Saturday, September 14, 2013

London Day 5 - Bus Tour, Rest, Bike Check In

Today was really my only chance to get out and see a few things in London, so I opted for the typical double decker bus tour and never got off the bus except to switch from one route to another. For this trip, I was just as happy to drive by Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Harrods. The city is exquisite, the buildings and architecture are works of art, and I have enormous respect for the bus drivers who navigate these narrow busy streets!!

I packed lunch from the "Waitrose" shop that is part of a Shell station two blocks away. There I found rhubarb yogurt to go with my Brie and grape sandwich! I've probably been in that little market ten times this week.

It was a lovely day - cloudy, drizzly, cold...and did I mention cold??

 Sign announcing triathlon road closings!

 Our very knowledgeable guide.

Supposedly we ride through the marble arch?

I could see all the barricades along the Thames waiting for the race tomorrow. It's amazing that they can close down these main streets for that. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I will be excited to ride along such a historic route, through the Marble Arch, in front of Buckingham Palace, and through Trafalgar Square!

After the bus tour I napped and read  for the few hours (The Ocean at the End of the Lane....strange can it be so popular??) till check-in. I also packed up and got ready for tomorrow.

My check-in time was 6 pm. There they check helmets, bikes, and uniforms, but all we can leave overnight is our bike.

The open race was still going on so it was pretty chaotic and the transition area was torn up. There will be a lot of mud and slick spots to contend with and to make things fair regardless of rack space location, we end up having to run quite a bit to get to our spots. For instance, on the bike in, we push to the top of transition, all the way along the back, and cut back and down to our row. I am SO glad I don't run in my bike shoes because they would get very gunked up. Better it be my feet.

Fellow US age-groupers...all pony-tailed but me! I have helmet head from riding over (below)

Waiting for check-in. We spend a lot of time waiting and preparing
and relatively little time actually racing!

 The desire to take a photo of one's bike in transition transcends nationality. We all did it!!

Bluck!! This is part of the very, very long bike in, where I'll be running in bare feet. 
Towels are not allowed in transition either so we will have some gross feet.
The UN of pretty bikes!

My main worry tomorrow is being cold on the bike. It will be in the mid- to upper-50's late morning. I know I will probably be OK racing and have been in those temps, but to train in those temps I'd be in long sleeves and gloves.

My plan is to swim "smart" - straight and strategic with quick arm recovery - and not let it psych me out. I'll reel them in on the bike, taking care around corners and accelerating out. There have been so many wrecks this week :-(.  The run I will start conservatively and ramp it up over each of the three laps.

I'm going to get to transition at 5:30 am, set up, and come back to the hotel for breakfast. Then I'll return by 8:30 for my 9:25 start time.

As with the sport on the whole, this race is bigger and more competitive than ever. All I can do is put together MY best race effort, not get flustered, and deal with whatever comes my way. It's been an incredible week. Tomorrow is the icing on the cake!!