Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Muskoka 70.3

On Friday morning when I headed to work (lucky me) Janda headed up to Canada with Amanda and Matt. After flying to Buffalo and driving to Muskoka, he was there in time to register on Friday and enjoy the welcome dinner. Luckily they had free phone service at the resort, so he could call me a couple of times that night (it was pretty lonely just me and the cats.)

The next morning I caught my flight to Buffalo. I got there around 11am and started the 4 hour drive up to Muskoka. There is tons of construction happening around Toronto, so some parts of the drive were pretty hairy. Once you get north of Toronto, you head out onto some smaller highways and those were some long roads. Finally I arrived in Huntsville around 3:30 or so. A couple of minutes after I pulled into the hotel Janda, Matt and Amanda pulled in from driving the course. We all headed over to the resort where Janda and Amanda set up transition and Janda had the pro meeting. Since I had been stuck traveling all day I went out and did my workout, 12 hills sprints up a short, very steep and somewhat slippery grass hill. After I jogged back I found Janda fixing his bike in transition. Once he got his bike back into top form we headed back to the hotel to shower up and get some dinner.
Transition in front of the fancy resort
Since the race didn’t begin until 8am, we actually got to sleep in a little, until about 5:30. At 6:30ish we headed over to the resort. Matt and I dropped off Janda and Amanda and headed to the airstrip. Driving down that road with a minivan was a little crazy, but we got a spot and immediately jumped on a bus to get to the resort. Janda was out running when I got there, so I hung around the pro transition (I hope that no one thought I was an Alexander groupie!) and waited for my guy. When he got back I was trying to hurry him up so that he could get in a good swim warmup, but anyone who knows Janda knows that it’s impossible to get him to hurry! We ended up running down to the swim start and somehow I made it past the checkpoint and onto the beach with the athletes (off to the side and out of the way obviously). Once on the beach I helped Janda yank on his wetsuit (harder than usual when you’re already wet) and he took off for a short warmup. They called the athletes back, played the anthem and the race began. It actually began before the gun went off, everyone just started swimming. Janda told me post race that Cunningham and Lessing were joking around out there and just started going. At that point everyone started swimming and the guys on the beach hit the horn. It was strange.


Janda getting ready before the race.
Janda heading out on the swim (to the far right with sleeves).
After a short delay (getting lost on the resort!), I made it up to transition to wait for Janda. After the swim, which seemed a little long, the athletes have to run up a pretty steep hill to get back to transition, so it felt like I was waiting forever. The tops swimmers all came out and headed off and 
then about 6 minutes later Janda came through.


Janda in transition after the swim.
The bike is the worst part for me because there is such a long wait and so many things can happen on the bike. I'm edge the whole time. For the first time ever in a race I actually sat down and ate while Janda was on the bike. After we watched Amanda head out, Matt and I went into the resort and had a good but ridiculously overpriced breakfast. (Thanks Matt!) We made it into the restaurant just in time, as we were eating a line developed outside and by the time we left it was all the way back to the lobby, about 60-80 people long.

Janda running his bike in.

We went back outside to wait for the riders to come back to transition. The ride was about 4k long, so it seemed like forever. After heading out on the bike in 18th, Janda made it back to transition in 9th, with the lead pack of 5 and a chase group of 3 in front of him. The first section of the run is 9-10 miles out on the roads of Huntsville and the last 3+ miles are around the golf course. As he was heading out onto the golf course Janda was in 6th place with the 7th place guy hanging on. About a half mile later, Janda had shaken that guy and was rapidly closing in on 5th place, Brent McMahon. Every half mile he was taking back 30ish seconds. Because they were winding around the golf course, I could see how close Janda was getting to that guy and with 3k to go the deficit had dropped to 35 seconds. I could hardly contain myself I was so excited.
Janda at about 9 miles.
Janda solidifying 6th place and moving on 5th place on the golf course.
After he ran by me the last 3k were on the other side of the course, so I went to the finishing chute and waited. In came Alexander with a pretty big lead. Next were Cunningham, then Bretscher and Lessing. Now I was getting nervous, would Janda be 5th or would McMahon hold him off? I didn’t have to wait long; a minute and a half later Janda came storming down the chute. Because of the humid conditions, Janda was having some asthma problems, but a few puffs of his inhaler and some sport drink and he was doing better.tter.t
You know it's a tough course when Janda does a 4:20!
We headed down to the beach so that he could clean off and while we were there it started pouring again. Thank goodness there was a gazebo, so we just hung there until it subsided and then went back up to the finish to see Amanda finish her race. She was second in her age group, so it was a successful day all around.
Janda on the podium with the top 8 pros. For some reason they lined them up all out of order, but the top 5 starts with Janda and goes left. That's Alexander next to him. Not bad company, eh?
We went back to the resort to dry off, eat and wait for the awards. It was pretty cool to see Janda receiving his award (and cash prize) up there with Alexander, Cunningham, etc… After that we got the stuff from transition and headed back to the hotel to survey the damage. Most every was wet and dirty, so there was a lot of cleaning, newspaper stuffing, blow-drying and hanging of our stuff.

Another 4 hour drive the next morning and we stopped at Niagara
to visit the water falls, which were awesome. We walked all along the falls on the Canadian side and went into the underground, under the falls tunnel. After a couple of hours there it was back to the airport and home to see the kitties.
The far side of the Canadian falls.
Janda with the mist rising behind him.
The Canadian side of the falls.
Me getting drenched on the observation deck. All of a sudden the wind blew half of the waterfall onto my head.
Luckily we have no more traveling until Ironman Florida. But then it will be 2 consecutive weekends in FL- 1 for Ironman and the other for Clearwater (just spectating/coaching as 8 or 9 of Janda’s athletes qualified). It’s hard to believe the season’s almost over for Janda, but it’s sure been great so far!
Looking back over the clouds on the plane. Goodbye Canada.

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