LET ME FIRST SAY THAT MY GOAL HERE WAS TO ABSOLUTELY CRUSH MY TEAMMATES. I DID NOT CARE IF THEY EVEN FINISHED UPRIGHT. I WANTED TO BEAT THEM, AND BEAT THEM BAD. KEVIN.
[BTW, the above was not written by Kevin. Chuck is going to miss the "administrator's edit" function]
OK, I am going to be the first to write post race simply because I have no pictures. That's right. None. Why you ask? Well, as my teammates can now clearly attest, sometimes Kev's head is squarely up his ass. But I digress. Here's my story...
Packed up and shipped out Friday for a pleasant flight. Tasha, Annette, Max and myself were all on this flight together. Sitting still for 4 hours plus sucks, but in anticipation of what we were in for, it was worth it. Landed in Oakland and a short cab ride later, we arrived at the Argonaut Hotel near the Fisherman's Warf and just a stroll down from the start on race day. Nicely planned, Chuck. The rooms were nice and having brought my own air mattress since there were 3 of us, I hit the floor. Chuck, I did notice the look of disappointment on your face when I said I'd rather sleep on the floor than with you. I'm sorry if your feelings were hurt. I thought it would take away from the race weekend experience if we woke up all spooning and cuddled up together ala Steve Martin and John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles".
"Where's your other hand?"
"In between two pillows, why?"
"Those AREN'T PILLOWS!"
Flat out, San Francisco is beautiful. The hills, the scenery, the colors, the water, beaches, bridges, Alcatraz... all really cool. I took it all in. So much so that at the end of the first day I was falling alsleep with my double Sambuka in front of me around 9:30. Glad I could provide you with the entertainment, team.
So exactly when did my head get lodged assward you ask? Well, #1, I forgot my camera at home. While I remember it every other moment, like taking the kids to the park, or family get togethers, do I remember to bring it on the once in a lifetime race/trip? of course not. Screw up #2... The Borat suit was to be shipped directly to the hotel, which it was, only to be sent back the same day by the hotel since my name was not on the guest registry. The room was in Chuck's name, and rather that hold onto a small package that would take up minimal space for a freakin day, they sent it back. So... no pictures of Kev in the promised Borat suit, though I will make up for it here in Chicago. Seeing as how the race coincided with San Francisco's Gay Pride weekend, I was not terribly diappointed that this mishap caused a rescheduling. Screw up #3... Tasha thoughtfully bought horns for everyone in the spirit of good fun. While i tended to everyone else's bike with the tools I brought from home, I totally forgot my Elmo horm and name plate to mount onto my bike. My appologies, Tasha. It was not intentional. Thus, on race day when Annette and Heather signaled to me on the bike course with thier hysterical sounding horns, and smiling at me much like the special ed kids do when being let outside to play on a warm, sunny day... I had nothing. Nothing but a smile and a wave and a breathy, "Woooho! Way to go!" Paultry, at best. Screw up #4. Kevin needs to look at the race course map before the race and know how many loops of whatever to ACTUALLY do. I missed a loop on the bike, resulting in a fantastic race to end with a DNF. Had I actually done that final loop I would have placed around 7th in my class. Not too shabby. Regardless of results, it was a great day with a spectacular view.
But back to the race start.
Hearded down the street in neoprene is always a good time. All 700 of us boarded the 2 ferry's that would take us to the start line after a good 1/2 mile walk, which got us nice and sweaty and provided a fantastic base for the chaffing that would come as a result. The racers on the ferry were a fun combination of seasoned vets and those who looked like they were about to hurl based on the looks on some faces. There was one guy near me who started to have a panick attack. I gently punched him in the gut, told him not to be such a big pussy, and to suck it up or I would call his mommy. No, not really... Actually everyone was really really cool and very encouraging of one another... so panick boy got back pats and shoulder rubs from racers around him, and he settled down quickly. I later saw him on the water and he was doing fine.
The swim was relaxed and I don't think we could have asked for a better day to do it. Ever mindful of sharks and other large things in the water, I was made a bit more nervous by the fact that you can really only see about 6 feet around you. That water is dirty. My heightened senses played a nice trick on me as at one point in the race I swam into a large clear pastic trash bag and just about crapped my wetsuit. "Holy... WTF is that!?" Phew... "just" a trash bag. In the the middle of the bay...
Transition 1 was smooth, and the 2.5 mile run to transition 2 seemed longer probably because it was straight and flat. The hills on the bike were killer, just killer. 3-5 mph going up. 40 mph coming down. It was in a fast decent on the backside downhill that I caught a large group and got flagged into transition with them. Its my fault for not knowing to do 3 loops, but a sign would have helped, too. Oh well.
The run was awesome. I would have liked to do that as a walk only becuase there were so many great sights. Golden Gate Bridge, the mountains, Alcatraz, Devils Island, The Bay, the trees, the homes in the hills, the beach, some naked guy on the beach (I did not see but seems most of the girls did), the cliffs we ran along. Awesome. Turned out to be a trail run, which made me miss Xterra this year, but overall an awesome experience. The sand ladder was tough, but not devastating. I finished the run strong, tapering up into a quick 6 miles and finishing strong. Wish I had just done that last loop on the bike.
Thanks to my team for making this a really fun and positive experience. We enjoyed many many laughs together, and I learned two very very important things. #1 - The proper term for that place in the male brain where lustful thoughts are kept for "later" is called the 'spank bank". Thank you MTV for that. Also a very big thanks to Dr. Chris - Heather's husband - who explained #2 - the orthopedic reasoning behind my love of women in high heels. Apparently, to adjust for positioning, the lower lumar region is jutted back thus forcing women to "throw thier ass out there". This was very helpful. Thank you again Dr. Chris. And thank you also to the many family and friends who thought of me and wished me well in the bay and barraged my cell phone with calls and text messages. It felt great to have your love and support.
This experience was a blast. I would do this again in a heartbeat. Most of all, I would encourage anyone reading this to get out to SF and try this. Maybe one day you'll be able to tell your kids and grandkids you "escpaed the Rock" too.