Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: bike, special events, workout

Triathlon mornings start very early. Thousands of hopeful triathletes all bringing their bikes & gear into the Transition Area… which opens at 4:00am!!! It’s the place where you store all of your gear, and will return to repeatedly throughout the race to change for each leg. This morning was so misty & foggy, we all kinda looked like gorillas in the mist.

And for the record, the Chicago Triathlon is the LARGEST Triathlon in the US!!!
More than 9,000 athletes from across the country run, bike, and swim along Chicago’s lakefront. It’s the fifth oldest triathlon in the world. Athletes from 46 states and 18 different countries. Kind of exciting!!!

Here’s a view of the Transition Area from above… now that’s a LOT of bikes!!!…
courtesy of the Chicago Triathlon Facebook page.

And then, once you have all of your gear sorted & organized by race, it’s time to get ready for the swim – and head over to the Swim Start. Since I was doing this race by myself this year (my Tri-partner in crime Chris had to bow out with a bad stress fracture), I didn’t really have anyone good to take photos “during” the race. We’ll have to wait for the professional race photographers to send out their shots of the triathletes… to see how goofy I look in mid-stride!

Today was the second and third triathlons to complete my Chicago Triple Triathlon Challenge! Yesterday we did the SuperSprint… and today was International distance immediately followed by Sprint distance.

So I started with the Swim in Monroe Harbor. Basically straight across form Buckingham Fountain south to the Shedd Aquarium and then back north to the Chicago Yacht Club. Luckily for all of us, the water temperature was SO MUCH better today than yesterday. A full 8-degrees warmer! Which makes a HUGE difference. Yesterday’s water temperature was 56-degrees! Today, an almost “balmy-by-comparison” 64-degrees. Still cold. Who am I kidding? But not so cold that it hurt like yesterday!!!

Some more photos from the Chicago Triathlon Facebook page… of course, it was a lot darker when I started in Wave #1. My start time was 6:00am… about 20 minutes BEFORE sunrise!!!

Then it’s back to the Transition Area to change for the Bike portion. Then it’s up onto Lake Shore Drive headed all the way to Hollywood where LSD ends. Turn around and come back to the city. Then it’s a few more miles “under the city” as we ride Intermediate Wacker Drive and the “best-kept-secret” Busway to McCormick Place and back. Again at the Transition Area to switch to my running clothes. Then it’s off south to 31st Street Beach and back to the Grant Park Finish Line.

And by “finish” I mean of Triathlon #2Number Three still to come!!!
So it’s grab a medal, some Gatorade and head back to the Swim Start where they’ve moved our wetsuits & swim gear there for us already. Another change of clothes and it’s back in the water. This time it’s shorter… basically even with Buckingham Fountain north to the Yacht Club. Then “transition” back to bike gear for another roundtrip on Lake Shore Drive up to Hollywood and back. One last “transition” and it’s back in running gear for the last leg. This time the Finish Line does indeed mean FINISH!!! Triathlon #3 DONE. A celebration… and a HUGE sigh of relief!!! I made it… yeah me! Luckily, my friend Nancy was there to hang with and snap a few pictures. She has done the Sprint Relay swim portion… not quite exhausted, and willing to be my photographer!!!

Not only did I get my three medals… I also got a commemorative Triple Tri running vest. Only the “official” Triple Tri finishers got them… and that’s me! An official Triple Triathlete!!! 58.8 combined Triathlon miles for the three distance. Whoo-hoo!

After the race, Nancy and I hung out for awhile and then I finally got a great stretching session from the folks at Athletico. A little tight, a little sore… and very thankful for their “magic hands.”

So here we have it, the end of my day and the end of the Chicago Triple Triathlon Challenge.
Another adventure under my belt!!!

So what’s next???


Mom Jackson

August 30th, 2015

Congratulations! Never did I think my son would be such an athlete! Taylor and I were talking the other day and her comment was I couldn’t even run a block! I agreed. Good job!

Love, Mom

Linda Boozer

September 1st, 2015

Very impressive! Thought about trying for doing it but entry fees & trip expenses for an over-the-hill potter ….hmmm???

Thanks for all the inspiration you give us!

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