Ironman Vineman 70.3. Prelude.

Thursday. I took a couple days off work for a road trip with my pals from Pasadena Triathlon Club to  compete in the Ironman Vineman 70.3, in Sonoma County, which is next to Napa in the California wine country. Trivia. I used to live in Santa Rosa back in the day.

I hopped in my friend Lynda’s Sprinter Van with Luis, GT, and Alvin. We packed in 8 bikes on the van, for friends that were flying up to Vineman. The rode trip was fun times. Lynda and I went for a 5 mile run after we landed at the hotel in Santa Rosa. We picked up supplies and snacks at Whole Foods in Santa Rosa. Dinner nearby at BJs.

Friday. We took a practice swim in Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, along the Russian River. The T1 transition area is that the beach. We met more PTC friends, Trevor, Nicole, Amy and Kirk there. We swam under 2 of the bridges, just to get used to the water and see how deep it was this year. The Russian River is a damed section of the river, and the depth varies from year to year. In some spots, you can just stand up.

We changed and took a short 15 mile bike ride along the course. The hit the hard right turn at Sunset and the short climbs. The course is gorgeous rollers along vineyards and wineries, such as Korbel and Martinelli, We stopped at Moshin Vineyards and ended up wine tasting a whole bottle of Rose. It was chilled and yummy. It made the ride back to the beach very pleasant. We had lunch at a little market cafe in Guerneville.

We went to Ironman Village at Windsor High School to register and shop for souvenirs. This was the first year Vineman was a totally Ironman produced race. There was some changes from the prior years. I had raced this 2 times before 2013, 2014. The Transition2 area moved to the back of the high school and the finish line was right in the center of the quad. I bought the M-dot Vineman T-shirt with all the competitor’s names in it. I also got a spiffy IM backpack and IM hat. I forgot to bring a full hat for ice. So, I’ll use that in the race. Big dinner and then a quiet night. I packed up my bike bag, my run bag and my morning back. I pictured all the stuff. I finally got my mind around the race.

Saturday. Morning was chill. Barry and Johnna stopped by and picked up Barry’s bike, which we brought in the van, while they flew up. Scott stopped by too. We went shopping at Echelon Cycle in Santa Rosa. I got a new Lezyne bike box, run bottle, walkable Speedplay cleats, Lock Lace shoes laces, BaaBaa buff (cool light wool), Base Amino and Electrolyte and Salt. We met all our PTC and Volt friends for lunch in Windsor. Scott, Birketts, Kirk, Janet, Trevor, Nicole, Bryan, Deanna, Tyler, and our crew.

We rolled over to Windsor High School to drop of Run Bag at T2. I saw a Pro Athlete Panel. After it was over, I met Andy Potts. He was really nice guy. He talks to you about your race and tips for riding after the swim. Don’t eat any protein for at least 15-20 minutes, or you’ll have stomach / GI  issues. He signed my bib. I also met Craig Alexander. He was super nice too. I asked about his wife and kids. They’re in Boulder. He likes to spend as much time with them when he’s not traveling for sponsorship stuff. He’s racing Vineman tomorrow, just cuz he has a sponsorship meeting in SF on Monday. He signed my bib too! While I was there, I ran into Jesse and Taylor, my blogger friends. It was great to finally meet them. We didn’t chat much cuz they wanted to meet Andy Potts too.

We drove over to Johnson’s Beach again to drop off Bikes at T1. This was nuts. Total traffic jam. Not a great idea for Ironman. Seems really unnecessary, to drop off bikes the day before, because you’ll be there in the morning again anyway. No shuttles in the morning, same traffic jam 2x. The transition area was very full, but you’re assigned a rack space by age group. We saw more friends from SoCal: Winnie (Disney) and Kristen (Volt). The bike out has an infamous bike mount line, which is at the top of the slope this year. Just before we left Guerneville, I ran into our old friends Brian and Angela. I haven’t seen them in years. It was Brian’s first Half Ironman! Quiet dinner and chill. Down to bed early. Race day is tomorrow.


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