Race Morning – San Francisco Preview

So far my action packed weekend has been going as planned. Meaning, things have gone wrong and I’m dealing with them. The first thing to go wrong was that Southwest charged me $50 for my new homemade bike case that I was hoping to not be charged for. The lady at the counter pulled out a tape measure and showed a trainee how you measure a suitcase. It came out to 69 inches, 7 inches over and she wouldn’t budge. “It’s only 30 pounds, can’t you give me a few inches leeway for being under the weight limit by so much?” No dice. “I haven’t been charged for the case before, it was designed to be small enough to avoid fees.” No dice. “You can’t just give me a break this one time?” I flashed my pearly whites the cutest way I know how, but still: No dice.

From there I was forced to remember that Denver International has extremely long security lines. They twist around past exhibits and information signs like a ride at Disney. I was glad I had arrived with plenty of time to spare.

The extra time I had allowed before my flight also made me a little surprised when my bike didn’t make it to Oakland. Southwest is normally very good about baggage, in fact, this may be the first time in dozens of flights that I’ve had to file a claim with them. Here I found one downside to flying Southwest: other airlines reimburse baggage fees when the bags don’t show up, Southwest doesn’t. I wasn’t too worried It was a direct flight; one of many direct flights from Denver, and not the last one of the day. I figured it would show up later last night, but when I called yesterday evening, there was still no knowledge of where it was.

In the meantime, I drove to Tiburon and borrowed a bike from Ian Charles. It’s a Scott road bike that’s so light weight I almost hope my bike doesn’t make it. I mean, it’s a little small, and the crank length is off, and it’s always strange riding someone else’s bike, but still, it’s a really nice bike. I rode it around for an hour last night, and if I have to use it, it’ll do the trick.

The first non-bike related problem was when I found out the swim start is a deep water start. ITU races are not normally deep water starts, and the last time I did this race they had a pontoon for us to dive off. I’m not a fan of deep water starts because with this many guys they become unnecessarily rough. People will grab and jab at each other (hopefully unintentionally) and it’s starts like this that are the reason one should wear padded goggles in a race. And if that alone won’t make the swim rough, there’s only 250 meters until the first turn buoy, so we have about 70 men who will likely be 15 or 20 men wide at the first buoy all trying to make a 120 degree turn. That’s going to be rough.

Luckily, I’m start number “1” so I get to pick my position on the start line first. I’m going for one of the sides. I really don’t want to be in the middle when all these guys start beating at the water trying to get a grip.

So with a crazy swim, and a bike that’s not mine, I’m thankful that the run is exactly as expected. I have my K-Swiss K-Ruuz to run in, and that’s really all I need for the last leg of the race.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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