Day of the Vineman
This weekend I was up in Santa Rosa area to support the Ironteam who were doing the Full Vineman (Ironman distance). The morning started as earlier as the racers, a bunch us were volunteering at the first transistion area. My job was to make sure no non-atheletes entered the transistion area to keep it secure. By around 9am the area was closing down as the last swimmers were coming out of the water. It was now time for those of us who were not doing the event to get our training in for the day done.
We headed out on our bikes away for the Vineman bike course towards the coast. Coach Dan and created a bike loop that would take us out to Highway 1 and back. The ride started off great, a fairly flat route and simple directions. Once we reached the coast we continued south on Highway 1, there was a small tailwind which made for a fast ride. I had a cat and mouse chase going with a team mate until we both realized we had missed the turn and we weren't the only ones. We regrouped and headed back north, eventually we found the turn, which lead us an extremely steep climb. The day was heating up and climb was exposed, no better way to max out your heart rate than this. It should be noted this was described as a little hill, though Coach Dan, addmited afterwards he hadn't ridden the route himself :)
The rest of the route was easy to folow. The downhill had a couple of Cattle grid, which is always a great way to verify everything is attached correctly. With about five miles to go, I got a flat. After a quick repair, a less than a mile later I had second flat. With a through check of tire and second tube I was back on my way and glad to be close to end. Overall I have to say it was a great route and nic change to be cycling in a new area.
In the evening we headed over the run course to cheer on the team, the weather had hit the high nineties earlier and it was still hot. The team on the course were going strong despite the conditions. The run course was a three loop course which is great for spectating. By 10:00 it was dark and there was only an hour to go before the official cutoff. There were still a number of the team out on the course, we ran in few people and cheer them on.
By midnight a few of us were in the car waiting for the final parcipant to finish, we strugling to stay awake and it was cold outside now. Yet even one hour after the official cut-off there was one person still going. The person was Stefanie, this was heard third attempt at an Ironman race and this was as further than we had ever been before, she was stopping for nothing, but the finish line. Nearly the whole team gathered at the finish line with car headlights to brighten the dark and abandoned finish line. This was the finish the team had waited for, well desvered and long time coming. The team cheered was she ran in, she had won her race against the distance...
Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):
5,000+ feet of Climbing