For those of you not familiar with a half ironman triathlon, it’s a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, followed by a half marathon (13.2 mile) run. Not for the feint of heart – the participants are top-notch athletes who had to qualify to participate in this event. It was awesome to see so many elite athletes compete.
The event started off with a real downer for the competitors. The swim portion of the race was to take place in the intercoastal waterway. With all the rain we’ve had this past week (about 20 inches) the waterway was determined to be unsafe due to the rain run-off causing abnormally high levels of ecoli. The race directors did not want to take a chance that any of the athletes would get sick, so the swim portion was cancelled. The rest of the event took place as scheduled.
Grand Strand Bicycle Shop was the main bike support for this triathlon.
Mary and Tim, Owners of Grand Strand Bicycles
They asked me to volunteer to be the lead cyclist in front of the runners. My job was to lead the runners through the course. Wow! I jumped at the chance. I have to admit I was a bit nervous riding in front of 2000 athletes – what if I made a wrong turn? Fell off my bike? Or whatever? As it turned out it was a great experience and I had a terrific time. Nancy was able to snap tons of pictures from this neat venue. Sorry if there are more pictures than you may like, but this is our record and we don’t want to forget a thing about this day!!
Finish Line Before Sunrise
Bridge over inter-coastal waterway -- swim location
Sunrise at Grand Dunes Hotel and Marina
Pre Race - Bill Fixing Something??
Tim and his crew trying to drive out of transition area to get to their location on the bike course. They were on the course to provide assistance to all the cyclists! Word is they did an AWESOME JOB!!
Athletes Gathering At Start Area
First Rider on the Course
Tough Uphill Bike Start
Finding Your Bike In Transition Area !?!?
Bike and Run Transition Area Exit
Race Out of Transition to Mount Line
Cyclists On the Bike Course
Bill Waiting For First Runner
Bill Heading Out On Course For 6.5 Mile Lap One
First Runner Following Bill
Bill Heading Out for 6.5 Mile Lap Two
Lots of Runners On the Course
This Runner needed a little more attention as a child!!
Another GS Bicycle Volunteer - Bob is waiting to follow the last runner on the course.
Recumbent Riders who rode over to see the race.
Race Commandos - Organizers made the race run smoothly!
Medical Emergency Responders always ready!
Bill bringing lead runner to the finish line!
Lead Runner approaching the Finish
Job Well Done!!
Another GS Cyclist finishes his Triathlon!
I know the last runner is here somewhere!!
Alrighty now -- they found the last runner!!
Great Job -- Bob!!
Nancy - Official Signature Getter and Photographer!!
(Fuzzy Photo taken by BILL)
She is getting signatures for the People for Bikes organization. Their goal is support of a better future for bicycling—one that is safe and fun for everyone. If that is something you are interested in, go to their web site and sign the pledge -- Thanks in Advance!!
Grand Strand Bicycles packing up for the day!
Chris and Tim
Mary and Cayla
It was a long day for us – we got up before 5AM and didn’t get home until after 3 PM. Neither one of us ate other than a nutritional bar so we were hungry and tired when we got home. However, the experience of attending and/or participating in a triathlon is really uplifting. There is so much positive energy with all the competitors cheering and offering words of encouragement to each other. Whether you win or come in last place you are recognized as a triathlete and they all know how many years, weeks, and days it takes to train just to finish this grueling event. For 95% of the competitors the goal is to finish, not to win. They push themselves to the limits of their physical and mental conditioning. The competitors come in all shapes and sizes, but they all overcome the same obstacles whether it is wind, rain, heat or whatever just to finish and be recognized as a Triathlete!
If you really want a great pick-me-up, volunteer for or just attend as a spectator a triathlon. I guarantee you will leave the event with a positive, feel good attitude. It’s been like that at everyone we’ve entered or attended. What a fun day! I know we are not capable to compete at this level, but WOW – WHAT A FEELING!!