Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Monterrey race recap #1

Transition Area
You'll have to bear with me - this may be a long, rambling report! This was beyond a doubt the hardest thing I have done to date. But well worth it - it goes along with my mantra of doing something every day that scares me! This scared the crap out of me.

The adventure started early in the week when I took my bike to have it disassembled and packed in bike case. It was a good feeling knowing that I could check that off my to do list. The day before I left, I received a message from an online friend who had already arrived in Monterrey asking me if I could find a cable for him - TSA had zipped through his and one could not be found. It was an easy chore and then I headed home to finish packing. My flight wasn't super early but I had to leave the house about 7 am for the required two hour check-in. As far as flights go, all went smoothly and I sailed through customs in Mexico and caught a taxi to my hotel.
Aaron - my new friend from Wisconsin met me so I could give him the cable and he helped me get my bike put together. Except we hit a snag when I discovered I was missing the cap to my handlebars. Wow, that stressed me out!
I was able to reach Hernan at the Cycling Boutique bike shop and he assured me we could get everything taken care of in the morning. There was not a lot left to do except find a place to eat dinner. The hotel staff recommended a place so away in the cab we went. It wasn't exactly the best place for a pre-race dinner and I was so tired that I was barely able to eat anything. After dinner we discovered the spectacle in the front window.

The next day we took my bike to the bike shop and they took great care of me and I was able to breathe a deep sigh of relief. Aaron also got his bike/cable put back in working order. We were able to head to the expo just across the street. It was mostly easy to communicate with everyone but anytime we heard English being spoken, it was like a magnet! We met MaryEllen, Barbi & Bill from the Dallas area and then some folks from New Hampshire.

The expo was a little unorganized but flowed okay if not a little slow. The IM 70.3 merchandise had not cleared customs so the store did not open until later in the day.

A few weeks prior to the race, I had been introduced through FaceBook to a Monterrey resident tri coach by a mutual friend. Milo turned out to be my saving grace! He was so nice and helpful and he was who introduced me to the bike mechanic and offered to help in any way he could. It was fun to find him at the expo and give him a big hug! Their tri club had over a hundred athletes competing on Sunday.

Aaron and I took out bikes out for about thirty minutes within the park loop so we could rest assured that everything was in good working order.  Dinner plans were made with the Texas folks and we were to meet up with some of their other friends at the Sierra Madre Brewing Company downtown. We met Tori from Connecticut and Rich from Texas for pizza, drinks and lots of laughter. It was the first half ironman distance for Tori, Barbi and me so we talked a lot about this.

I was able to sleep much better that night knowing my bike was working. A group swim was planned for Saturday morning. The race swim is in a man made canal and no swimming is allowed except during competition. It helped to calm my nerves to get in the water to know what to expect. It was like swimming in a giant pool - the water was about 68-70 degrees so it was wetsuit legal.

Afterwards, we headed to the English speaking athlete meeting. There was some conflicting information so we wanted to make sure our questions were all answered. Of course, we met more "friends".  Questions all answered, we ate lunch and then I headed out for a quick pre-race run. I think the temperature hit mid-80's that day so it was a slow, tough run.

I'm going to wrap up this post at the end Saturday so I can write more detail of actual race day on the next post!