Into T2, but NO SHOE!

This post is for you triathletes out there in need of a little humor.  I’ve told the story several times, but it never gets old.  And of course we are all competitive, so a competition fits the bill here nicely (see my Group “Wolf’s Monthly Tri Topic” for details).

 

In 2011 I was teaching A&P, Ex Phys and more at Pinnacle Career Institute, so I decided to broaden my horizons and enter the Triathlon for the KCCC (bad jokes a par for my blog).  Super short, fun and heck; I was going to Kona in October so–um ya–I should do well against people who get suckered into participating just to get a point for their company.

Making the pot even sweeter, it was on the same day as the now deceased Kansas 70.3.  That meant the stronger athletes would likely be showing their guns on a bigger stage, leaving me to be a bully at the smaller race in my backyard.   Sweet!

 

Lining up for the swim, indeed I could tell the odds were in my favor.  I could probably win the thing and my company would think I’m the coolest.  Boom!  I like feeling cool.  So I do what I always do before I race.  I pointed at something.

I have dozens of pics of me pointing.  What can I say?  I like to point.

 

The swim went fine.  I’m what I like to say a “good bad swimmer”.  I swim bad, but I do it good (well).  Went on to the bike and really hammered it.  I knew if I could come off the bike with a 2 minute lead there was no way anyone would catch me.  It’s not like Kevin Denny was in the mix. 🙂  The plan to hammer the bike went well.  Came off and that’s when things got interesting….

 

I ran over to my spot at T2, tossed my bike on the empty rack and went to grab my shoes…wait.  They aren’t on the towel where I usually put them.  Weird?  How amateur.  “I must have left them in my bag,” I chuckled to myself.  A bit flustered I open my bag and the shoes aren’t there!  What the hell?

 

I look around my area, I look at my kind neighboring transition mates…nothing.  No shoes.  Dude!!!!  Now I’m frantic and I calmly and politely asked a volunteer if she’d seen my shoes.  Okay I pretty much shouted at her but DUDE WHERE THE HELL ARE MY SHOES!

One minute goes by.  I’m not sure what I was doing aside from pacing and setting a new HR threshold for T2.  Finally I decided to go over to the music guy/race announcer and ask him if he’s seen my shoes?  He makes an announcement “Hey has anyone seen a lost pair of shoes?”

 

Announcer to me only: “What do they look like?”

Me: “Orange and Yellow”.

“They are orange and um…*clear throat* yellow?” He shrugs at me while addressing the crowd.  Great this is pointless.

 

So I saunter over to my area, barefoot, no chance of being a bully anymore, and not happy.  Now I just can’t believe I didn’t have my shoes.  Maybe I left them in the car?  No I warmed up in them.  Are they by the water?  Why would they be there?  I don’t know WHY AREN’T THEY HERE!!!!!!!!!!

I call my superstar supportive wife (shameless I know…but she is) Tricia, who was cheering our friends on in Lawrence.  Man I wanted to be there, not in this T2 shoe eater at SMP.

In the middle of me reiterating my T2 shoeless tale, a volunteer walks up with this young guy holding my shoes, 15 minutes after they’d gone missing.  “I gotta go” I said and hung up.

 

“Hey!  Those are my shoes!”  I said excitedly.  I didn’t know who this guy was but I loved him!  He saved my shoes!

Guy with my shoes: “I couldn’t find mine so I took yours!” he smiled back at me.

Oh that’s nice…wait.  WHAT!

“You what??!!”  I didn’t know who this guy was but I hated him now.

 

“Ya I couldn’t find my shoes so I took yours.  It’s not a big deal…” declares the shoe-stealer.

“NOT A BIG DEAL”  I yelled, interrupting  as steam poured out of my ears.   “What the F*$% is wrong with you!”  I’m not one for using my fists to express emotion.  I’ve never hit anyone.  I still haven’t but man I came close.

“FOLLOW ME” I snarled.  “You need to be disqualified.”

 

As I walked for a minute I started to piece things together.  The guy was part of the duathlon, so he went off earlier then me and got to T2 before me…and had to walk a football field over and stumble upon MY shoes.  Lucky me.

And he really had no idea he did anything wrong!!!  (Or as my friend Newland put it: “or any human decency”).   Damnit.  If I get him disqualified I ruin two days instead of one.  While I’m mad and was pretending to be a bully, I’m not.  And this is just Corporate Challenge.  It doesn’t really matter (and really does any triathlon matter that much?  We’re not pros here).   Damnit again.

