Thursday morning I arrived at the airport with my bike case prepared for a weekend of fun in California. I knew it was going to be a good weekend when the airline lady told me that the ticket was accidentally made in my mother’s name, but she wouldn’t mind changing it for me. This immediately flagged my ticket with SSSS, which stands for “Super Special Security Selection”. Then I found out that while she did change the name, my new name was “Denjamin Collins”, which the Quad S team thought was pretty funny. I thought this was a good travel story, but Chris Tremonte’s was far better. He can now tell you how to fly and rent a car when you forget your Driver’s license at home.
After a night in Tiburon with the Pokornies, Loren and I took to the road. It’s four hours from Tiburon to San Luis Obispo, but Loren drives fast. It was also pretty fun to play with my new Garmin Nuvi 270 handheld navigator. After race registration and a loosen up on the course, we went out for dinner with the girls from the Endurance PTC team, Kelly Couch and Lara Brown, along with Amanda Felder and Kelly’s husband, John (he’s a pro fan, if you ever want to know how to cheer, ask him.) I think the amount I laughed at dinner contributed a lot to how I raced the next day.
The swim was a two lap course in lake Lopez. I haven’t swam much in the last few weeks due to illness, and travel, but the training I did was focused on front end speed and stroke efficiency, and it paid off. I was able to pull away from the pack really fast. I swam the first lap with somebody on my heels, then backed off and let him pull me through the second lap. It worked beautifully and by 3 miles into the bike I was alone in the lead. A position I held until the last five miles of the hilly 40km course, when a school bus passed me, along with five cars and Greg Remaly. Going into the run I was 30 seconds back, after the first lap I was 50 seconds back, and half way through the second lap Matt Chrabot came by me fast. By the time we hit the last hill (massive) a mile later he had 30 seconds on me, but at the finish line, I’d closed back in some. I ended in third in my first non-drafting pro race, which I’m pretty happy with. I also won a check big enough to pay for my entry, flight, gas, and hotel.
Loren’s race was less successful. He ended up with a rock, the size of the tip of a pinky finger, embedded in his foot. He didn’t do the run, and instead spent an hour with a nurse digging into the open wound trying to get the rock out. (Loren and Chris didn’t have their race reports up when I wrote this, but I’ll update the links when they do.)
Back in Tiburon after the race we celebrated the quitter’s birthday with cheese cake, pizza, and wine. Three things that are not a big part of my normal diet, and the combination of which put me into a comma so deep that I didn’t even mind that I was forced back into Piper’s room for the third time in three trips (Somebody more important than me inevitably comes on the same weekend and ends up taking the guest house.)
Make sure you look at the slide show embedded at the top, it’s kinda funny.