We had a good night's sleep and awoke to bright blue skies and a crisp autumn wind in Madison this morning. The usual plan on Friday is to start with a mocha and coffee cake at Starbuck's. The Capitol looked so lovely with its blue backdrop.
Then, we head down to the water where George and a bunch of other Ironman participants do an easy swim. George snapped this picture of me on my rock, where I sat and talked to people and read while he went off on his swim.
I definitely have the better deal here.
Today, the breeze made the water a bit choppy. Here, George concentrates on peeing in his wetsuit before he begins...something of a disgusting tradition with IMers. I'll bet the guy behind him is doing the same thing.
Here he is getting out of the water after his swim. He claimed it was very refreshing. It just looked cold to me.
Here's a shot of our hotel. We're on the third floor corner, which will no doubt mean a lot of noise on race night. But if that's the price you pay for having a view of Starbuck's, I'm willing to pay it.
Have I mentioned that Starbuck's opens at 4:00 am on race day? Well, it does. Thank the coffee gods!
Don't you think Starbuck's should be paying me for all this advertising? Seriously.
Monona Terrace is race central. Everything happens around it or in it. The roof has wonderful views of the swim course on one side and the Capitol on the other. On race day, this place is packed and unless you get there early and stake a claim on a bit of rail, you'll only see the back of people's heads. Ask me how I know that.
Here's the helix that racers must run up after swimming 2.4 miles in order to reach the transition area to jump on their bikes and ride 112 miles. It's just diabolical of the race planners to arrange things this way. It's also impossible to get a spot on the helix to cheer your Ironman on. If you're behind the race barricade that spirals up it on race morning, it'll feel like you're in a mosh pit.
But then, I've never been in a mosh pit, so I'm really just guessing about that.
The finish line hasn't been set up yet, but it'll be between the Capitol and Monona Terrace, beyond where you see the big Ford sign and across from the building in the forefront on the left. The medical tent will be off the picture to the right. I hope we don't have to visit it this year, but at least you know it's comfortingly close to the finish.
One of my favorite things about Ironman is how friendly everyone is. Just about everyone is looking to chat with, well, just about anyone. On an elevator ride in our hotel today, a French pro bike racer who has raced in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and the Vuelta d'Espana commented on George's yellow LiveStrong wristband. Then he told us the story of how he put Lance Armstrong on the spot at the Tour de France by asking if he would ever finish Ironman Hawaii. Apparently, Lance was taken aback and babbled a bit. Sounded like he didn't commit.
But really, it wouldn't surprise me in the least for Lance to get around to doing an Ironman at Kona. Anyone who would do the Tour de France at his age is crazy enough for Ironman, too.
And speaking of nice people, here's a picture of Nicole, whose blog I Think...Therefore I Blog is one of my favorites. She drove into Madison to have coffee with me at Starbuck's. She's such a smart, fun person on her blog and in person, and I hope she doesn't think I'm a total dork in person. Really, I worry about these things because I'm soooo much more interesting on the internet than in real life. And doesn't she have awesome hair? That's natural curl. I asked. Because I'm jealous. Or is it envious? Whatever. I want natural curl like Nicole's.
So on the whole as well as in every particular, Friday has been a completely wonderful day. As I finish up this post, George is surfing for a restaurant for tonight. I'm wanting Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine, and he seems to be aiming for Indian/Nepalese. He just mentioned Asian fusion, too. Oops, that is vegetarian. Right out for Mr. Carnivore. But if the rest of our day is any indication, the meal tonight is bound to satisfy.
And if not, well, it will hardly matter. I ate enough yummy calories last night at the Irish pub to cover me for DAYS. After all, I won't be the one burning 8,000 calories on Sunday.