Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Florida Half Ironman, part one!

DSCN1081 Well I finished my Half Ironman race in Orlando, FL last weekend. It was pretty cool. It made me want to race a lot more, though.

My friend Julie and I left Atlanta Saturday morning, May 16th 2009 at around 7AM. We needed to be in Orlando to check my bike in and pick up my race packet by six PM or something like that, and it was around an eight hour trip, so we had time but didn’t need to dawdle.

The trip was fairly uneventful, save for some truly terrible eggs at the Valdosta GA Cracker Barrel. They were so bad that I actually sent them back to the kitchen as though I were dining on a white table cloth at Le Barrele Crackeur in Nice. I polished my monocle.

DSCN1061 The second set that came out were every bit as bad as the first. I felt as though I were witnessing the very crumbling of western civilization, so I just commented to the waitress that I thought the chickens must have been in a bad mood that day and left the eggs alone. Au revoir, les oeufs.

Eventually we arrived at Disney some hours later. We parked in one of the huge lots and wandered over to a bus that people were loading bikes on. A disney employee informed us that the bus could only handle four bikes, and the line was six or seven people deep, so I just had Julie get on the bus and I rode my bike to transition. It was a ride of about a mile. Another racer who turned out to be from Mexico rode over with me. I told him I was glad to have him at the race.

DSCN1064 Here you can see us riding to transition. That’s me with the love handles showing. If you wish to have a lie-down after becoming highly sexually aroused at the unobstructed view of my love handles, you may do so now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Note that Julie took that photo from a moving bus, so the blurriness couldn’t really be helped. Also said love handles may have caused her some instability (or nausea).

I checked in, a process which was smooth and well-rehearsed. Everyone working the event was professional and sure of what they were supposed to be doing. They checked my ID, my USAT license, and then I signed waivers and forms telling them whom to contact in case I should explode or be devoured by an alligator.

I went through all the machinations, basically just killing time until I got my hands on my goody bag. At $225 for the entry fee, I figured it would have some pretty awesome stuff in it. I couldn’t wait. Finally it was time.

DSCN1065 I approached the goody bag table and said “I’m ready for some goodies!” to the girl there. What would be inside? A tech shirt? Some socks? Surely at least a few packets of goo or some electrolyte tablets. I’ve gotten all those things in goody bags for races whose entry fees were a third of this one.

She said “Don’t hold your breath,” and handed it over. It had a lot of advertisements in it, as per usual, and a poster. Well, these are lean economic times, after all. I guess I could cut a hole in the poster and wear it like a poncho, but as I type this it’s just chillin’ here in my room, still rolled up. Oh well. I figured I was there to race, not collect gear, so I went on through the race shop that was the second half of check in.

I had forgotten my cycling bibs back in Atlanta that I had intended to put on for the bike leg, and I was somewhat concerned about riding 56 miles in the thin chamois provided in my tri skinsuit, so I was perhaps in the market for some bibs to race in. After looking at a set in the shop priced at $225, I decided that my ass would just have to deal. I wasn’t going to go for the race branded tritop and shorts. I prefer bibs to shorts.

I might grab a kit at my full race in August, and I only need one Ironman branded kit, I figure. Plus bibs are superior to shorts in every respect.

DSCN1066 I put my sticker on my bike to denote my racing number, and checked it into transition, and we went back to the car and left.

We checked into the hotel, then ate a big dinner at Carabbas and settled down to try to sleep.

I can never sleep properly before a race.

One thought on “Florida Half Ironman, part one!”

  1. Emily

    Way to build suspense Jim!! I am on the edge of my seat for the next installment.
    Also: That’s a good race number.
    Also also: I am looking forward to hearing your first hand account of how Disney-themed this race is. I’ve always wondered.