That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ironman Cozumel Race Report - Part 1: pre-race adventures

I'm not even sure where to begin, so much to I guess I'll begin a little before the beginning.

Husband and I left the Wednesday before the race. It was a loooong travel day. Two planes, an hour bus ride from the airport, the hassle of dealing with typical Latin American touristy cities - if you are looking for a particular mode of transportation, almost nobody will direct you to what you want because they want to sell you THEIR mode of transportation. After getting about 5,293 different answers as to where the ADO bus would be coming, we finally found it. Fell asleep like a baby on the bus, then a short walk to the ferry terminal.

Something that nobody told me, but I want to stress because there may be people reading this who are considering doing IMCoz in the future: if you fly into Cancun and take the ferry to Cozumel, for the love of God, BRING DRAMAMINE. Neither of us are particularly prone to seasickness and we both about lost our stomachs. That was the craziest rocking boat I've ever ridden. Then the unavoidable Mexican crazy taxi ride, and we made it, in one piece, to our resort.

Bienvenido to nausea town!! Love, the ferry.

The next day, I declined all of that day's Ironman events. Another little detail I missed is that taxis into town - and we were far enough from town that we'd need a taxi - are $15 one way. I've been to non-touristy Central America where a couple of bucks will get you wherever you're going. So, in the interest of saving money, I delayed picking up my bike (I felt like a bad mother) and decided to combine everything into one trip the next day. I did, though, get in the water for my first ocean swim! They had official practice swims, but we were just a few miles from the swim start. How different could the water be, right?

Not quite the YMCA pool, eh?

That was the most fun swim of my life. I found out there was definitely a current - 14:25 out to one dock, then 11:20 back, even after I added on another 100m or so. The waves were there, but not bad at all. I got used to the taste and the sting of the saltwater and the little invisible jellyfish. Yep, Coz has little tiny jellyfish that pinch for about ten seconds and then the sting goes away. I got just a few stings in a half hour. But the fish and the coral beat the heck out of looking at the bottom of a pool, or worse yet, an Ohio lake that's all green and you can't even see your hand in front of your face!! I kept forgetting to breathe as I checked out the coral and the multicolored fish and even swam with a school of fish for a minute. AWESOME.

Definitely not the YMCA!

The next day I did all the pre-race things, and there were a lot. I picked up Pinky from tri-bike transport, where she seemed to have survived the journey with no issues. Went to the expo, where they had lots of ironman gear for sale. I wanted it all but it was spendy. I made it out of the expo with just my free stuff and four co2 cartridges for inflating flat tires, which I had to buy because I couldn't take them on the plane. Four was probably overkill, but I was NOT going to DNF because of a flat tire!!

Photo op at the expo!

I did get a pretty sweet IMCoz jacket in my swag bag. It's got big back pockets, good for biking, and it has thumbholes!! I didn't discover the thumbholes until the next day but OMG! I'm a sucker for thumbholes!!!

There was also the pre-race meeting (in English), a little bit of wandering around downtown, and then back to the resort. I saw several people riding their bikes out of town. Great idea, but I would've been terrified. There was a lot of traffic and obviously no three foot law in Mexico!! Our cab driver passed people on the right, on the left, passed a cyclist super close. Um, no thanks. My bike traveled in the back of the cab.

Reunited...and it feels so good!

Saturday was bike/gear check-in day. Since I had a higher number, I wasn't supposed to drop everything off until 3:30, but I found myself getting really antsy and jittery waiting for that time to come. I sorted out all my gear into the proper bags - one for t1, one for t2, and bike and run special needs bags for the halfway point of each. I had a LOT of stuff. I'll post the full list in a separate entry.

I biked down to the swim start/t1, about 3-4 miles from the resort. It was a good chance to remember what it was like to be on my bike, after a week and a half, and to shift through all the gears, make sure everything was working and everything was adjusted correctly. Tri Bike Transport never disassembled my bike, so everything felt just like I was used to.

The transition area was jaw-droppingly MASSIVE. SO MANY BIKES. My spot was pretty close to the changing tent, but then seriously about .2 miles away from the exit. I got so lost in there. Got myself all sharpie marked, met some of the people near me, checked out the swim course. Holy crap, it looked huge. There was a square-shaped dock. We would start at one end, swim parallel to the shore, turn, swim in the opposite direction for a loooooong time, and then swim back to the other side of the dock. There was a big open space in the middle of the dock, and it was filled with DOLPHINS!!! I could see them swimming around in there. Again, way cool.

Back to the resort via hotel shuttle. Had a good dinner and went to bed fairly early (it helped that I was still on eastern time); fell asleep watching movies. I woke up at 2 AM, wide awake and running through every minute of the race in my head. I tried every go-to-sleep strategy I could think of. I didn't think any of them worked, but apparently I did drift back off to sleep because the next thing I know, Huz was waking me up one minute before the alarm was set to go off. 4:29 AM. Go time.

Part 2: Race day and swim, coming soon....

1 comment:

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