I have not been sleeping great here in Cozumel. The mattress is not much softer than the tile floor and as most of you gentle readers know, trying to get good sleep before a crazy-ass event like this is comprable to sinking 10 shots in a row from the 3-point line. Some times you get lucky and it happens but most times it is a futile attempt. I was up and awake by 3:15 am and I started the process of getting my tri gear on, getting my hair under control, and drinking my pre-race smoothie. All of my other gear bags were ready to go so I did not feel rushed. Johnny Tri and I walked down and over a block to meet up with Speedracer and we were in a cab and headed to Chankanaab Park by 4:40 am.
The crowds of racers were already starting to build as they waited for transition to open. I was kicking myself for leaving my Pizle head lamp on the bed because a row of port-o-cans was standing in the dark and no one else had a light. I could hear El Esposo's voice asking me where that flashlight was that he insisted I pack in my bag. Lesson learned on that one. At least I was the first person in that port-o-can and nothing bad had happened in there yet. I got my first mosquito bite on my foot going through the grass here. This was the first swarm of many mosquitos that I would be facing later that day. We met up with Greyhound and not long after that the gates of transition opened and the athletes flooded through and washed over the racks of bikes.
As I was filling bottles and getting my nutrition on the bike Johnny Tri rushes up to me asking for money for a cab because he left all of his bike nutrition back at the villa. Speedracer had shelled out the pesos for the cab so I still had my $5 I had shoved in my tri top. I told JT to hurry and that I would get his bottles all filled up. I had thought that his bags looked a little empty compared to mine as we had left the villa, but I figured that he is a big boy and had it under control.
I had somehow missed the "Special Needs" bag drop off when we entered and I had to go back and drop the bags off. There was not much in those bags, but if I needed or wanted what was in there I could pull off and grab the bag. I found Greyt Times waiting over by Bree Wee's bike to let Bree use her bike pump. I figured that I better do that as well and borrowed her bike pump to top off my tires as well. The mosquitos were really biting by now and I was cursing myself for leaving my OFF! back at the villa. I walked back over to JT's bike and there was no sign that he had been back. I hoped that he was going to make it back in time.
I figured that I better fish out my speed suit, cap, and goggles and drop off my pre-swim gear bag. No sooner had I started pulling up my swim skin did I hear JT's voice walking up with Luke and Speedracer. We dropped off our bags and I hit a port-o-can one more time before heading up on the dock to wait for the pro start. I guess I was in my own world but I totally missed the dolphin show right before the Mexican National anthem was played. How I could have missed that standing on the edge of the dock right in front of the dolphin enclosures is beyond me. As a guest to the island and the country of Mexico I stood respectfully as the crowd of spectators and athletes sang the national anthem. Ok you lazy Americans, you may say you love your country but boy you sure are apathetic about it. I have seen people at functions where the Star Spangled Banner is played and they don't remove their hats, they are talking or texting on a phone, their hands are shoved in their pockets, and they are mumbling the words of the anthem or not even singing it at all and only give a little cheer or applause at the end. Yeah you may have gotten some American Pride right after 9/11 but over the past eight years our National Pride has gotten amazingly sloppy and downright disrespectful. Every Mexican National was singing their National Anthem loudly and with enthusiasm. This was to be but just a preview of what I would encounter throughout the day along the race course.
As soon as the pro field took off at 6:45 am, we were being quickly hustled into the turquoise water for our swim start. I swam my way out to the buoy line and got just behind the front line of swimmers. I looked around and I was the only pink swim cap in the mix up in the front. I knew that I was going to have to be aggressive with all of these men. I was ready for hand-to -hand combat in the water if that is what this race called for. The current and waves kept pushing us back off the start line and I felt like we had to swim slowly just to stay in one place. I was surprisingly not really nervous. I was ready. I heard the announcer start counting down the clock. I took a few short stokes to keep from drifting back. The air horn cut through the air like a bolt of lightening and the gentle rocking of the ocean suddenly became an angry boil of arms, legs, white water, and pink and blue swim caps. We were off at 7:00 a.m.
Part 2--The Swim tomorrow.