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American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Countdown to Tuscaloosa - Thursday

The USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals are being held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday morning. Even though I only barely qualified (two fifth-place finishes in regional qualifiers) I decided it would be good experience for me to compete this year so when I return as a youthful sixty year old in two years, I will know what it’s like to compete in a race where are all of the athletes are very serious competitors.

Triathlons are full of “bumps” – unexpected developments that you have to deal with. The first bump today was when I got to O’Hare, I looked at the board for the gate assignment for my 6:45 AM flight to Birmingham and saw the dreaded word “CANCELLED.” There was a mile long line at the ticket counter so I called United instead of waiting in line and they put me on a 7 AM Delta flight that connected through Atlanta and dropped me off in Birmingham at 11 AM. On both flights I sat by an empty seat, which is my favorite flying companion even though I am a very sociable person. Well, sort of sociable. It was the best United flight I’ve been on this year.

I’ve decided I’m not going to complain about the weather. So I will just make a few observations. It’s really really really hot here. But when I went out running this afternoon I didn’t notice the heat. Why? Because counteracting the heat is a thick wet blanket of humidity. I think it's about 400%. This humidity blanket keeps your brain from getting the message from your body that it is burning up.That’s my theory anyway.

When we registered for the race, the online registrar asked us what we think our finishing time would be. I said two hours fifty minutes, which I could do, if we the weather were, uh, different. Against my better judgment, I looked at the times predicted by the other guys in my age group. Most of them are under 2:30. I might finish last, but I don’t think that will bother me if I run a good race. Not too much anyway.

I picked up my bike that I had shipped here by FED EX because United charges $195 to bring a bike, which is more than my ticket. (I probably am not going to get United to sponsor my blog.) Tomorrow morning I will ride one loop of the bike course. The course is two twelve mile laps so I’ll be able to do an easy ride and still check out the whole course. I’m anxious to try out the new race wheels that I rented for this race.

Workout: Ran for 30 minutes a long the river. Hot and humid.


Michele said...

So what are the temperatures there? Does it cool down in the night? I wish I had your stamina!!

Len said...

It's not like Phoenix. The temp drops into the 70s but it feels clammy. Misters definitely wouldn't work here.