Uneventful drive from Nashville to Winder, GA with plentiful sunshine and some quality time for self reflection before a big weekend and even bigger week. I just enjoyed the trip eating carbs and staying hydrated. I arrived in early afternoon, ate lunch, checked into my campsite, and made my way to the course start to hear Craig Evans, a former college swimmer and current XTERRA Pro, 8th in the world last year, give a presentation and answer questions...backing up for a minute, I first saw sections of the course when I drove in the park's main entrance and instantly knew I made a mistake in which bike I brought. Look at the pictures and it is clear I could have taken both bikes in the van and decided which one to ride when I was down there, but I'm an idiot. A huge idiot.
So Craig answered questions about training, nutrition, and swimming in a wet suit (something I had never done before). It was still light out, and plenty warm, when Craig finished so I decided to pre-ride the bike course for a couple miles to get a feel for it. Here's what I learned. The course was SUPER flat and SUPER fast and my single speed was geared all wrong for the course and SUPER slow. The course is amazing, perfect, unless you are on a single speed. Imagine being in a car with one gear on a Nascar track. Well, it wasn't quite that bad except I was again plagued with major bike mechanical issues. Chain issues.
I had a pretty ugly incident on my MTB two weeks ago when my chain flew off in what I thought was a freak occurrence. Then it happened again on my last ride before leaving for ATL and I considered taking out a link in the chain, but didn't want to mess with anything right before the race. In my pre-ride the chain came off twice...in two miles of riding. Again, in retrospect, I should have bought/borrowed a chain tool and taken a link out, but I feared screwing up the chain the night before the race and not even having a bike to ride, how bad could this problem be (see actual race report).
I finished my pre-ride angry that I brought only the single speed and angry that not only was it slow but I was having chain issues. I went out for dinner, came back and set to work on my bike. I tightened up the brakes and considered what action I could take without chain tool to keep the chain on the bike...nothing that seemed like a truly good idea came to mind. I had calmed down and was just excited to get this event rolling in the AM. I threw in some earplugs and was out...until 3:30 AM when I woke up anxious about a cold water swim and a bike that didn't work. 4:30 AM still up, still anxious.
Breakfast at 5:00 was somewhat of a relief because it was progress. I planned on eating cold oatmeal and some Powerbars, but I left the water in the car so I mixed oatmeal with fruit punch Gatorade, raisins, and a banana. It wasn't that bad. I went back to bed for a couple minutes and then woke up to pack up the campsite and drive over to the race start to setup transition.
I setup my bike and wet suit, went back the car, drank a Redbull, and then brought the rest of my stuff to transition. Triathlons require LOTS of stuff. Craig Evans had setup his bike right next to mine and it was so strange to be around so many athletes I had read about and see that they were regular guys, well, REALLY fast regular guys. I got my gear all setup, my wet suit on, and listened to the pre-race directions before everyone headed down to the water. My season was about to start. I could hardly believe it was happening.
The van with room for another bike
Breakfast (notice the pink tinge)