The race I’ve signed up for is the Great Floridian Triathlon (www.greatfloridian.com) It is located in Clermont , Florida which is a forty minute drive from Orlando. From what people tell me about Clermont, it is very scenic with several lakes and nice rides. However, a friend of mine from the area also calls it the hilliest part of the whole state. Lucky for me, it is one of the only parts of Florida that isn’t completely flat. Awesome.
A colleague of mine who strangely enough lived in Clermont for close to ten years said, ” “Every lake has its gator…but don’t worry, they won’t bother as much as the water moccasins will.” What the heck is a water moccasin? Equally awesome.
The basic Ironman format is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, finished off by a marathon. The race starts at 7:30 am and one has until 10:00 am to finish the swimming part (if you take longer, you are automatically disqualified).
Once finishing the swimming, one must have rode 56 miles on the bike by 2:30pm, otherwise you are also disqualified. The remaining 56 miles must be finished by 6:30pm, or, you guessed it, are disqualified.
Finally, one has until 1:00AM to finish the run. A maximum of 17 1/2 hours to complete the entire ironman.
My original plan was to wear my $5 speedo goggles and my Hawaiian bathing suit for the swim. For the bike, I had a pair of red Cornell soccer shorts and an Under-Armour tank top for the bike with my Adidas Bounce sneakers. I had an extra-shirt I had in mind that I could change into for the run. How those plans have changed!
My ignorance really hit me when I was calling local bike shops asking to rent a bike. Here’s a snippet from a conversation I had with a local bike-shop worker from Clermont:
October 4th, 2010
Me: Hi, I need to rent a bike for a triathlon in 3 weeks times
Bike-shop worker: Sure, what kind of bike are you looking for?
Me: Umm, well what kind do you have?
Bike-shop worker: Well we have a large selection of tri-bikes and road bikes that would probably suit. What kind of bike do you currently use?
Me: Hmm, well to be completely honest, I’ve been borrowing my roommates’ father’s bike from the 70′s. That puppy has never let me down.
Bike-shop worker: Wow. Ok. You’ll probably want a road bike, since it’ll be easier to adapt to. What size is your bike?
Me: Hmm, yeaa, I don’t really know to be honest. But I’m about 5 foot 10.
Bike-shop worker: Ok, sure. you’ll likely need a 54cm bike then.
Me: I couldn’t agree more .
Bike-shop worker: What kind of pedals do you use when you bike?
Me: Oh well, you know, the standard kind.
Bike-shop worker: I don’t actually, since there are two main types of pedals, SPD and ATB. What is the design on the bottom of your shoes that you clip in with?
Me (ignoring the clip in part): Well I either ride with my Adidas Bounce running shoes or my Asics. I don’t think my bike has these SPD or ATB pedals that you speak of.
Bike-shop worker: Okay. If you’re not used to clipping in I suggest you use a bike that has cages where you could wear your sneakers with. We have a Trek 2.1 you could use which is probably the easiest to get accustomed to with little time.
Me: Excellent, I agree. What are cages?
Bike-shop worker (becoming irritated) : How long is the biking part of the triathlon ?
Me: 112 miles
Bike-shop worker: Listen, I think you need to think what you are doing here. This is a extremely long event that you seem utterly unprepared for.
Me (after a couple second pause): Thought about it. I’ll take the Trek. You can deliver and pick it up, right?
October 5th, 2010
I had no idea what I have gotten myself into. I told a couple teammates of mine what I signed myself up for and they barraged me with questions with a common underlying theme, ” ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?” HAVE YOU EVER SAT ON A BIKE FOR 6 HOURS? HAVE YOU EVER SWAM FOR 2 HOURS STRAIGHT? Followed by the usual, “you’re an idiot.”
The buzz is growing and the feedback has been fantastic. It’s hard to believe it is Wednesday already and the ironman is this Saturday! I hate to admit it, but the balance between nervousness and excitement is slowly moving towards the nervous side.
Keep checking in for more updates on my story and how I’m hoping to prove to people that this is possible , all the while raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research.