Thursday, August 23, 2012

The eagle has landed.

"Now departing flight 362 to Louisville, KY." It's been a busy day to say the least.  I made the plane to Louisville will minimal hassle and without body cavity searches coming through TSA.  I did have to repack my bag at checkin for the flight to save $60 but for me it was completely worth it.   I had put too much gear in the bike box and needed to lose 8 lbs.  Let's just say all the training has been good for something since I hauled that weight around my backpack in the airport.

Me and Patrick
I should tell you now that I was excited to get on the plane like a lotto winner.  I met my friend Patrick and his wife Christy at the gate.  Patrick said he'd never seen my so excited.  I admit, I rarely get this excited about anything!  I want to swim, bike, and run in 90 degree temperatures until I finish or pass out from exhaustion!   But, as Patrick said getting on the plane, we're made of 'Iron'. If we need to go less than 3 miles we'll swim it.  80 miles is a short bike ride and 15 miles is like a walk in the park!

You could sense the excitement and anticipation of the event as soon as we stepped on the plane.  Patrick sat next to an Ironman veteran who had just missed qualifying for the world championships (the race you see on TV in Hawaii) that told him his recipe for shaving the precious minutes he would need to make it this time.  Before we backed out from the gate the pilot came on the intercom and announced, "Welcome aboard, we'll be arriving on time but it's taking just a bit longer to push off the gate because of all the bikes being loaded up.  Look around you because you're probably sitting next to an Ironman!"  I felt pretty cool sitting on the plane knowing I was one of those people. 

Good find Patrick!
The interesting thing is that when we landed in Louisville the anticipation was palpable.  It seemed like the whole city was buzzing about the event and the locals all knew about it.  They all shared words of encouragement and some, like the bellman at my hotel, shared tips & advise from years past.  "Make sure to stay center heading upriver to avoid the driftwood... My cousin got taken out by that.  It can end your day!" 

That's a lot of bike boxes
Ironman transition 2012
When we arrived in Louisville my bike was the very last one to come out from the baggage claim.  it was the first time I could really tell how many people were coming as part of the Colorado contingency.  I don't know this for a fact but I would have to guess that Colorado sends about as many people to Ironman's per capita as any state in the US.  There had to be 20-25 bikes packed on our flight alone.  Just to give you an idea there will be around 1,700 entrants for the event.  Once I got my bike I joined Patrick and Christy and we headed out in their rental car to grab a quick bite and then head down to the main transition area for the event.  They were already setting up for the event and we took time to scout out the "Great lawn" where this is at.  Once we were satisfied we jumped back in the car and took the next 2 hours to enjoy the beautiful blue sky sunset and scout the bike course of the race.  The scenery along this route is stunning.  It's acre after acre of fenced estates with horses, Kentucky bluegrass, impressing stone entries with tried drives, and pretty/old barns.  At first the terrain of the bike route seemed flat... but that changed in a hurry.  Between the umming and ahhing of the scenic views we began to realize... this course really hilly.  It also seemed exceptionally long since we hadn't been on it before.

By the time we finished our tour of the bike route it was nearly 8:30pm in Louisville.  Patrick and Christy dropped me off at the Brown hotel. I'm in the room unpacking now and enjoying a late night snack of pizza (I didn't think I would be hungry after a late lunch but the blogging must have stirred up an appetite).  Tomorrow I'll head over to registration and work on reconstructing my bike. 

No comments:

Post a Comment