[ed. note: To all of you who are unwillingly here from the Facebook after accidentally clicking my automatically generated posts, I am truly sorry. At some point in the distant past I linked this blog to the Facebooks and now when I schedule a post it automgically posts there when it puts the post live. Since then many updates have happened to WordPress on which this blog runs, and I have not yet been able to figure out which sequence of buttons and links to press in order to make it stop, and quite frankly i’m too lazy to really put much effort into it. So until I accidentally figure out how to make it stop, enjoy my unintended Facebook posts clogging your feed. Also you can read Part 1 of my historical adventures Here.]
Turbulence – Saturday, 1 day until Race Day aka #NoSaturdayCheckin
Now, /usually/ I’m very good about being prepared for races. I read all the rules, I attend the mandatory meetings, and I know my shit. But after 30-something races, including at least 5 70.3s and 1 other Ironman you’d think I’d know how these things work. Yea… Not so much.
Saturday, 6:30 AM: “Oh Fuuuuuck!”
Saturday, 6:31 AM: “Shitshitshitshit… Fuuuuuuuuck!”
Erica, bleary eyed: “What?”
As it turns out in my perusing of the Athlete’s Guide in the weeks coming up to the race, I had somehow missed the large, bold, highlighted warnings in several places mentioning that Athlete Check In was on Friday, and would not be on Saturday, “No Exceptions”.
I’m perfectly willing to put up with my own shenanigans and stupidity, and sure it would have wasted a crap ton of money, but I could only blame myself, so meh… But in this case, I had family making a 14 hour trip from NJ, and some friends coming from Rochester NY all to watch me race. So I start panicking. Pacing back and forth across the room, my family was already in town, but I texted my friends, who were like, “We are coming to volunteer and sign up for next year, we just wanted to make you feel good, we don’t care if you race or not…”, so I started to feel a little better.
Now, after /actually/ reading the Athlete’s Guide, I noted that there was an emergency help line to call if you could not make athlete check in, but you had to call them at least a day or two in advance. OK, a way forward, I’ll just call them and get this all straightened out. This help line opened at 7 am. At 6:59:59 I dialed the phone. Fucking gibberish. I don’t know what I was thinking, we were in Canada, where they speak French. I don’t know French, I don’t know anyone who knows French, but I’m pretty sure that was what the sound was coming through the phone. I figured out it was a message after hanging up, frightened, and calling back a minute later and hearing the same gibberish in the same voice, but I still had no idea what it was saying. Extended Athlete Check in? If you missed Check In just go home already? Was the help line closed for the weekend? We’ll never know. I called back several times over the next 15 minutes continually getting the same foreign message taunting me, as the panic began to return.
After about the 30th time listening to the message, I decided to get some help and went down to the front desk to get an interpreter. If you know me, you know what a great feat this was, not only making a (multiple) phone call(s), but then actually talking to a real live, unknown to me, human? That’s just crazy talk, but there I was, explaining my situation to the guy at the front desk, and asking for a translation of the message. I finish my long winded rambling explanation and he agrees to help. So I give him the number and he dials the phone. And a real live motherfucker answers the phone, and she speaks English. After a brief exchange in French, where I’m sure the guy was explaining that there was some kind of dumbass American who thinks you’re an answering machine here, and he wants to talk to you, and he looks more than a little unhinged. He handed me the phone and I explained my situation to the very nice woman on the other end. (If anyone asks, we had a fender bender on the way out of town and had to turn back to switch cars and that’s why we were late and couldn’t make check in. Like I said, I was panicked.) She was very understanding and said there was a double top secret late check in at 11:30 at a certain location that if I was at I could get checked in. But under no circumstance was I to tell anyone about this (so keep your big mouths shut), and I was now on a list so in the future I would not have another chance. Pfft whatever, I’m in! Woohoo!
[ed note: There has been some debate over whether or not the above couple paragraphs represent alternative facts. And that I was, in fact, just curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the room clutching a pair of tri shorts while gently weeping, while Erica found the number, talked me off the ledge, got me to call, and was smart enough to know that the front desk guy could easily translate the message for me. And that that would be more useful then swearing at the computer generated message in broken high school Spanish. Which version is the real truth? I guess we’ll never know.]
11:30 rolls around, and me and about a dozen other shady characters coalesce in a hallway on the second floor of an adjoining hotel. One by one they call our names as we shamefully enter, heads hanging, to fill out our check in paperwork and get our instructions. We get our wristbands, our packets, and are instructed to get our timing chips from the start line on race morning. I grabbed my packet with a vice like grip and left as quickly as possible hiding my smile, excited that I was finally checked in and ready to race.
After the excitement of the morning, it felt good to get in a short brick, rack my bike and be on to staying off my feet carbo loading and heading to bed.