Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Columbia Tri

Before it’s time for the next race, I should get to the first one, don’t you think?

Janda in transition before the race

May 16th Janda and I went on our first triathlon trip of the year to the Columbia Triathlon in Maryland. We dropped the kitties off at my parent’s house and we were in the air at 6:30. We made it into MD at 8ish, got our luggage and the rental car and took off. Luckily our hotel was pretty close to the airport, less than a half an hour. After we found our hotel, we kept driving down the street in search of food. We found a supermarket, so we got the supplies for the weekend. By the time we finished that, the only restaurant in the area that was still open was Burger King. I don’t mind fast food once in a while, and I suffer no adverse effects from eating it, like some people, but eating it at 10:30 at night wasn’t the best. My salad and burger were pretty good though, and I always like a good french fry.

The next morning I went for a short run, 15 minutes out and back. After I saw what was around our hotel, I was pretty glad that we just stopped at the Burger King and didn’t go looking for another restaurant- we wouldn’t have had much luck. After my shower Janda and I headed to the race course. We weren’t sure exactly where to go, so we got directions to the park from the desk clerk. We got back on the highway that we had been on the previous night- but you can only go one way, so we had to get off at the next exit and turn around. Now on the other side of the highway, we drove to the next exit past our hotel. We got off at that exit and turned right. At the next stoplight I realized that we were at the intersection with the Burger King, which I had just run past that morning. We definitely wasted 10 minutes getting back on the highway, turning around etc… when we could have just made one right turn. I don’t know where that desk clerk was from but he clearly wasn’t from Columbia!

Anyway, we got to the park and got directions to the packet pick-up from one of Janda’s athletes. After a slight misstep, we got there in plenty of time. We stopped at the mall across the street for lunch and they had my favorite Japanese food- Teriyaki chicken, white rice and steamed vegetables. As usual, Janda ate all of his and half of mine. Honestly, I don’t even know how he fits so much food in his stomach!

Next we headed back towards the park and drove the bike course. It was out and back with a loop, so Janda hopped out and did a spin around the loop to get used to the hills and turns. I kept driving ahead, taking pictures and waiting for him. It was a beautiful, rural area.

The rolling hills on the bike course.

The cows on the bike course.

After his spin, we headed back to the park and he racked his bike in transition. It was pretty cool to see his stuff down there with Macca’s and the other pros. Next we hit the pro meeting. Figuring it would be a pretty big room and there would be plenty of extra space, I went with Janda. It was a small room with not much extra space, so I tried to be unobtrusive standing by the door. It didn’t work, the race director insisted that I sit at the table and the head official said that I should save my legs for the next day. Since all I would be doing was spectating, I laughed on the inside. A couple of other pros had someone with them, so I didn’t feel that bad, but it was funny.

On our way back to the hotel we drove the run course also. It was also an out and back loop, half on trails, half on the street. The section out on the street looked pretty challenging, if you ask me. We stopped at a little Italian place for dinner- it was ok. Then back to the hotel for a little packing up and little TV watching. We watched most of Hitch, a Will Smith movie, but we didn’t get to see the end. I guess that we’ll have to rent it sometime.

Nice sunrise.

The next morning we were up at 4:30 and on the road by about 5:15. We ate a little breakfast, got our stuff to the car and headed over to the park. There was plenty of parking and we got a pretty good spot, a 1 minute walk from transition in one direction and a 1 minute walk from the start and finish in the other. Janda got everything all set and then we headed to the swim start. At this race they get the athletes in the water only a couple of minutes before the start. They got to swim around a few strokes and then tread water waiting for the start. The swim went pretty well for Janda, 20:22 for a 1500m, and he was only 3:30 out of 5th place.

It's hard to tell, but I swear that's Janda warming up.

Janda's so fast, he's a blur coming out of transition.

I didn’t get to see him until he came back in on the bike, but by then he was less than 3 minutes out of 5th place. He had a really good bike, averaging 24. for a very hilly course. He headed out on the run and I raced over to the 2 mile mark to cheer him on. When I saw him he was closing in on a couple of people. I headed back to the finish and waited for him to arrive. The first 4 guys came in pretty well separated. Then I could see the 5th place guy and Janda crossing the road about a ¼ mile from the finish. Janda made up a lot of space on the 5th place finisher, but didn’t have quite enough to pass him, so Janda ended up in 6th place, only 3 seconds behind the 5th place guy (who beat Janda out of the water by nearly 4 and 1/2 minutes- I guess that we know what Janda will be doing with the extra time he has once he leaves teaching!). Janda had a pretty good day on the run, he was less than 30 seconds off the run course record and had the second fastest run- 34:14. The guy who had the fastest run, Dereck Treadwell, had an awesome run and smashed the course record by nearly 2 minutes, 32:04. Yikes!

After the race we hung around for the award ceremony and then we headed off to get a shower and lunch. After lunch we hung out at Barnes and Noble for a while since we had been up since 4:30 and needed some rest. Then we went to Baltimore to kill some time before our 8:55 flight.

Historic Baltimore.

Janda on the Coast Guard ship.

Monday, May 12, 2008