Monday, September 15, 2014

Nation's Tri Race Report: RACKING DAY

At last!  Yes, this report is a week overdue.  We had a bit of a situation here with a very sick kitty who finally ended up in the hospital, so I was spending my extra time researching "UTIs and cats" and getting a major little project done at work. 

ANYWAY, here is the race report! 

Nation's requires you to rack a day ahead of time.  This seems to be unusual for an Olympic distance Tri, but if you think about the logistics of coordinating over 5,000 bikes and body markings, it makes perfect sense.  Overall, this was perhaps the most stressful racking we have ever done!  (No fault of the race).  

We live a good hike from the main city- still technically on metro, but far enough out that we can't head in and go home and return in one day.  Once we go in, we are in until we go home.  That explains why we headed to brunch with my parents smushed into a Beetle, with two bikes on the roof.  Yes, my parents have a nice roomy Prius, but they lack a bike rack.  Seriously, after this weekend, I am considering buying a bike rack for guests.  Actually, I'm considering buying a rear-mount bike rack and installing a hitch on the Beetle, because the roof rack system has been seriously stressing me out in this land of parking garages.  

Brunch was at The Diner, a new discovery for me.  It has really creative options, a decent vegan menu, and is great about dairy allergies.  In fact, I plan to write to them to beg... BEG... them to create vegan biscuits and gravy.  I'm desperate for my favorite Eugene dish!  

Packet pickup and racking was much more traumatic.  What with one thing and another, we had a nice time at the expo, we bought The Stick for rolling out muscles (and it is working miracles on my tight back and hamstrings!), and we discovered a broken piece on M's bike that needed fixing.  

WHAT?  BROKEN?  NEEDS FIXING?  WATER BOTTLE CAGE?  WAUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!  The braze that holds the bolt that holds the screw that holds the water bottle cage on M's bike was stripped, and needed to come off.  M, about to do a 25 mile ride at speed, needed that bottle cage.  That explains our cross-town jaunt to our favorite bike shop for a quickie repair.  

After the repair, we scuttled back to the hotel to get on the bus for me to go to Capitol for my special prize... except M couldn't find parking!  He circled for over half an hour, and there were many phone calls.  You know M and I are very supportive of each other. which explains why those conversations, during which I was inside waiting for the bus and he was outside circling, went like this... "I CAN'T FIND PARKING!" "I CAN'T HELP YOU! JUST PARK!  PARK ANYWHERE!"  "I CAN'T! THE METER MAIDS ARE CIRCLING!"  "JUST PARK!  VALET IT!! PARK RIGHT NOW!! WE ARE GOING TO MISS THE GODDAMN BUS!"  "I CAN"T VALET! WE HAVE THE BIKES ON THE ROOF!"  "PUT THEM IN THE REAR!"  

The important take away message is that you CAN fit two full size bikes into the rear of a Beetle, and if your wife calls Uber while you deal with the valet, you will end up dropped off two blocks away from where the bus dropped off the rest of the prize-winners. 

All you will have to do is to sprint those extra blocks, in jeans, on a day when it's 102 and the humidity is about 1,000%, in under three minutes to JUST MAKE it to your tour in time to see the special tour of the Capitol. 

So worth it.  

After our Capitol tour, we got the car out of Valet, went over to the Mall, racked the bikes, and observed the beginnings of tiny little raindrops as we headed back towards the car. 

"I kinda feel like I should have put the trash bag over my bike after all..." I said to M, frustrated because I had left my trash bags in my car, after bringing them special so I could cover my precious, precious BMC.  

"Just forget it.  You're hungry. You need to eat, NOW!"  he snapped back.  Because, of course, after a frantic day of bike repairs, last-minute sprints, and valets, he was a shining ray of sunshine himself.  Plus, he had gotten to eat a Picky Bar, the Picky Bar I keep in MY purse at all times.  So he'd actually eaten.  

We were racked and ready for race day.  At least that was accomplished.  

By the time we got to Tysons Mall where we were picking up my parents, it was as if a black firehose from the heavens were pouring down upon us.  M dropped us off at the restuarant door, and we were still soaked by the time we got inside.  

"I sure hope they don't cancel the swim tomorrow", said I, "for I do so want to use my wetsuit that I rented to try this different style."  


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