Thanks to the urging of FPC, I was aked to assist him in relay format at the inaugural Ironclad Triathlon. Despite its name, it is a relatively small sprint race: 1/2m swim, 12 mile bike, and a 3 mile run held on the beautiful campus of Webb Institute in Glen Cove. FPC knew the athletic director and saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate his”superior” bike skills. He was worried about how his legs would hold up in the run – which was on trails, so his gameplan was to have me do the swim, he’ll bike, and if we are in the lead, I’ll run. But he held out the option of doing the run too. It seemed like a great idea and both Gina and I were excited for him. We were happy to be a “support” crew as well since he had never been a part of a triathlon before.

The weather was nice and warm Saturday which was great – especially if you had to swim in the 50 degree+ water. The people at Runners’ Edge were volunteering so Gina and I got to run into some good friends. Wayne from Polar was on hand to assist in the race directing as well so it made for a friendly, fun, welcoming atmosphere for the 200+ people, mostly newbies, to the race. As FPC arrived and warmed up a bit on his bike, we checked out the area and water. Man it was chilly – like Maine’s Lobsterman, but only shorter and the water was calm. Slipping on my wetsuit, I had every intention to make sure I blitzed in/out of the water and put FPC in front. There were about 6 relay teams, but we were the only 2-person team. FPC seemed excited and thought I was crazy to swim. We were the last wave to go off, but once he saw some people start breaststroking and backstroking, he thought even HE could do that. I mentioned to him that those peole are probably freezing and that is one way to cope with it when you seem disoriented.

As I approached the water I tried to just get excited. One way to stay warm. I started out way left to make a line on the bouy. “Why was I here? For big brother.” is all I kept saying as I eagerly awaited our go and my feet began to go numb. And then we were off.

I churned and churned as I made a clear view. I saw one guy off to my left ahead so I tailed him. Before we even got to the first bouy we started making ground on the wave in front. I kept tailing him as I had no probleming hitting the line of sight on the bouys. Soon we passed 2 waves of people in front. And then 3. Man I was speeding. And felt good. As I turned the last bouy I kicked and sped up getting ahead of the lead guy. I was going to make FPC in front of the relays! Keep going. Water wasn’t so bad now. Yeah!!

Out of the water and G met me as we climbed a small hill. I peeled off the suit and saw FPC waiting to be tagged at the transition area. “you’re #1 so go, go, go!! I said as I attached the chip to his ankle. Off he went on his first triathlon race. Gina and I had time to laugh a bit and I regained my warmth and changed into some running clothes. We saw him go by the first lap and cheered him on. He seemed ok and going very strong. Many zoomed by only to be greeted by a speed bump so it was a bit entertaining. I made my way to our transition spot and talked with our relay competition – a eam from Runners’ Edge (3 person) and they were waiting for their cyclist to come in. Great crew – even gave me some pointers on marriage. Soon, their cyclist came in and off their runner went. The guy was exhausted! I also knew now we were in second. About 2 minutes later FPC comes in and “needed a gatorade”. Mind you he didn’t bother buying one the night before, this morning, nor drinking water on the bike. Now it was 80 degrees and he needed a drink. In a class act of sportsmanship, the biker offered FPC a few swigs from his bottle – BLUE GATORADE ironically, an FPC favorite and he was ready to run. I wanted to check the trail so I ran too.

So there we go, me trying to put him on a “21-24 minute” pace as he asked, but he needed his time to get his legs and rhythm. It was hilarious. Once we hit the single lane trail, it was just like pure cross-country. FPC kept yapping it up much to the pleasure of some runners, and disgust of one. Entertaining, but once he “got his groove” he felt like picking it up. NO problem bro. But then we hit the hill and that changed just a bit. He was happy to pass people, and once he had a clear sight of the finish, he had some left to actually spint it in. I was very happy for him and both Gina and I made sure he had anything he needed to be ok. Sweating profusely, he regained his senses and wih medal around his neck, was a winner. Regardless of the fact that we were in second by over 5 minutes, he finished and was happy. So happy he managed to wolf down a few sausages and hash browns, along with some oj.

We later learned we were awared first place due to the fact we were a 2 person team. We got 2 bottles of wine, a few fuel belts, he got a tshirt (thanks Wayne) and he’ll get an award in the mail. He finished first in his first race. He was elated and exhausted at the same time. He was even ready to retire, but I think he got the bug. If he ever finds a race that has a pool swim and similar distance, he’ll get to do one as an individual. But Gina and I both were proud of him and happy to all come away winners that day. He’s a winner everyday regardless but it was a pleasure to assist him yet again on a goal.  

It surely was a classic race and I advise anyone looking for a nice, small race to enter this one next year. The crew at Sunrise Triathlon organized a great race and Webb was a great host.

Gina and I ventured out to the cemetary afterwards to vsit my mom for one last farewell before we move to Charlotte. Now 20 days remain and the frantic packing of things begins. We will send mailings to most regarding our new address and will keep everyone posted. The computer will be packed for over a week so lack of access to our emails will result. Please stay tuned.    


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