Since Brandon's started his recap and it's already super long and I don't feel like one HUGE blog post like I usually do ... I'm going to chop this up into pieces. Possibly just into pre-race, race and post-race, but possibly more. We'll see.
The Days Before
Usually before a race, taper week for me means "taking the week off." Given that this was going to be the biggest race of my life to date, I really didn't want to do that. I wanted to adhere as best as possible to the taper week part of the plan we were loosely following.
Still didn't work; still ended up taking most of the week off. *sigh* Not the WHOLE week which is a slight improvement, but most of it. Argh.
Mostly, I was trying not to get too nervous. I don't do too well when I try to psych myself up for competition; did it in college for hockey and I'd almost always be let down. I'd have too much nervous energy afterward or the event would fail to live up to the expectation I built up for it. I've learned over the years that I work best when relaxed and chill and, well, when I don't care. There's a reason I probably played my best hockey in drop-in.
For a race as big as this one, though, it's almost impossible to completely avoid the butterflies. I just tried to stave them off as much as I could.
Due to the ever-fabulous Kris and Mark coming into town, I took a whole four days off of work for the race weekend. Granted, when we do Ironman we'll have to take a whole week off, but this worked for now.
That being said, I was up about as early as I usually am for work on Friday so Brandon and I could pick up our friends from the airport. Mark had to work some, so we took him and Kris to a local coffee shop so they work. So we weren't too big of distractions, Brandon and I checked out the giant new IKEA near us (damn eye-sore).
We had a $4 breakfast that tasted every bit like a $4 breakfast. Yum.
Soon enough, it was time to collect Kris and Mark. We cached a little bit, headed to the house for a minute, checked them into their hotel so they could change, grabbed lunch and then went off for a mini tour of Denver (which included delicious, delicious ice cream).
Brandon and I had softball so unfortunately we had to drag them along, but they had fun cheering our very bad team and caching a bit as well.
By the time the game was done, they were tired from being up way too early in the morning, so we dropped them off at their hotel and then grabbed some food, running into a friend in the process.
After sleeping in a little (but not too much), we headed over to their hotel, ate breakfast with them there, checked them out, grabbed better coffee and went up to Boulder for the race expo and packet pick-up.
Traffic at the res was kind of a nightmare due to an IronKids series going on (i so want to do a 50yd swim! that's not even a swim! they just ran through the water!), but we parked by cars that had kids bikes that were better than ours. Seriously.
Anyway, packet pick-up went smoothly; we got our athlete bracelets, our swag bags (nice drawstring backpack thingy), tech Ts and race info. From there, it was off to check out the expo.
Brandon at the expo.
We did actually pay attention to the athlete information for a little while, making sure there wasn't anything we didn't already know (like the fact that the race back in the day was a full iron-distance (but not branded) race, with the bike going up to ft. collins. CRAZY). I then moseyed on into the merch tent as I had $50 to spend thanks to ironically winning a contest of Kris and Mark's on Facebook for their new company, UpTempo Race Management. I picked out a shirt for Brandon, a shirt for me, a new Spinervals DVD (woo coach troy) and another sticker for Brandon.
After merch, we wandered over to the PowerBar tent as we heard that pro triathlete Andy Potts (the 2010 winner of the race) would be signing autographs. We didn't much care about that, but we did want a picture and a chat, and boy howdy, did we get that. Andy talked at length about the bike course and some strategy to use on it. I'm not sure if I actually used the advice, but it was nice regardless.
With Andy Potts.
We were about done with the expo at that point, so we just decided to take a few pictures on the stage where awards would be given out the next day. Basically, we just wanted to look cool.
With Kris and Mark.
Race expo completed, I drove everybody up Olde Stage Road (monster hill from Boulder Peak); they all agreed that it would be horrible to ride up. (been there, done that.) Then it was off back down to Denver for a good meal of sushi power and pack up all of our crap.
While we were by no means rushed packing our stuff, I still felt marginally apprehensive doing so. I don't know why, though I did realize later there were a few things I did forget. Maybe that's where the apprehension was coming from; I don't know.
We were thinking of taking two cars, but knew that one would just end up being so much easier. Luckily Kris and Mark are good with bikes, because we dismantled both Bob and Melon to fit them, bags for all four of us plus the four of us in Fiona the Rav. Then it was off to downtown to cache a bit more
There is a cache right near here ...
and to take Kris and Mark (mostly mark) to Falling Rock Tap House so he could indulge in his inner beer nerd. After one drink apiece (and some fries), it was time to drive up to Superior so we could check in to our hotel.
Once we got on the Boulder Turnpike (right around the 12 hour mark to race time), Kris started asking us questions like, "What will you be doing in 12 hours?", helping us to visualize the next day and prep our race. It was a little weird, but helpful at the same time. As much as race days are so unpredictable, you can try to at least visualize a game plan for how you'd like things to go.
The rest of the night was spent checking in to the hotel and grabbing breakfast-for-dinner at the crappy, crappy IHOP made even crappier when we found out it opened at 6am the next day. As a result, we had to order extra food so we could attempt to shove something down our gullets the next day at 4:30am before heading into the race.
Later than it probably should have been but still at about normal time, it was lights out for the two soon-to-be-half-Ironmen and the best cheer squad known to mankind.