Monday, July 23, 2007

Delavan Lake Tri Race Report

Author's Note: This started out as a list of what I've accomplished in my time as an MIA blogger. CATCH: #1 on the list turned into over 800 words. I decided that some stories just need to be told. So here you have it - my first tri of the 2007 season. Read it and weep. (I did.)

When: June 2nd
Where: Delavan, WI
What: Oly distance
Why: Pfft!

Morning nearly dawned. I was up at 3:45 AM, positively itching to race. I was on the road by 4:15.

Only to hit a deer. Or, more accurately, the deer hit me. I had stopped for it, but after loping across the highway in front of me, it decided that the grass was greener on the previous side, turned around, and ran into the driver's side of my car. Scared the living bejeezus out of me. On shaky legs, I got out of the car, determined that the car was still drivable, determined that I was still drive-able, and continued on. I had a race to do.

Packet pickup and prep were uneventful, and I was race-ready by 7AM. But the race wasn't ready for me. Or the other 200 athletes on the beach. So we stood there. Talking, pushing our toes around in the sand, craning our necks to see if the race director was off his phone yet and ready to start the race... at 7:27, we finally started.

The swim felt beautiful. No kicks, no thumps, no hyperventilating. I felt smooth, calm, and very connected. I came out of the water in 21 minutes and charged to my bike. This was Serra's first race of the year, and "excited" does not touch how I felt about trying out my new steed.

He was fast.

Every time I looked down at the Cateye we were over 20 MPH. I was flying. It felt great, sublime, superb -and lots of other adjectives - to be racing at last. I passed a lot of people, "good jobbing" my way through the masses. Then, the short course and the long course split off and the crowds thinned. At about mile 9 I saw another soul and passed him, taking the lead on open country roads. That's where it got interesting. I kept going straight down that road, watching for the teeny race signs that indicated turns.

I kept going straight down that road, watching for the teeny signs that indicated turns.
I saw open fields, blacktop, cows, people working in their yards.

I kept going straight down that road, watching for the teeny signs that indicated turns.
I rode through a town of about 300 souls. I looked behind me at the guy I had passed earlier. He was still following me. I slowed down and let him catch up to me. "Do you think we're still on course?" I asked him. "I haven't seen any signs," said he. So...

I kept going straight down that road, watching for the teeny signs that indicated turns.
I crossed the Illinois state line.
EEEEEEERK. Clue. I am off course.
Sh!t, Sh!t, Sh!t! Serra and I had been bookin', truckin', takin' no prisoners.
I turned around to see if Mr.-No-Signs-in-Sight was still behind me. NOPE. I'll never know when he bailed, but bail he did.

So Serra and I decided to go another mile to ensure that we did 25 miles total - on an out-and-back course - and turned around. Easy-peezy, right?

  • I tried following those teeny signs in reverse, and that turned out -- hopelessly. Soon, I no longer had any clue if I was coming or going (literally). And were those signs for the sprint or the oly?? I re-gave up and made it my goal to get back to the lake.
  • I stopped and asked for directions 3 times.
  • I slowed down and smelled the roses, ate all of my Clif and Gu, and laughed at myself. (Once I was done cursing.)
  • I made it back to the turn for the lake and saw the first volunteer that I'd seen in over 30 minutes. I came from the wrong direction and shouted so to her. She just nodded her head sympathetically and waved me in.
  • I had done 30.6 miles on a 25-mile course. And averaged 19.1 MPH. (No comment. About what "coulda been" or otherwise!)
  • I landed in the transition area and poured out my story of woe to my sag wagon friend. Only to hear other athletes singing my song: "I did 27 flippin' miles!" The volunteers, looking a little rueful and sheepish but still smiling -still volunteering - said that many bikers had gone off course.
  • Sag wagon friend commented, "Hey. I just counted. There were 19 turns in that 25 mile course."
  • Oh.
I took a deep breath and prepared to run the six 1-mile loops required to put a period at the end of this race. Then, I spied my timing chip laying in the grass next to my wetsuit. My timing chip that should have been on my ankle for the last hour and 35 minutes. That was it.

I picked up the chip, considering it, a crystalline idea plonking me over the head - some things are not meant to be. I turned the chip in at the finish line, thanked the volunteers (who offered me a case of water for my efforts), and went for a run with my friend by beautiful Lake Geneva.

So there you have it. The first installment of "What I've Accomplished Since Being an MIA Blogger." It ain't pretty, but it's true. My car no longer has the dent, I'm sure the deer has long since moved on to greener pastures, and I? Yes. Greener pastures and long days on a blue bike. More to come...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ninety Degrees

You sit in a 90° parking lot
sweating bullets
in a deer-crushed car
that allows only inches
of air
to blow over you
to cool your indecision

It is a 90° turn you are considering
an apartment
at a 30-mile distance
from him
from her
- the person that you were.

an open door
to ... What?
New vistas?

Times of loneliness?
Moments of regret, sadness?

And here I am.
In the new place
in a room of my own.
I did it.

I am here.
In the middle of all this.
I still have my self
- with a 90° difference -
in a spot of
cool light
and sweet spaces.

In a spot with
to explore
to be
to write

I am here.
I am home.