Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 123… The Triple Begins

Posted on October 11, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

We were roused this morning to the sound of Andy wondering where his tires were for his bike. This was an hour before his race was to start. I popped out letting Jason sleep in as he was the one racing this weekend and I was here for one job, crew for both the guys. 
I took Andy to my car where his tires were, helped him get his last minutes details ready then headed down to the lake. The mist over the lake casta scene where you would have thought Loche Ness could emerge at any moment, after a last pre-race meeting the racers assembled as a fellow competitor from Germany, Tristen, played the our national anthem on a trumpet. The scene was subdued, a scattering offriends and family lined the beach as the racers took off on their 7.2 mile swim.
Jason and I figured we had a couple hours and we set off to find a grocery store. This trip could be turned into it’s own entry but that’snot what the objective of the weekend. All I can say is we are definitely south of the Mason-Dickson line, we may have passed Robert E. Lee High School, and Confederacy Cemetery. When we got back we figured we had a fair amount of time before Andy exited the water. Next thing we knew Andy was hoping on his bike just as we started to unpack groceries, hehad finished the swim breaking his own record finishing in 2:54.
The bike course is just over five miles so the guys doing the triple have to complete the course 67.5 times before moving onto the run. Much of the day was spent around our tent, filling bottles of water and Heed. Otherwise it was reminding Andy to eat, and loading up Jason on food. It’s amazing just how much you can cook on a little camper stove. Overall, a fairly relaxed day, the weather was a pleasant change of pace as it was inthe 70’s and sunny. Really, not a bad way to spend the day.
After afternoon drew closer, we headed down to the registration area. Jason got his bike checked out, blood doping test completed, he was sad to find out he did not have tiger blood and indeed was well normal. We ate the pasta dinner for athletes and crew then it was time for me to focus on Andy for the night and for Jason to get some serious sleep before he set off to achieve a huge goal.
The other great part about ultra distance races really are the people. It is totally different from your 5k, 10k or even marathon. These races are not high profile, they don’t have a lot of big name sponsors, theyhave a more authentic and grassroots feel to them. These races last so long that people crewing have the chance to get to know the other support teams. It really turns into its own little tent community. Everyone has an unique and interesting story to which brought them to this one moment in time.
In fact we ended up in a tent next to none other than racer Steve Schlachter, and his dad, wife and two friends supporting him. They had come in from North Carolina. I travel hundreds of miles to be next to some more Schlachter’s. It was a fun moment when we realized this. Schlachter is not a common name.
Hours pass in what feels like minutes, and relationshipsstart to build. I am reminded with each passing minute just what makes ultradistance races so special. As night fell the crews got smaller and I hunkereddown for my first all nighter of the weekend. This post is actually finishingup on Saturday morning, and I could not think of a better way to spend a Fridaynight in October.