I’m doing a half-Ironman tomorrow. Normally, that distance event comes with a little stress, a little fretting, and some jitters. Yesterday, that’s about how I was feeling about tomorrow’s race. Then today, Erin and I drove the bike course. Oh. My. Goodness. Hills. Switchbacks. 180-degree turns. Crazy long and fast downhills. This course is loaded. Last year, the course was 56 miles of flat. This year? They went totally the other way.
As we started the drive, we were chatting and happy. About 14 miles into the 56-mile course, our conversation turned more serious. By mile 20, we were damn near silent. All we could do was stare at the road ahead. At different times, we turned to one another and said, “Are you okay?”
We think we’re okay. We think it’ll be okay. But, honestly, we aren’t sure.
After we drove the course, we checked in and dropped off our bikes. Then we waited for the athlete’s meeting to hear last minute cautions related to the course and the rules. Before the meeting, the race organizers did a panel with the pros, largely asking them about the horrific bike course. (“Horrific” is my word, not theirs.) At one point, listening to their varying degrees of concern, I started to panic that even the pros seemed rattled by this new course.
Then they handed the microphone to Jordan Rapp, who won Ironman Canada in 2009, was left for dead after getting hit by a car on a training ride in 2010, and came back to win Ironman Canada 2011. Rapp talked about his excitement over the challenge to come. He said that it’s exciting to get out there and see if you can crack a course before it cracks you.