Take four friends, one epic road trip that lasted almost 16 hours and two cheap-ass hotel rooms, and what do you get?
Ironman 70.3 Race Weekend, of course!
Three sleeps to go…
First, it’s HOT. And terribly humid. Perspiration? What perspiration? I was sweating like a damn pig! And I huffed and puffed all the way up the stairs to our room. On the upside, we had two full days to acclimatise and were looking forward to seeing our friends.
Our first surprise of the evening was when we found out that the hotel we were staying at wasn’t planning on serving breakfast. “But we paid for breakfast!!!!” I explained in the calm yet authoritative voice of a <ahem> future Ironman. But no, there was to be no breakfast. Cue the fabulous Kelly from Focus on the Finish Line, who not only brought our bikes to East London, but also sorted out our breakfast issues and went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we were to be fed in the mornings for the rest of the long weekend.
I also felt a little doomy and gloomy as I already had a bit of bad luck during the day: When stopped at a road block it was discovered that my license disk was missing 🙁 It must have happened very recently as I’ve been stopped a few times over the festive season and never had any problems. Also, I don’t really look to make sure that it’s there as – well – I kinda expect that it should be there. Anyway, the traffic cop and I were wearing the same brand of watch, so after exchanging a few pleasantries about the pitfalls of having a white watch (the strap gets really ugly really soon), he decided to let me go (bless his soul) and told me to sort it out as soon as possible (yessir!!!).
In a second stroke of bad luck, some cash fell out of my pocket as we were walking from our hotel to the Engen shop around the corner to get hold of some kind of supper. I could only buy a yoghurt with the R7 change I had left in my pocket… some supper.
But overall we were really tired and were looking forward to some much deserved rest.
Two sleeps to go
I woke up this morning feeling a little sinussy after the yoghurt I had for supper last night. Kelly sent us to have breakfast at a nearby hotel, after which we walked down to Orient Beach for our official practice swim.
My usual solution of covering myself and the inside of my wetsuit with baby powder didn’t work this time, as I discovered, because of the humidity and heat that has me in a constant sweaty state. So, we went back to the tried and tested baby oil and vaseline, together with my nasty baby-bum-cream-and-wintergreen anti-chafe combo.
The swim was great and not scary at all. The water was clear, but not clear enough for me to see the drag on the ocean floor, so I didn’t get sea sick. YEAY. I just stuck to my game plan, relaxed and didn’t mind all the speedy pros passing me, and if everything goes according to plan I will finish the swim in under an hour. This theory will be put to the test tomorrow though, when we swim the full 1,9im course, so watch this space.
After the swim we went to register – which was quite a slick process – and then walked across the road to go to the Expo.
I was surprised to see how small it was (being used to the likes of the Cape Argus Lifecycle Expo) but Sofie got me an Ironman towel as a belated birthday present and we all got matching tops to remind us of our journey.
On the way out we were stopped by a dude from the local paper who interviewed the three of us. I don’t think he expected to get the kind of answers he got from us, but we kept him entertained for a while. I’m not sure what will finally appear in the paper tomorrow, but the interview went along the lines of:
Journo: “What made your training special?”
Us: “We became great friends. We laughed together. We cried together. We bled together. We even got stitches together! And you don’t have a choice but to become friends when you cry and puke in front of your team mates.”
Journo: “STITCHES? How many???”
Us: <looking at Sofie, who was the one to ACTUALLY get the stitches> “oh, only two. But there was a lot of blood!!”
I’m definitely buying the newspaper tomorrow. The slow-lane-three are famous at last!
Oh, and then we had the BEST. MILK SHAKE. EVER. at Friesland Milk Bar. Oh my word – the gang burst out laughing when my eyes rolled back in a state of complete bliss. I may have to go back on Monday to have some more. YUM!!!
The afternoon was a whirlwind of activity… having lunch, fetching our bikes, going to the race briefing and finally going to supper.
One sleep to go
OK, technically it’s still two sleeps as it’s just gone midnight…
Later today (as in, 8am), we’re scheduled to do another practice swim, followed by a special breakfast and a ride of the run course. I’m quite keen to go and see a movie and just chill for an hour or two until I have to go and rack my bike and hand in my race bags. Will see what the day holds.