The last two posts were about getting ready for the Ironman and the swim portion . After we got back to our car we ate some bananas and bread Kaleena had made and got on the road. We planned to drive back to Santa Rosa, park in the garage where we had parked the other vehicles in the morning, and wait to see Matt ride in at the bike/run transition. The bike portion is 112 miles and in this course the cyclists made a loop, riding some of the same roads twice. We didn’t think that we’d be able to see him on the bike because of road closures. Little did we know…
We started down Dry Creek Road towards Healdsburg. I think that the distance to the freeway wasn’t more than 20 miles (maybe only 15) but it took us 2-1/2 hours to get there. It’s a good thing that we didn’t have somewhere we had to be. The cyclists weren’t even there yet because they had veered off to the east. It was just the number of vehicles trying to get down a country road—plus it was a Saturday in a wine country venue.
Dan was driving so the rest of us got out of the car periodically to stretch and to see what was going on up ahead. In this photo the cyclists had started the loop portion of the ride and were now riding north where they would join in with the road that had started on.
We were still on the road when Matt rode by—I think this is about 55 miles of the total 112 to ride. Looking strong.
That’s Matt in the front with the white shirt and green socks. You can see that probably not all of the traffic was Ironman spectators and I’m sure people were a bit frustrated.
We finally got back to Santa Rosa and found coffee for those in our group who didn’t get enough out of the cold coffee drinks that Dan had in the car. Then we scoped out the downtown area to find the bike/run transition and the finish. These are bikes of the triathletes who had already headed out for the run (marathon!). Lunch for the pit crew was next—we found a Mexican restaurant.
Back at the transition zone…as with the swim/bike transition, each athlete had a bike/run transition bag where they had stowed shoes, food, and whatever else they wanted for running 26.2 miles..
We posted ourselves at the transition for quite awhile. Kaleena was following Matt on an app that updated every time he passed a check point so we had an idea of when he would be there, but we didn’t want to take a chance on missing him. I think that the Ironman organizers will get a lot of feedback on this situation. There is a line under the red balloon thing and a yellow line where the volunteers were working. Each rider is supposed to slow down and get off the bike between the two lines, hand the bike to a volunteer and run to the transition area to pick up their bag and then start the marathon. The volunteers were doing a heroic job of meeting each cyclist to help them off their bikes but there weren’t enough volunteers to meet the cyclists AND move the bikes to the racks where they would be secure. Notice that the woman to the left is holding up three bikes, the middle one has two and the woman in yellow has one with more riders coming in.
In most (I think) competitions like this the athletes take their own bikes to the racks. Maybe it was set up this way because of the layout and the narrow aisles where the bike racks were in the street, but the distance from where the riders got off the bikes and where the bikes were to be put on racks was far too great for the number of volunteers who were doing their best to run bikes back to the racks and come back for the next one. The volunteers did a heroic job but there just weren’t enough of them and dozens of bikes were leaned up against each other while others were continually coming in. These aren’t your WalMart bikes—some of these are multi-thousand dollar bikes, even up to $10,000 and more. I’m sure that this will be a lesson learned.
Matt had no mishaps on the road (flat tires, etc) . The vultures (see first post) didn’t get him and his time was 6:59 for 112 miles.
Running past the bikes to the transition tent,…
…while the pit crew waited,…
…and out the other side. Note baggie in hand—Matt made sure to have enough food with him to keep going. This isn’t like a recreational ride where the organizers supply food. It was time, however, for the pit crew to find a little sustenance and a bathroom. A quick stop at Starbuck’s took car of both of those things.
There may not be food for the runners but there are aid stations where they can get water, gatorade, Red Bull, and ice chips. Dan and Meryl positioned themselves there. Kaleena and I walked a little further along the course which left the downtown and followed a walking/bike trail along Santa Rosa Creek and back through town. The runners this loop three times.
While waiting for Matt we saw this runner. I wondered if he was the guy that we saw on the bike with what looked like a map tube strapped to his back. Maybe he had the flagged rolled up in that tube. I don’t know about the swim (inside his wetsuit?)
Here is another sight. I don’t know what was on the other side of this sign but many of the runners touched it as they ran by.
We finally saw Matt and took a short cut back to where Dan and Meryl were waiting, and they were so deep in conversation…or so tired.. that they missed him.
From that aid station the runners turned left, ran a couple of blocks to a turn-around point and back out on the course. This is going out for the second time.
Dan heard his name, “Mr. Lynde”, and it was student from his seventh grade science class, now 27 and all grown up. Her memorable science fair project had been something about measuring her dad’s speed on his bike while riding downhill in a tucked or an upright position, and he was competing in this event.
It was time that the bikes and gear would be released so Kaleena and Meryl retrieved them and we got everything stowed away in the car.
Back to the course to watch Matt finish his second lap. First though we saw Flag Guy. The cones were to his left so that meant that he was on the last leg and would run to the finish. Those green arrows were for those runners going back out on the course for a third (or second for some) time.
Second time through for Matt. He still looked good.
The pit crew was getting cold and tired. Kaleena went to find some food for Matt to eat on the way home and Meryl and I went to an ice cream shop to get warm (and have some ice cream while we were there). It was getting dark as Kaleena came back and we followed her to a place where she got clam chowder and we could all use the bathroom. Dan, stoically, continued to watch the race.
Waiting for the finish. This is the blocked off area where the runners will pass, yards from the finish. Unfortunately there were such bright lights shining this direction (probably for the official photographs) that we couldn’t look in the direction of the finish, let alone take photos, and the sidelines were too crowded.
This is the best I could do.
Kaleena got this photo. The clock time shows the time from when the first person started the swim, but each athlete is timed individually. Matt’s marathon time was 4:32 and the total time was 13:35.
And we’re all winners!!!