Ironman Austin 70.3 Part II – Salt Everything

It seems that Part I of this story created some suspense…plenty more where that came from. I could stretch this thing out for a while. I’m thinking at least 16 installments.

Today is my 39th birthday and I am celebrating my final year in my thirties by, um, yeah, blogging. Next year I’ll be in the 40 – 45 age group for triathlon, since USAT requires that you race according to the age you’ll be at the end of the year. That means for most of the year the age written on my leg is not my real age. I end up getting confused about how old I am and actually thought I was already 39. Always a nice surprise when you realize you’re younger than you thought. Of course this also means you’re old and forgetful.

Anyway, back to the story: After settling into our very nice rental abode – 4 bedrooms plus basement, 3.5 bathrooms, pool table, huge family room and kitchen – we got to work putting our bikes together. Traveling for a triathlon is such a major pain. For a marathon, you just pick your stuff up at the expo and you’re done. But for a tri you have to prepare for 3 sports. And then, if your race happens to have separate bike and run transition areas, you have to make sure you drop off everything at the right spot. Here are my color coded bags – green for the morning stuff that I want to have on me until the swim and then have transported to the finish, blue for the bike, and red for the run.

After breakfast Valerie and I went for a short ride to check our bikes were in working order, and then a 10 minute run to get our legs moving. Everything seemed fine, so we packed up the bikes and headed out.

We drove to Ludecke arena first so we could place our run bags at that transition. I was so well hydrated that, even though I had gone to the bathroom before we left the house, by the time we arrived at the arena 20 minutes later, I was in need of another pit stop. I literally had to run to the portapotty by T2. We spent several minutes working out the best way to hang our run bags from the racks. Tie it on and you might have trouble untying it, leave it too loose and it will blow off, especially as it was getting windier by the minute. I checked out other people’s bags and saw a guy who had just looped the string over the rack and then hooked it under the bag in between his shoes, so one shoe hung over either side of the string. I replicated his method and it worked great. We practiced getting the bag off a couple of times which was definitely easier than untying it.

Run bag before I found a better way to hang it

Then we had to stop by the expo because some idiot had forgotten to buy CO2 cartridges the day before. I didn’t think to pack them with my bike and you’re not supposed to take them on the plane, so I had to buy some. Later I made an even dumber move when I forgot to actually leave them with my bike when I racked it. Thankfully I found them in my bag that night and dropped them at T1 in the morning with my helmet.

Next, we drove over to Decker Lake to rack our bikes. It was getting really windy at this point and, even though my front wheel did touch the ground when my bike was racked (usually it hangs because my wheels are 650s), it was still swinging around a lot. So I racked it by the handlebars for the night, planning to switch it back to the seat in the morning. But of course because it was racked differently everyone next to me got confused and racked their bikes the wrong way, so I had to make them all switch their bikes the next day…made a lot of new friends…not.

Bikes safely racked, we headed over to the lake for a practice swim. Plan was to just swim out to the first bouy and back. We got out and back just fine, but then realized we should swim over to the last bouy so we could check out the swim exit. On the way to that bouy we encountered a lot of hydrilla near the shore. And of course as soon as you stopped and put your legs down, you got trapped in it. I realized what was happening when Valerie told me she was stuck, and told her to start swimming. Once your body is horizontal you only touch it with your hands. I’m actually glad we got stuck in it because when I felt it at the end of the actual swim I didn’t freak out.

ALL the way out THERE??!!!

Swim done, we headed off to find lunch. Before a long race you’re supposed to increase sodium intake to prevent dehydration and cramping issues. We were salting all our food but decided we needed a little extra. So we stopped at the trailer park we’d seen on Friday and each got a chicken and french fry pita from pitalicious. It was really good. We added salt to it, of course, then for good measure got some extra fries and salted those, too.

Valerie and Mike ordering from the pitalicious trailer

To be continued…


  1. I can’t wait for the next installment! I need more!

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