 

“Just get out of here.  Leave.” I huff in his direction.  That’s about the nicest thing I could say.

Well.  What now?  I guess I’ll run it.  Get a point for PCI.  Oh well.  So I did…and came in 22nd in my division, 100th overall.  Luckily nobody took my bike while I was away running because they couldn’t find theirs, right?

It was the only Triathlon where my T2 was LONGER than my run.  Looking back it is kind of funny, and one heck of a story.  This blog post wouldn’t be as good if it was “The day I bullied my way through the KCCC Tri and took first, making me look really cool for PCI”.

 

At the end of the day, all races are reduced to stories anyway.  The race where “you lost the goggles”, “your shorts ripped down the butt on the run”, “got hit by a deer” (sorry Bart couldn’t resist)…so on and so forth.  I just happened to get a good one here.

And, of course,  I got a medal to add to the others.  I think?  Or did the moron shoe-stealer run off with that too…

Have a good story to tell?  Post it below.  Best story wins a pair of my shoes.

1 Comment on “Into T2, but NO SHOE!

  1. My biggest race story that people know me by is now my first every 1/2 Ironman in Boulder, Colorado. I took my teenage kids there to see the mountains and combined a nice little family vacation with my first ever 1/2 ironman. On race day I was worried about where my kids would go if they wanted to watch me but sure enough they got up at 4am with me and went to the race as well. I gave my daughter my phone and she tracked me on the race and was concerned because I ended up MIA during the swim but only by the ironman tracker. I swam the entire race without stopping to rest and only because of adrenaline and fear of drowning I just kept stroking and stroking to finish the race. I got out of the swim exit and heard months later that my kids were asking if the race was over? NOPE that was just the first leg of the race and they mentioned I looked mad, but I was really just exhausted and I couldn’t even walk straight up the exit. I hit stop on my watch and realized later that my new tri watch I needed to hit the lap button not the stop/start button so I have a world record longest swim that I didn’t save. aka the entire race.

    I made it to transition and then had to run with my bike about a quarter mile with the bike to the bike start. I had two bottles of ice with ucan to drink and by the time I reached transition it was warm and totally disgusting. Didn’t drink much of that and headed out on the bike with a slight down hill to start the race. Immediately my bike was running funny and something didn’t sound right so at the bottom of the hill barely past the start line I got off my bike to see what was amiss. I had a flat tire on the front wheel. Darn it. So remembering what I learned from Josh flat tire repair clinic I went to work on removing the old tire and putting on a new tube and the tire back on. Being exhausted from the swim and stressed about the flat, in no time I had the tire twisted across the wheel and it wasn’t working. I was now wishing that Justin Miller who was close to the transition area taking pictures and cheering us on could have been closer to help me, but too far away. I saw a race volunteer and asked him for some help and he helped change the tire and I got a chance to take a breather and re-hydrate with some fluids. I was really mad that I wasted all this time on a flat tire but thought at least it was the beginning of the bike leg and then I started hustling and riding … probably a little too fast and not pacing myself. I noticed a girl about 1/2 my age riding a Cervelo P5 and I thought wow how did she afford that expensive bike and then I thought why isn’t she faster or why am I blowing past her. Then I remembered Josh’s famous words of it is the Engine and not the bike that makes all of the difference. Of course eventually you learn you can buy speed but you really still need to build the engine regardless. Then about mile 10 or so I hear PSSSSSsssss. Dang it. Another flat tire. I walked my bike over to a median to get out of traffic and a cute Australian woman and another volunteer offered to help me with my flat. He asked if I had a dollar and I said no and he pulled one out for me and showed me the “Dollar Bill Trick” I heard about this once from a post from Justin Miller on the Tri facebook page, but never heard what the trick actually was. So now I learned you could use a dollar bill to cover a slice in your tire to potentially protect your tube from sustaining another flat. I got re-hydrated and jumped back on my bike.

    Then I thought ok an angel must be looking after me because of the 2nd flat I missed a major accident about a mile further down the road. I saw a lady face down on the road bleeding and in critical condition and thought she must have been hit by a car. Fortunately I saw multiple medical and police rushing her way to help her out so I carried on. Now i was wondering, what am I going to do if I get hit by a car. Can I get crutches and carry my bike and continue on or hobble to get back to the transition area? Will I get compensated for my bike or medical bills? Too much to think about, just keep pedaling and get through the race. Next thing I know I’m praying please please no more flats. i hit an open stretch of highway and psssss, flat #3. I was hosed as I used all 2 of my co2 cartridges and all two tubes. Probably already carrying one extra tube than most people. Fortunately with Boulder being a highly active area for athletes and people staying in shape I saw some random guy not even in the race biking the other direction. I crossed the highway and waived him down and was able to get loaned a tube. i took the old tire and tube off in record time and put all of the new stuff on. fortunately another person also got a flat and had a spare co2. This time i was so fast changing the tire I fixed my and offered some assistance to the other lady to get her tire back on. so now I’m back on the bike and praying harder than ever that I just make it to the transition area.

