Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mergozzo Half Ironman - Part III

After record highs in the 100's throughout Europe all summer long, in september it started to rain. It rained so hard it started to flood parts northern Italy with weather alerts and mudslide warnings. Whenever I had daydreamed about my race, rain had never been part of it. I sort of saw it as a farewell to summer celebration, except good weather was part of the day. When they started to predict thunderstorms I started to panic. The saturday before the race going up to Mergozzo, Linda (my traveling companion) and I stopped off at the Bike show in Milan. Besides checking out all the bikes I'll never be able to buy, I did manage to purchase some arm gloves and those booties for my bike shoes. Just in case. I mean saturday was sweltering hot and even in Mergozzo while I was standing in line to pick up my packet it must have been about 80 degrees.
But that night while I was in bed I heard a *CRASH* and recognized it as lightening and then *RUMBLE* came the thunder. It was 5:00 a.m. My friend Giorgio was coming the next day to watch the race and since he was still at home I texted him to bring some trash bags so that I could put my transition stuff in them. He answered me within a minute and then I fell back to sleep for another hour.
I woke up and it was pouring rain. It wasn't really cold but very very wet. When I got down to the transition area NOBODY had set their bike up. Everybody was just sort of huddling under the buildings and waiting until the last minute so that their stuff wouldn't get too wet. At 15 minutes before the men's start I decided to set up my transition and put on my wetsuit. Oops! Haven't tried that on in four years! With a little wiggling around I was able to slip it on, whew! It was still pouring. I separated my running and bike stuff into two different plastic bags, placed my helmet on my bike and hoped that I had remembered to do everything right. I watched the men's start. They had to be called back like ten times and delayed the start by almost ten minutes. After they took off I got in the water to check it out. It was actually warm compared to the outside temperature, plus I forgot how much bouyancy a wetsuit gives you. I just sort of floated in the water for a few minutes and then got ready to start. I positioned myself in the back and just waited for them to give the women's start.

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