Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Triathlon Reception

Sommer Sports held a reception in Clermont for the Great Floridian and Florida Challenge athletes. I drove out since it sounded like fun. The reception was held at the Tiki Bar, which apparently is a local landmark. They provided lots of munchies from vegetable platters to pasta to cheese squares to... a chocolate fountain with strawberries, pound cake, and rice crispies. Of course I ate sensibly (and will make no comment on relative proportions)! :)

I talked to a few other athletes and conversation invariably turned to Hurricane Wilma which is predicted to pass over Florida this weekend. That is a bit inconvenient since the triathlon is Saturday.

Whenever I think of training for another IM, I get a slight uneasy feeling, like something is holding me back (above and beyond my abilities and the desire to only do it if I can realistically shave 2+ hours off my previous time) but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I realize now what that uneasy feeling is - it is reluctance in putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. If you train for a sprint or oly, and can't do it because of a minor injury or weather or illness or whatever, there will be another in a few weeks you can do. Not so with IM - if you can't do the event you trained for, you are out. WTC IM races are sold out so far in advance, you can't get entry into another, even if one were available in the right timeframe. The training can be so time consuming, it might not be feasible to do it again. The best you can do is somehow maintain your fitness level and regroup at a later iron distance event, since those don't typically close so early.

This was the concern I saw on a few faces at the reception, and I certainly sympathize. Some people on the forums want the race director to either cancel the event so they don't have to travel, or guarentee it will be held, which is ridiculous since the weather may force things. Others suggest cancelling the iron distance event and having everybody do the half iron; this of course is unacceptable to people who are set on doing the iron distance. What is clear is nobody wants partially shortened course in which the distance winds up being something between a half iron and a full iron.

I threw out the suggestion that if weather forces the full iron to shorten, perhaps the course could be fixed to the ITU Long Course format, which is a 4K swim, 120K bike, and 30K run. That way it should be possible to have everybody finish a few hours earlier, and beat the storm.

I feel bad for people who trained hard, if the event is cancelled. But realistically, if the hurricane comes through Clermont, people would be insane to bike and run amidst the wind, rain, and lightning. The police would probably cancel their course assistance and that would stop the event.

The good news is that it isn't all doom and gloom. Current weather forecasts show Wilma well offshore Saturday morning, and just approaching landfall late, further south on the coast. This might bring some rain at the end of the event, which would be less than ideal, but better than cancellation.

For fun, Sommer Sports printed up a bunch of small flyers:

hurricane wilma

After mingling a while I left. Everybody was pretty upbeat - after all, you can't really do much about the weather. We think we'll be lucky. ;)

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