Monday, October 5, 2009

Duathlon World Championship - Post Race

Post Race - Sept 26-27th 2009

The post race milling around was cut way short due to the weather. It did not take long to cool down from the heat of the effort and then start feeling the chill of the late wet afternoon. The spandex that we all wear offers no protection from the elements. I spoke with David Field a fellow Canadian who finished 5th in the 50-54 age category as we picked up our checked bags and bikes. Dave was fortunate enough to be in the first wave and therefore knew exactly what position he was in when he finished. I mounted my bike, with a coat on this time, and cycled back to the hotel amidst a steady downpour. When I arrived at the hotel I rested my gear against the wall and got right into the outdoor hot tub in my team uniform. The hot water was a welcomed relief to my aching cold body.

My Mom & John took me out to dinner again and we couldn’t help ourselves from returning to Dino’s; a wonderful Italian restaurant in Harrisburg a small town south west of Concord, where my Mom had enjoyed the best eggplant-parm she had ever tasted. Our waitress was the younger sister of the young women who had waited on us the night before. After another delicious meal as we got up leave the sister from the 1st night asked me for my autograph. At first I could not believe that she was serious and I certainly felt ridiculous and embarrassed. My Mother could not resist the awkwardness of the situation by insisting that I write something clever stating how creative I was; only my mother truly believes this – go figure. Memories of high school crept into my head when we all signed each others year-books thinking of funny things to write. Here I was 23 years later faced with the same task. I was extremely flattered by it all, but felt completely on the spot drawing complete blanks as to what to say. So I wrote the 1st thing that came to mind ‘I Love your food’. My mom saved me and added ‘and Service’, thanks Mom. I left Dino’s with a full belly, half a pizza in a box, feeling much better than I did when I came in.

We got back to the hotel at 9:30pm and I was not ready to go to sleep. I wanted to have a few more drinks but could not bring myself to ask John to pull over at a store so that I could pick up a six pack for the hotel, which did not have a bar, so I went up to my room. I spent a half an hour drying out my wet race shoes and race clothes while trying to get the race results on my blackberry. Unsuccessful, I went downstairs to use the business centre’s computer with a plan to of going out for a few drinks. The results came right up and there I was in 10th place for my age group, yes I had made the top ten barely, but I was a long way off from the podium. I had committed to and followed my strategy as planned and ultimately suffered on the final run completing the 5km in 19:47 which was 30 seconds slower per km than I ran in the 1st 10km. This significant difference in running times demonstrates that I extended myself too far in the first run and on the bike. With a bit better execution I could possibly have moved up a few spots in the overall classifications. I will try and learn this lesson, although it won’t be the first time that I have tried.

I left the hotel and walked over to the closest restaurant with a bar; the Quaker State. The dinning area was empty but the bar was full and people, some even enjoying the sound of Karaoke blasting through the sound system. I scanned the bar searching for an open seat, not finding any I left and walked to the next closest bar; Hooters. I sat down in an empty seat at the end of the bar and was carded as I ordered my 1st drink. I said nothing and handed over my driver’s license, the drinking age is 21 and I am 40. From and autograph request to being carded, things were looking up. Two beers later, feeling tired, I walked back to my hotel, stopping to check the results again and call Natasha before heading up to bed.

I woke up the next morning and lay in bed for a couple of extra hour feeling sore all over. My hips, thighs and left foot ached. I packed up my things, including my bike and brought the gear downstairs to store in the hotel office for the day as my flight was not until later in the evening.

We headed over to the Embassy Suites for the age group awards ceremony which began at 11:00am. Just like everything else associated with this event, the reception hall was enormous. We were some of the 1st people into the event so we found a table close to the podium with seats facing the right direction. After a couple plates of brunch and an hour had gone by it became clear that the hall would remain only one third full. I have to assume that the brunch must have been a bit of a disappointment for the organizers. Maybe if the awards and reception took place the same day as the event then the turn out would have been better. The elite race could have moved a day earlier to the Friday, that way all of the age group athletes could have watched and cheered. With the elite races out of the way on Saturday, the age groupers could have started earlier allowing time for a reception later in the day.

Just before the awards presentation began people started trading gear. I took a couple of photos of the bartering. From what I could tell the best deals were won by the people who struck first. Some people came prepared with gear from other years and events. By the end of the trading you could no longer safely tell which people were representing which country as deal makers were proudly sporting their new gear.

The MC asked that we all stick around until the awards had all been presented out of respect and promised to be quick. Beginning with the oldest age groupers the MC worked his way through the age group award winners. Athletes beaming with joy took the stage many draping themselves in their country flag. Some of the award winners were not present which certainly took away from the ceremony, I can only assume that it was due to unavoidable travel plans; a result of the day after awards scheduling. I was proud to watch three Canadians standing on top of the awards platform and snapped some photos to capture the moment.
F50-54 Magaret Ritchie-Gold & Carolyn Silvey-Silver
F65-69 Lynda Lemon-Gold
M65-69 Ron Vankoughnett-Gold

On my way out I spoke with Ron Vankoughnett who had won Gold by 18 seconds. As it turns out Ron had fallen near the start of the bike leg and had the scars to prove it. I included a photo of Ron and his banged up arm, his back was much worse.
Ron managed to get back on his bike and still win the race which is an amazing accomplishment.

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