Longhorn 70.3 Spectator Report

I’ve decided that I think the best way to do a 70.3 race is not to race it…but rather to cheer it.  Much more relaxing.  Yet, still a heck of a lot of walking.  Lots and lots of walking to be exact.  I suppose one could take a more ‘stationary’ approach, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of extensive cheering.

So…race morning Lindsey and I teamed up to have offer complete cheering coverage of certain key athletes (read: The Girl for me, and Pro friend Lauren Harrison for her – plus we both shared duties for any DC tri person, and just about everyone else we could cheer at).

But…first…back to the beginning.

IMG_3256We got there ass-crack early.  It was kinda cool, they had busses shuttle us across from one area of the course to the swim area, which was pretty nice.  It plopped us right near transition – which was Texas-style in size…massive.

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While the Girl was getting ready deep in transition land, I snapped a few pictures of Lindsey getting Lauren all ready as well.

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Before we knew it, it was time for the pro’s to go off.  Now, the pro’s were a bit excited to get going. So while they were supposed to wander out a little bit and wait – they wandered out a LOT instead.  And then when it came time for the countdown, they apparently failed to understand how to count.  Just as a quick tip for you pro’s – you go at some point after “1” or “Go”, not at “8” or “6”.  Just sayin’…

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Since the girl had a good 30 minutes until her wave went, I stood around watching some waves go by:

IMG_3296 IMG_3298After the girl went off, I moved on to watching Wetsuit strippers take care of business.  The women there in the center was a *MACHINE*.  You have no idea.  Everyone else was teamed up as a twofer, and she was going at it solo – kicking ass and taking no prisoners.

IMG_3359Meanwhile, down at the home front, athletes starting steaming in out of the water.  I actually swam the course on Friday (it was open), and it was pretty nice.  Granted, it’s hard to really have a totally complex lake swim given the lack of currents, tides, waves or great white sharks.

IMG_3363 Moving on a short bit later, I present you with transition.  I don’t really have many good shots here, so here’s just a quick one show the great expanse that is transition:

IMG_3375 From there the athletes bailed onto their bike for a nice 56 mile loop around Austin.  Regrettably, I managed to forget my longer lens (70-200mm) on the table in the hotel, so I had to get the bike shots using a far wider lens (10-22mm).  Slightly less ideal for this situation.  Nonetheless, I made best with what I had.

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I think out of all of them, this one is probably my favorite:

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After a few hours, the pro’s came back into town, and flew off onto the run – including Lauren:

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I meanwhile went a bit down the run course where the bike was looping back through in hopes of catching the Girl finishing up the bike.  While I did just barely miss her there, I did catch this guy running it in.  The Girl told me afterwards that he was trying to fix a flat about 1.8 miles from the end of the course.  She yelled at him to simply run it in.  He clearly listened – nice job getting the work done in running it in!

IMG_3499Back on the run course Lindsey and I were busy cheering away at pretty much anyone and everyone.

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IMG_3640 We also cheered on a TON of DC-Tri peeps, as well as basically everyone else we could.

IMG_3608 (Above is another Lindsey, also from DC)

I took so many pics of DC Tri folks, you’ll just have to click into this gallery to see them all:

Now, when it came time for The Girl’s second run loop (out of three) – I had a special custom up my sleeve.  She didn’t even know about it.  I originally wanted to bring down my Turkey Costume, but I couldn’t get it to fit in my luggage.  So I then went to the costume store down here in hopes they’d have the below Bull Rider dude, but alas they did not have it in stock.  Sad panda.

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So, I got the next best thing instead:

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Yes, there’s really not much more to say about that.  Other than it caused a lot of people to laugh quite a bit.  Oh, and my (very white) legs are the victim of thousands of miles of bike shorts over the last 6 months of warm weather riding.  I didn’t stay in the outfit too long, as I was ringing the crap out of those three cowbells at once, and it was getting tiring.  But for those who saw…you can say thank you later.  Plus, the Girl found it rather humorous…which is all that counts.

While on the way back up the hill towards the finish area, I continued to have more blog reader folks shout out and say hi.  Hello to you too!

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I liked some of the signs they put out on the course (may have to click to see other sign full screen):

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And some of the aid stations were particularly awesome:

IMG_3670 IMG_3673And finally a short bit later, you get to finish.  In the girl’s case it would be a kick-ass time of a little over 5 hours, a whopping 40 minutes faster than her IMRI 70.3 time just back this July.  She kicked ass.  You finish inside a rodeo stadium, which aside from the terrible lighting – is pretty neat.

