This past weekend was the 70.3 World Championships. Janda didn’t race as he was planning on doing Ironman FL until he got injured. Since he had 9 of his athletes (about 1/3 !) qualify, we went down to support them. They were all down
there well before us, since we got down there late Friday night, but we caught up with them on the beach Saturday morning. Everyone was nervous and excited, including me and Janda. This was the first race that Janda has purely spectated, so he got a taste of what it’s like to be me !
The sun rising over Clearwater Beach
The Beach Shanty, go there if you go to Clearwater
Since we had a long day of spectating ahead of us, we hit our favorite little diner for breakfast before we headed to the beach. Really good and cheap- perfect! The athletes that we were watching went off between 6:45 and 8:00, so we were pretty busy the whole day long. First was the pro wave (Nick) and we saw him come out of the water, but we couldn’t pick him out of the group. Next the 30-34 women (Amanda and Kelly) came out of the water. They were pretty close together and we saw them head out on the bike. Next it was the 35-39 women and Mary Ann flew by us out of transition, all smiles ! The final 4 guys (Craig, Dave, Evan & Liam) were in the 18 -29 wave. After we watched those guys get out onto the course, we headed over to the computers to get splits. The conditions in the water were very flat and calm and everyone had a great swim. Once we figured the splits out, we headed out towards the bridge (the only "hill") on the course.
Matt, Janda and I found a spot on the median where we could watch the bikes go by on one side and the runners go by on the other. We were watching Nick and our friend Chris Bagg out on the run in the pro wave while we were trying to find the cyclists in the packs that starting coming by as the age-groupers made their way back to transition. We saw a few and missed a few. We missed Mary Ann, but thanks to Janda’s lime green Craft shirt, she saw us and got our attention. Everyone made it in from the bike in a good time except Liam. We weren’t sure if we missed him or not, so we kept our eyes peeled for him.
Out on the run, everyone looked really great going out on the first loop. Almost everyone was smiling and giving us the thumbs up. We saw just about everyone on one of the loops, except Kelly and Evan, who slipped by us twice ! We finally saw Liam go by and he yelled to us that he flatted. Just before we expected the age groupers to finish Nick and his girlfriend caught up with us and we all headed back to the finish line. We also ran into Chris Bagg, who saw Janda’s green shirt a mile away. After everyone finished we regrouped out by the food tent in a shady area. Most everyone caught up there and we got to hear how everyone’s races had unfolded. The only big disappointment was Liam’s flat which cost him nearly a half an hour. Another one of Janda’s young guys, Craig, had been hit by a car a few weeks ago and hadn’t run since, so he had a great swim and bike and limped home on the run. The best news of the day was a 4th place finish in the women’s 35-39 age group.
After everyone was done talking and rehydrating/refueling, we went our separate ways. Janda and I ran some errands and checked into our second hotel, which looked out onto Sand Key. After showering up and resting, we headed over to Sand Key for the banquet. It was same old/same old- no kidding, same menu for the 3rd year in a row!
The beach at sunset
Half the gang at the banquet:
Janda, Dave and Rachel on the far side, Matt and Amanda on the near side
After the awards, videos and fireworks, we headed to some little restaurant on the beach in Clearwater Beach and hung out for a few more hours. Everyone was pumped up, so staying out (way) later than usual wasn't that hard.
Rachel, Dave, Maya and Nick at Frenchy's
Janda and Liam at Frenchy's
Kelly and Craig at Frenchy's
Amanda and Matt at Frenchy's
Me and Janda at Frenchy's
The next day Janda and I hit the continental breakfast at our hotel and packed up. We headed to the beach at about 10:30 and hung out there for the next few hours. It wasn't as warm as last year, but it was a lot warmer than Gloucester!
Hanging out on the beach
Janda and me sitting on the wall at the beach
After lunch at our favorite little Clearwater diner, we headed out to mini golf. We were originally thinking of calling whoever was left in Clearwater to play, butwe forgot, so it ended up being Janda, me, Amanda and Matt. It was probably a good thing that we forgot because right when the game was done we had to head to the airport. If there had been more players we would have been in trouble. Janda and I got to the airport just in time to chow down on the "Cuban Catch" at the Bacardi's restaurant. It was an awesome breaded fish sandwich- possibly my favorite meal of the trip. Just as we finished they began to board, so it was home to Boston. A few short hours later we were settling into bed at our own place, always a great feeling after a trip!