Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ramblin’ Rose Report

Sunday was the big day for Little Miss Sunshine. She competed in her first triathlon, the Ramblin' Rose here in Charlotte (actually Huntersville, but whatever.) For once, we all got up early to go to an event that wasn’t about me, and it was a nice change of pace. We left the B-43 Compound (not so) bright and early, and she was ready to race:

When we got on the scene, it was wall to wall people. With over 1200 women competing in this event, things looked pretty confusing. Little Miss Sunshine eventually made her way over to the transition area, and searched through the maze of race gear to find her spot. It wouldn’t be easy:

After a short while, she found her spot (the transition area was setup according to the participant’s bib numbers.) She set up her transition area just as we planned, and it looked like she was ready:

We looked around the area, and spotted a familiar sight. The wife of the Chili Man had set up her area as well, and she appeared to be just as prepared:

After setting up, we looked around for the Chili Man and his family. We spotted him in the crowd, so we hung out with them for a while:

Notice that he had a secret weapon to help his wife in her first-ever triathlon:

Yeah, only a real man can carry a Barbie doll around and look cool doing it.

We headed inside to the pool area, and waited for the swim to start. What we found was an even bigger crowd:

The overpowering smell of nervous, sweaty bodies and chlorine was everywhere. We waited for Little Miss Sunshine to get into the pool to start her swim. They started according to bib number, so at number 464 she had to wait a little while. She eventually got into the pool and prepared to swim:

Once she got the signal, she was off:

She’s usually a pretty good swimmer, but I think her nerves got the better of her. She struggled a bit, but she was still doing okay. I can relate since I have also been known to panic when I swim during these types of events. I’m sure she was just trying to get through it just to get to the bike leg, where she was sure to excel. She exited the pool and headed over to the first transition:

After a quick transition (we practiced a lot), she grabbed her bike and headed out:

This is the part where I became more than just a spectator. I had brought along my bike, so I quickly hopped on my bike as soon as she left. I hammered away on the road, riding the course backwards so I could find a spot about halfway through to get some good photos. My effort paid off when I spotted her coming down a long hill:

I hopped back on my bike, and hammered some more to catch up. She was pedaling her ass off, so it was all I could do to get back to her. I whipped out the camera when I saw her again, and she showed no signs of letting up:

I put the camera away, and took off again. After shouting a few words of encouragement, I passed her and headed back to the transition area. I had to work really hard to get back there before she did, since she was really putting it down on the bike course. It all paid off when I arrived just in time to get the camera out and snap this photo of her coming up the hill to T2:

She got into the transition area and quickly parked her bike and changed into her running attire. Then it was off on the run portion:

After a making the two-mile run look easy, she approached the finish line:

She did it, and I was proud. She completed two of her goals, which were to finish, and also to do it in under one hour. I know the clock on the photo above says 1:44, but that was the overall time (she didn’t start until over 45 minutes after the event started.) She was so happy to finish:

Since the better half of the Chili Man started well after Little Miss Sunshine, I was able to capture her out on the course as well. Since she reads this crappy blog from time to time, I figured I would post up a few photos of her up here too. Here she is coming back from the bike leg:

And also coming in for the finish, with her youngins running in with her:

With so many people participating, I was amazed at how well put together this event was. Everyone seemed to have a good time. All of the women had smiles on their faces, even though some of them were having to tough it out. I’m really proud of Little Miss Sunshine and Tara (Mrs. Chili Man) for completing their first triathlon. Hopefully there will be many more in their future. Way to go ladies.

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