Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto....

It's been over 2 weeks now since the KS 70.3...it feels like it was a lifetime ago. But I will do my best to recap the highlights (and the low lights) from my time in Lawrence.

We left for KS Thursday morning. Turns out you can fill up an Element pretty quickly when you have 2 people with clothing, riding gear, etc and everything you could ever need to set up an expo and show off the Saris and CycleOps goods. And let's be honest here people, I am NOT a light packer. I'm just not. Anyways. After a slight detour to swap racks (don't ask....but trust me, it was the best option there was) we were on our way. Destination Kansas City for the night.

Truth be told, it was a solid 8hr drive, possibly made a wee bit longer by the fact that we had to stop and let me out of the car a few times. I'm kind of like a puppy or perhaps a small child in the car. I get antsy, I have to pee, I get bored, I get hungry, I'm annoying. But between the few stops and my cat naps (I only remember closing my eyes for like a minute I swear) the time passed pretty quickly.

Thursday night we got together with a handful of my dealers from the area and enjoyed some of the delicacies of the KC Hooters.Friday we were up relatively early in the morning, and on our way to into Kansas City to get a little work done before heading to the expo in Lawrence KS. We got to Clinton State Park midday to set up for the expo. By set up I mean set up, take down, relocate, and repeat. And it was a warm day! We're talking upper 80's and full sun...not something I had a whole lot of before heading down there. I was, as a coworker of mine would say, a Sweaty Betty. Having worked the expo and event last year it was crazy to see how much it had grown! From a 40x40 lot behind a building off Mass St in down Lawrence, to a sprawling huge outdoor expo at the race site....it was awesome. The race director's spared no expense making this event top notch--including a "yellow brick road" finish line (that may have sealed the deal on me racing)!!

Friday afternoon rolled around, expo started, and the triathletes came! With over 2200 registered participants there were plenty of people milling about. It was long, hot, tiring afternoon. And in true Katie form, I got sunburned. Grrr! It also turned out that there was no food at the expo, so there was definitely no eating until we finally got out of the expo sometime after 7 that night and sorted out our accommodations in Lawrence.

Dinner that night was at Montana Mike's Steak House. It was non-meat eater at a "classy" steak house. Enough said.

By the time all is said and done, we got out of the restaurant sometime around 9:30 or so. At this point I really want to drive the bike course. I still wasn't sure I wanted to actually race on Sunday, so I thought seeing the bike might help me decide in one way or another. Turns out trying to maneuver the bike course with a questionable map and no sense of direction in the dark is not easy. We made a few u-turns, a few turns, and there was of course when I navigated us at 65mph onto a gravel road with no warning. Opps. Needless to say, Wyatt was less than thrilled with me by the end of this drive. In fact we cut the drive short after I navigated us in the wrong direction (again).

What I learned while on this drive? Well KS is NOT flat. It's not. All those pastoral pictures of wide open farmfields...not quite. There were quite a few loooooong climbs. Nothing like the WI IM course, and I would have to agree with Robert that I would love LOVE love to do 2 loops on this course versus 2 on the IM WI course, but there were some hills just the same.

Expo Day 2 was BUSY! Lots of last minute needs, wants and poor planning on the part of participants kept the expo interesting. I got to talk to athletes sponsored from quite a few shops in the area (from KS to Tx to CO and back), and saw lots of Powered Athletes down there. In the midst of the expo craze my friend, and fellow racer, Taz stopped by to say hi and to convince me to race.I still was not sold on wanting to race on Sunday. I just wasn't sure I had it in me, and spending 2 days on my feet working the expo in the hot and sunny weather of KS wasn't helping anything. But rather than leave myself without options I figured I would at least rack my bike. I could always change my mind later and just not start, right? So I took a brief hiatus from the expo to walk the mile down to T1 with Taz and Meghan to rack our bikes. After getting body marked and racking our bikes we took a minute to check out the swim course. Holy cows! Looking across the course always makes it seem so so so far away.

From here.......to here!

We wandered the mile back up to the expo area and checked out T2 and where we were going to rack our bikes after the ride. Taz and Meghan were headed home at that point to get off their feet and out of the sun, but of course we took a moment for another photo op. :)

(and no, I do NOT normally pop my collar...I was trying to keep the sun off my neck)

After another long hot day of expo-ing we made our way back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head for a delicious dinner. This time we were given the name of a pasta place downtown and told that it was tasty. I had my fingers crossed.... We headed downtown and did in fact have a delicious dinner (I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, but I can't, oh well). As it was another long day with no food at the expo I was starving, and probably breaking every night before the race rule as I ate EVERYTHING in sight. Bread while we waited for an appetizer, appetizer, bread while I waited for my pasta with shrimp, my pasta (I ordered the small portion, but still ate every last bit of it), and then Cold Stone ice cream. Yum!!

We walked off dinner by strolling down Mass St, and on our way to the car we passed this:

That's right, a church.........with a No Gun sign!

Anyways....back at the hotel it was time to figure what I needed in my transition bags. For this race T1 and T2 were in 2 different areas, and this COMPLETELY threw off my system. I didn't know what to put where. What if wanted something both places but only had 1 of that something? And then there was the "no additional bags" in T1...something to do with shuttling our gear around or something, I don't know. So along with my stress-y/panic-y attitude and random demands, this is was Wyatt was subjected to:
It was like a triathlete exploded! Seriously. And this is only one of my bags. There were 2 more that are out of the picture. There was going to be no sleeping until I was packed to my liking.

All that's left to do is sleep and race. Simple as that. Right.

So that takes us up to the night before the race....it took me long enough to get to that point, but I swear my race day report is in the works and will be up soon!

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