Wednesday was the USA Triathlon scheduled packet pickup time. It was shown to be from 2:30 to 5, but I never heard a peep about it from USAT. I figured somebody would be down there, and I was excited to finally see another American.
I was hanging out at the hotel watching Red vs Blue on my laptop, and putting my new BENCOLLINS.ORG stickers on my front fork (Thanks Tai!!!). My parents had left a couple hours earlier, after keeping me from napping by knocking on the door every five minutes. My mom was nicer than my dad, and every time she bugged me she brought a gift, bananas, gum, bread rolls and right before she left she dropped off the key to their room, “in case you need anything from there” She said. It was coming up on 2pm, so I put on some bike clothes and grabbed my backpack. I grabbed by bike to head out, but realized that my bike shoes and helmet were in the rental car, which was in the parking lot, but locked. I grabbed the keys to my parents room, but a thorough scavenger hunt confirmed my suspicion that the key was in my mom’s purse, on her shoulder.
I showed up to accreditation in my tennies and aero helmet at 2:25, was done with packet pickup by 2:30, and then couldn’t figure out what to do next. The ride down was simple enough, I just stayed on the marked “bike paths”, which are red brick routes on the sidewalk, designed specifically to test the tightness every bolt on the bike. I was a little nervous because a month ago I had discovered that some parts on a bike need to be REALLY tight, or your handlebars will rotate down, just before your seat comes loose, your brake turns and starts rubbing, and the front wheel starts turning separate from the handlebars – and that (I’m not saying it did) could happen about an hour into a 2 hour ride, forcing you to either find a bike shop for a pit-stop, or ride standing up against the rear brake with your hands near the stem and using your body weight alone to turn the bike. (now that I look back, I think those are exactly the same things I taught 4th graders to check before riding when I was a Bike Ed instructor).
My bolts are all tight enough. They passed the test.
One other thing that really surprised me on my ride. I was approaching an intersection, and I saw a UPS truck with a right turn signal on right beside me. I slowed down, expecting the UPS truck to make a strong attempt at vehicular homicide, but instead the driver stopped, and waved me on. “This is a trick” I thought. But another bike passed me and flew across the road with the bravery of a Odysseus. No trick. Whoever does the hiring for UPS North America should really get some interview ideas from UPS Europe.
This morning (Thursday) I rode the course again. This time there were orange arrows all over it! There were also about 250,000 diesel engines shooting black soot down my throat. That can’t be good for the VO2 max.
I’m off to my last breakfast at the Hotel Helgoland. We’re moving to a slightly closer, much more expensive hotel, where we can pay extra for a not-so-good breakfast, wi-fi, and one room for the three of us (right now we have two rooms, a double and a single, which are identical.) I can’t wait to kick my dad out of the room when he starts snoring.
Today is the parade of nations, a Team USA meeting, and I should be able to swim on part of the course too. I’ll take pictures and post them tomorrow.