After only 2 hours of sleep and a 3:40am wake up call, I managed to successfully navigate my way through Pearson's airport security and get to my boarding gate with only one minute to spare. Despite the last minute stresses of getting my competition gear in order, and swapping bikes into appropriate travel cases, it was all worth it to escape the dreary weather in Toronto to head to St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday. The weather here when I first landed was 30 degrees C, and with the humidex, it was more like 37 C. Ok, so maybe that was a BIT hotter than what I would prefer (or can handle coming from T.O.), but we Torontonians are always complaining and begging for some warm weather , aren't we?
Yesterday, Wendy and I took our bikes out for a little pre-race test drive in absolutely beautiful weather. The storm overnight had really reduced the humidity, so it was much more comfortable to breathe! We learned that we'll be riding over a couple of stretches of cobblestone during the race, which will be a first for me. I love the idea of it though...very Tour de France-esque. We also thought that we spotted Greg and Laura Bennett on our ride, which of course left me starstruck and totally make my ride even better! It turns out that we were most likely mistaken about that spotting, because there are so many incredibly fit looking couples/individuals here than one could imagine. So many of the athletes here look like they could be pros, and there certainly is an absolutely stacked Pro field for both men and women. The Pro women include the likes of Laura Bennett, Sarah Haskins, Michellie Jones, and other World Class competitors and Olympians. I won't be racing in the Pro category in this race (maybe next 5150 race), but I'm going to have my hands full with the 100 other ladies in the Elite race. There are only 10 spots available to qualify for the US Championships, and I have my eye on earning one of them! View from the bike course, as we approach a stretch of cobblestone.
After our bike yesterday, we went for a short run along the water, and guess what? We spotted dolphins! Yup, dolphins chasing a school of fish right through where our swim course is going to be. I happened to be running WITH my camera for a change, so here is a decent shot of them. You can only see two of them here, but there are actually 3 of them swimming together. I hope that means there are no sharks around:)
This morning we finally had the chance to get in for an ocean swim, and was it ever choppy! There were huge swells that made it difficult to advance forward. Personally, I find this water so much fun to swim in. Obviously, it doesn't make for fast swim times, but I think that it can work to your advantage if you don't let it get to you and you don't panic. There were some rumours that they would have to cancel the swim if the conditions persisted tomorrow morning, but I'm crossing my fingers that that doesn't happen. After all, I did buy a brand new swim suit at the expo yesterday that has fire roaring across the front of it that I was planning to race in tomorrow:)
The plan for the rest of the day is to hydrate, avoid the sun, and to relax. No more running around! I'll be writing again post-race!