ITU Grand Final Men's Pro Race
At 1 pm, we watched the men's pro race, the last in the series that would determine the ultimate winner. For the swim leg, I had a front seat on the edge of the wharf. I watched Jonny Brownlee take an early lead, and I counted about 78 strokes per minute for him. The men sighted way more often than I do, and the ones drafting seemed to sight more than the ones leading.
|See my shoes? It really was a front-row seat!|
|It was VERY windy|
Gemmell led into the run, but we got a report he'd rolled an ankle and he was overtaken by eventual winner Gomez and runner-up Brownlee who had an all-out sprint finish. These guys were focused and working HARD. It's the first professional race I have ever watched, and even though standing around for 2 hours is not the ideal race prep, it was an opportunity not to be missed!
|Brownlee and Gomez|
The US checked our bikes in during the 4-5 pm time slot. Instructions are to rack by handlebars/brake levers so they don't blow over and in the morning we can flip them around. We were to bring uniforms to have them checked, but then they ended up only spot checking and deciding the US was OK. Then we queued up to get body marked and got POURED on. Why this race did not use Tri-Tats, I have no idea. We only waited because they were marking age groups with a letter and we didn't know what letter corresponded to what age group. By the time we got back to the hotel, Donna and I were soaking wet and shivering.
It's all part of the experience, I guess. We will say, "remember Auckland?"!!!
|The queue to rack bikes|
|Lonely, soggy Roo|
|Mark Long looking happy, feeling wet.|
Tomorrow morning at 9:55 am I swim off. I'm not worried about the race effort, only that I may be cold and miserable on the bike. I'm putting out arm sleeves and gloves and putting plastic under the front of my suit. Donna and I are also taking the little hotel slippers to wear as we wait to swim. That concrete is cold on the feet!!
Regardless of the outcome of the race, I can already say this has been a tremendous experience and I have enjoyed it even more than I hoped. The chance to be part of the national and global triathlon community, to be at a multi-race World Championship, and to explore a country 8,000+ miles away from home is so exciting!!
I do hope no one will be disappointed if I don't "win" or come in top-10 or even top half. As much as I'd like that, and as hard as I plan to race, the fact of the matter is it's a large and talented field and triathlon is even more deeply embedded in the culture of some of these other countries. I heard from a few guys who are often overall winners at races in the US, only to come to World Championships and end up in the bottom half of the group. Anything can happen.
I prepared well and trained hard. #4582 is here, happy and healthy. It's already a WIN!
I'm told there will be a livestream at www.triathlon.org. The age group races start at 7 am Auckland time which is 2 pm Sunday ET. I push off at 9:55 and expect to finish around maybe 12:20, which is 7:20 pm ET.