we had a little 5 hour training ride with a 90 minute run off the bike. It was a hard training day, but there is no rest for the weary. We can sleep when we die! Fuel of choice after the 2 hour mark into the ride...Rice Krispie Treats...who needs gels, these work just as well!
Since United decided to pop us on a different flight and not tell us, we had an extra hour in the airport...in TERMINAL B...which is the best terminal...with shopping opportunities...which means...welll...I couldn't resist a new pair of Oakleys. I have a problem...I do realize this. And yes, that's us on the tarmac at DIA...because we flew in a teeny tiny plane, which makes PIC nervous. I did hold her hand in case you were wondering.
This was Rev3's American season opener in Knoxville, Tennessee. BIG T! I always think of the movie Blind Side when I am here. I want to say I love Knoxville, and 2 years ago when I came here to race I had a blast. Last year I spent 90% of my time either in Worlds Fair Park at the timing truck, or in a truck delivering aid station supplies, and this year I spent 95% of my time in the bottom floor of a parking garage. But let me say....it's the BEST parking garage I have ever had the pleasure of spending three days in!
This race Michelle and I were transition coordinators. No big, easy enough, we got this! Oh my LANTA...I am kidding. Ushering you all (yes I mean you all, I'm no longer a triathlete, after seeing how much work you all are, I QUIT) through the beast that is transition is no small feat.
The fact that you all don't lose half your stuff is beyond me. Michelle and I were given a parking garage, and told where the swim exit was and the run start was...from there on out...we had to make magic!
A Blank Canvas!
We figured out where everything could fit, 1000 bikes! We ran around that garage with the little rolly measure thingee about a zillion times. I made 5 different charts and finally we went with this layout.
At Rev3 you get your name on your bike rack. They are laminated with your name and your number. We really had fun stapling each one on. It's actually awesome because we get to see all the familiar names and we get giddy that they are arriving soon.
Bike check in! This is where we get to guide people to their racks, make sure they have bar end plugs, and explain the flow of transition about 1000 times. Okay, maybe 980 times...All the bikes are put to bed and we have REALLY REALLY diligent police officers guard the bikes all night. We were still nervous about this, so we were down there until late making sure that none of the WWE traffic was stepping into our transition. The officer put up a bunch of "police line, do not cross" tape and assured us that anyone who crossed the tape would have bigger problems, and then we felt like we could go catch a few hours of sleep.
One little problem. St. George was that day and I had 5 athletes racing. 3 of them made it to the finish line, and I just remember talking to Jen's husband Mark on the phone that night, and bawling to him because I was so tired, and because I was so proud that Jen had survived the hardest swim EVER and then the hardest bike on the hardest course, in 40mph wind. I cried and people asked if I was okay. Yes, just proud tears. Then I stayed up until my 3 athletes had made it to that finish line and shed a few more tears as I fell asleep.
Race morning. Oy, and I thought our jobs were pretty close to done. I mean, you set it up, and then they just go through it right? Not so much. Race day had me running around with literally not a single moment to spare. It was multitasking at it's finest from 4am until 1am the following day. Getting the pros through transition without crossing the AGers, making sure the AGers were taken care of all day, and keeping all those bikes safe throughout the day was no small task. Breakfast and lunch never happened and I didn't even miss the meals. No time to eat, just making sure everything went as well as we could make happen.
At the end of the day, just a few bikes remain and we are busy packing everything up. 12 bags of trash....ewwww. My hands were covered in gel, red bull, gatoraid...and pee. Yup, sugar and urine, that's what's left when all the triathletes head home. And yet, I loved every minute of it, because these are my people, and I love them all for their nerves, for their smiles, for their determination, and even for their oodles of leftover gel wrappers.
In the end, PIC1 and PIC2 made it through. It's great working in a capacity like this with Michelle because we are already so used to communicating with each other. I can just look at her and she knows what I'm thinking. It was a two girl job, and at the end of the day we would look at each other and say "I barely even talked to you, how are you, are you okay?"
What a weekend! The final hours are always the hardest as we pack up everything into the big trucks that will be driven across the county. It's like a puzzle fitting everything in and we are usually tired, and loopy and living on coke and coffee. But we are also content, because all the athletes made it through the day safely and we allowed people a platform to chase their dreams. We supported them to the best of our abilities and for that we can smile as we dig deep through those last hard hours.
I feel blessed that Rev3 has given me the opportunity to be on the other side of the table. Michelle and I were talking today about the hard work and we were discussing how nothing bad can come from the opportunity to put in hard work. As Ironman triathletes we train for a race that is hard, and any time we spend doing other hard things helps us learn more about ourselves. This weekend required a 3rd..4th...10th wind and so does Ironman oftentimes. Energy ebbs and flows but your attitude is always within your control and to see so many Rev3 staff with a smile on their face when I know they haven't slept in days, that's a valuable reminder!
Going up the Sunsphere was on my Bucket list this year. But unfortunately, I can honestly say I did not have a single spare 5 minutes with which to get it done. This was the closest I got to it at 1am on Monday morning, 7 hours before my flight departed back to Denver. Maybe next year...but I doubt it.
I was so proud of my athletes that raced this weekend. Some disapointments were had as StG was about as challenging as it gets. Audra lived to fight another day, you can read about that here. Emily did everything she could, every darn thing and I shed some tears when she didn't make the mile 65 cutoff like so many others. Jen had what was really a breakout performance for her. This one will go down in the books as a turning point in her quest to get back to Kona. She was strong like BULL. James, in his madness at chasing the Guiness World Record for 30 Ironman distance races in one year was just about the only person who was glad that the swim didn't get canceled (because it doesn't count for him when it does). 7 down for James! And Ron, oh Ron, he had a really great day out there. His determination and attitude can not be beat, he always races with style and this was no different. I'm really proud of his effort.
On the half side Katie learned a valuable lesson about staying positive, and also about putting too much nutrition down the hatch. Emily won her Age Group and was 6th amateur, and Paul finished his first 70.3 distance race. It was a hot day in Knoxville and they really had to be on their game. Also, Mike took 3rd in a 70.3 in Lisbon, and executed a stellar race. Mikki was back home running the Colorado Marathon and I'm proud that she dug deep through the rough patches. One of the coolest things ever...Emily's finisher medal fit inside her age group winner medal. I thought that was super neat.
I also want to give a huge shout out to Anthony (my big brother Beeson), Tyler, and Katie B. They are great friends from here and they all had stellar races at Knoxville! CDA is looking good for all of them!
After sleeping for 10 hours a night the last two nights I can feel the energy returning and my own drive to put in the long hours of training. I have 16.5 hours just on the bike this week and it will give me some good time to digest all that has happened over the last week. So many lessons to be learned, for me, and for those I guide. If you raced in Knoxville, congratulations, I hope you had a BLAST!