    I went another 15 miles or so and then psssss flat tire. I thought ok I have another 10 miles or so maybe I could just ride on a flat tire. NOPE. That doesn’t work and probably would have destroyed my bike now I’m off the bike and I have no tube and no co2 and I’m waving at people saying hey tell someone I have a flat and no tubes. A girl stopped and let me borrow a tube and someone else let me borrow some co2. What I found out on FLAT #4 is that the tube she gave me had the short presta valve and the co2 that someone let me borrow was actually used and completely empty. I thought good grief and I can’t even reach the valve to air it up. Fortunately a bike cop pulls up and I say great what do you know about bikes. She says a lot, oh I mean motorcycles not much about road bikes. I thought great, but then she got all of my information and all I was thinking was wow how much time am I wasting giving her my name, race number, logistics, etc.?? But she gave me a tube and some co2 and now I was becoming an expert at changing tubes and no longer having to act like a damsel in distress to change my tires. Then before I left she handed me 1 extra tube and co2. I went to go a very long 10-15 miles to transition and made it without getting another tire.

    I got to transition and all of my drinks were completely disgusting. they were extremely warm and not worth using. I grabbed my race belt (newly purchased never used item) and strapped it on to get filled at aid stations. I started the run and my hamstrings were killing me from the bike and I stopped to stretch and my legs almost went into a spasm. I couldn’t run and a big portion of my run I was walking.. then I finally moved into a jog/run. I was hurting like crazy because even though on race time I was very slow biking I passed people 3 and 4 times on the bike and over did more each time I got a flat. On the run I heard a “Hey Dan” and I looked up to see it was Kurt and thought wow he is really good and I just caught up to him how is that possible??? And then he told me he was having some stomach issues and so then I thought ok that is how I caught up to him. But then I quickly realized he was on mile 8 and on the 2nd lap and I was on mile 1. that was very discouraging. I got through lap 1 and thought god I’m going to die, and it was 95+ degrees and I was extremely sun burned. Finally some clouds came out and I started to cool down. then in my very geeky way I stopped at a water stop and saw the Iron Cowboy the guy that ran 50 ironman races in 50 days. I said oh hey are you the iron cowboy? He said yes, and I said hello I’m Dan Sixbury and shook his hand… yes totally dorky moment but I can blame the fatigue and heat stroke and severe dehydration. I got to the damn and close to the finish and I was starting to have SEVERE cramps in my legs and asked the medic for some salt pills. he said he only had the kind that dissolved in water and I said great I have a water bottle why don’t you give me one. he said he only had 2 left and someone on the race offered me some base salts so the medic refused to help me out with a salt tab. I really thought about punching the medic off his bike and starting trouble but that really isn’t my MO and it really ticked me off, but another runner helped me out so I took in some salt with my fluids. I kept moving and running from time to time and walking and then running and then I finally finished the race and was so glad that my daughter was able to record me on my phone crossing the finish line. I think I fell down to the ground after the finish line and was about ready to break into tears but the race volunteer said here’s your hat maybe dump it in the ice and put it on and cool down. I finished the race and saw everyone that had already finished and they cheered me on although i was completely distraught over the race and my poor luck that day. But I learned important lessons from that race so far as getting the bike the full look over before a major race and better hydration is necessary. then all I could hear about is how my kids were so happy and were eating non-stop multiple pizzas. they are teenagers and food and shade to read in keeps them happy. I got back to my hotel and messaged a fellow tri-athlete to tell him that after I finished my shower that my body was going into shock and I was having chills and actually getting really scared. I went to the store and got some ibuprofen and sprite and hydrated some more and then went to bed hoping my kids wouldn’t wake up with a dead dad that had a heart attack or stroke from over doing it in the heat. In the end I could say I finished my first 1/2 ironman and although during the end of the race I thought NO way can I ever do a full ironman I know that is on my bucket list and maybe in 2018 I can do my first ever FULL Ironman!!!

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