If you are ever able to do this race, do it. The organization was amazing and the volunteers where some of the best I've ever seen! With 4000+ athletes - the race ran perfectly!
Ok - back to the race report. Karen and I headed down to St. Pete on Friday afternoon. Car packed and ready to go:
Six hours (and a time change later) we made it to the 'host' hotel. Well, we did not realize that there where two Hiltons - one on the race site and one about 10 min away. We ended up at the off site hotel..no wonder we got the room for so cheap! But it was very nice and we kind of felt like we where on vacation :)
The next morning we got up and headed down to check in. I'm not sure if you've been to downtown St. Pete, but it is the most confusing place ever. Every street is named 4th ave SN or 1st St. east west. Yeah. Confusing like that. And on top of that, we are both used to the gulf being on the south, not what ever direction is it there. Total confusion. But thankfully we made our way around.
Karen wanted to drive the bike course which is something that I have never done before. To be honest, I usually go into a race blind. I know where the start is and where my bike is racked and that is about it. But this was the best idea. The course was somewhat technical - lots of curves, turns, speed bumps and straight aways. Seeing this the day before was a huge help for both of us. And we where not the only ones doing this:
We figured this person knew where they were going (Run Swm license plate).
We walked around the expo for awhile and baught a bunch of crap what we didn't need - but that is what those are for right? As we where heading back to the car to get our bikes, someone yelled 'Chloe?' I turned around and it was Tom and his kids. He is a friend of mine who has the YOLO board Company. They had the opportunity to lead the pro male and female swim waves. Tom is new to the whole world of triathlon and was blown away. He runs with us a few days a week, but I predict in the near future he will be a triathlon junkie. This is Tom - he's not hard on the eyes at all:
And if you don't know what a YOLO board is - here is the easter bunny as a stellar example:
We got back to the car and put our bikes together to ride over to the bike party (aka transition):
And you would think that 4000 bikes would be a nighmare to rack right? Not here! They had stickers with our numbers and names on them. And our race numbers tied into our age. So everyone that was on my rack was rocking the 30-34F age group. This was very helpful the next day to scope out when you brought your bike back to T2 :)
The princess racked and ready to go:
By the time everything was said and done, Karen and I had to go out and enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. It's happy hour? Great! Make it a good pour:
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to relax and get ready for the next morning:
Yeah yeah, I know. My toes look like I'm a champion rock kicker, but hopefully they'll look better soon.
4:00am wakeup call (which is 3am our time) came way to early.