IMG_3675IMG_3679 Oh – and on the way out, you can visit the official race mascot – a Longhorn:

IMG_3696 Of course, the girl and I visited it – and she even got photos with her bike in front of it.  Apparently the first time anyone asked to have their bike in the photo.

So with that, that’s all I got for Sunday’s race.  I’m actually staying down here for work the next few days, so I’ll let ya know all about my Austin training exploits here shortly.  Good times!

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22 Comments

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! I spit out my coffee on my laptop after seeing your costume. Great job!

    Reply
  2. Kim

    OMG did Speedo Steve see your costume? the two of you would be hysterical together in your outfits.

    congrats on the girl's kick ass performance. and awesome photography as usual!

    Reply
  3. very nice pics! I hope you are enjoying Austin! today looks like a nice one - but a bit chilly (relatively speaking :-)

    Reply
  4. RWJ

    Ha! That's pretty awesome. But I've got two words for you and your white legs; spray tan.

    Reply
  5. dan

    Good pics, tell the girl congrats, oh, and RWJ has a good idea..

    Reply
  6. Try and swim at Barton Springs, that is a longstanding goal of mine!

    Congratulations to the Girl on a nice fast race...

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    That course is too crowded. 3 loops? WTF?

    Why do you refer to your 'Girl' in a generic, demeaning manner? Does she even exist?

    Reply
  8. Thanks for cheering and taking photos, Ray! LJ sent me the picasa link this morning..YIKES i look like death! Glad you had a good time down there...and i loved the cowboy/white leg costume. awesome!

    Reply
  9. Great post, great shots, as always. Do you touch them up in photoshop or some software?

    Reply
  10. Glad you had fun out at the park watching the race. I had to laugh at your costume. I wish I could have been there to meet you. Some other time I will have better luck at working that out.

    Enjoy Austin and our chilly weather right now.

    Reply
  11. Nice tan lines!

    Reply
  12. Kim

    Please pass my congratulations onto The Girl for her PR!!!

    Reply
  13. Congratulations to the speedy Girl!

    Good job on encouraging the peeps.

    Reply
  14. Have a great time "Austin" #208

    Reply
  15. I saw you in your costume, but had no clue who it was. I'm in Falls Church and just started reading your blog last week.

    Reply
  16. HA, that costume is to die for!!!

    And how nice you could be there to cheer for your DC Tri peeps and take pictures. I'm sure your photos are better than some of the official race photos.

    Congrats to The Girl on an awesome race!

    Reply
  17. Thanks for taking such awesome pictures! It was great seeing a familiar face out on that long, long run.

    Reply
  18. Bob-

    Most shots I don't bother to touch up. A few I'll crop (like one of the bike ones, but others I don't bother). Generally I use Microsoft Digital Image Suite because it's super easy. If I really need something more I'll use Lightroom (rare). Most I don't bother fixing colors/exposure, though I probably should. Just a matter of time really.

    Anon-

    It didn't look as bad in person as the photos make it (crowd-wise). It wasn't originally 3-loops, they had to change it at the last minute due to some issues with the trail and recent weather. As for The Girl, she exists, as many readers can attest to (who run into her) - and she's had a few rare pictures posted of her here and there. And the name is actually pretty common among bloggers - different variations exist 'The Girl' (for girlfriends), 'The Boy' (for boyfriends), 'The child' (for children), etc... I could have come up with some secret name like 'Goldfish', or a fake name like 'Nicollete', but in the end that would just be confusing. Hard to say "The Goldfish and I went for a bike ride".

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Reply
  19. Ray - nice race coverage and thanks for joining me on the 26 min progression run!

    Lauren - look like death, haha. I bet you can answer Bob D's question? "Do you touch up [the pics] in photoshop or some software?"

    Anon - yes, the girl aka cupcake goddess, exists

    Reply
  20. Thanks for cheering us DC Tri folks on out there and shaming me into running instead of walking!

    Reply
  21. i actually like the goldfish. go for it.

    Awesome costume!

    Congrats to the girl for me--she did kick ass!

    Well done!

    Reply
  22. Although it is possible to say "The Goldfish and I went for a nice long swim"!

    Discovered your blog today and spent far too much of my time this morning reading almost every post!!!

    Thank you for all the efforts and I look forward to following you from France

    Reply

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