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

So we came back down to the waterfront Saturday morning for athlete check-in, mandatory athlete briefing and the IRONMAN Expo. It’s a little overwhelming to see those bridges looming out there off in the distance. Knowing that I was going to have to swim a LONG ways around an island and then under those two, yes count them two, bridges before getting out of the water.

We parked the car and then started off towards IRONMAN VILLAGE. There were already athletes in the water for the official open water swim practice. Sure, I probably should be practicing with them… but then again, why start now?!

So we finally made it to IRONMAN VILLAGE. Exciting!!!
There’s the official IRONMAN Expo Tent, assorted vendors and other things in the Village. We did a little shopping and hung around for the first official Athlete Briefing of the morning. They cover all of the basic rules & information for tomorrow’s triathlon. After the briefing, you’re good to go and get ready for the Big Race!!!

After getting my bags and checking in, we went back to the hotel to pack up my gear for each leg of the race. For most triathlons you generally keep all of your stuff at one place. You continue to return to that same Transition Area in between each leg of the race. But for the IRONMAN, because it’s so much longer, they split it up a bit… and they provide you with a Special Needs Bag for both the run and the bike. Those special needs bags will be out on the route at the half-way point. So it’s important to think about what you might need at each leg of the race ahead of time.

It was great to have Chris there as my longtime friend, eager supporter and Sherpa for the weekend. She was the perfect choice to keep me on task and help keep everything running smoothly. Trying to plan, organize and prepare for every step of the way. I don’t want any surprises along the way tomorrow.

Once we were packed up, and had my numbers attached to bike, helmet and everywhere else… it was time to go back to the Transition Area. I had to get my bike and all of my Gear Bags checked into Transition ahead of time. So my Sherpa Chris and I headed out of the hotel towards the Transition Area again.

When you get there, you suddenly see a LOT of bikes!!! There are nearly three thousand people signed up for the race. And the Transition Area was filling up fast. Right on the waterfront. In the “shadow” of the bridges. Thousands of bikes waiting for their big day tomorrow!

Once bikes are in place, then you take your Gear Bags to the other side of the Transition Area. It’s a big system of numbers & rows. Everything is planned & organized. Everything in its place. Every place with its thing. Thousands of bags all lined up in the field.

After setting up in Transition, we went to find my friend Pam who was working… and sitting down… in the Volunteer’s Information Tent. So glad that she made it down to cheer me on… even if she couldn’t do much walking…

Earlier the day before, as we were leaving Chicago,¬† I got this text from Pam…

Turns out Pam actually broke her foot. And yet she still pulled it together and came down to Louisville to cheer me on, as well as volunteer at the race. She’s a trooper. So much fun to have Pammy there to be part of my Support Crew, along with her husband Jeff. Too bad she’s going to miss her marathon next weekend through the Redwood Forest in California!!! Mwah, mwah, mwah…

After playing with Pam, Chris and I decided to walk up a mile or so to the location for the the Swim Start. It’s a cozy little marina of docks located between the shoreline and a small island. So the swim plan is that all athletes will jump off one of the closest two docks. Swim north, turn around the island, and then swim south back to Joe’s Crab Shack.

So then it was back to “reality”… dinner, hotel, early to bed.
Chris and I discussed our morning plan. It was going to be a VERY early morning start down at the Pier. The race officially starts at 7:30am. But my personal start time is whenever I cross the timing mat on my way into the water. But the sooner I start, the longer I have to make it across the Finish Line. So we’re starting VERY early tomorrow!!!








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