Wow! This is my first triathlon nationals so I am very excited. So much has been happening since I arrived in Bulrington, VT on Wednesday. I finally have a little “free” time. Let’s see. Where do I begin. I delivered a load of Hershey chocolate from Hershey, PA to Hookset, NH early Wednesday morning, then drove the remaining 180 miles up to Burlington, VT. Actually, I went to St Albans VT to drop my trailer at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, then drove to the race headquarters at the Sheraton. Already there were so triathletes there with all there cool gear. Just seeing it gets me pumped.
As I was driving the truck out of the hotel parking lot to meet up with EFRT member Laura Bergmann to go for a swim at North Beach on Lake Champlain, I saw a car flashing its lights and honking its horn at me. What the @#(&$?! It turned out to be Danny and Eric of Endurance Films! “We saw the truck and knew that had to be you, Siphiwe,” they said. Danny and Eric had to go and film interviews with other triathletes for USAT so I headed to the beach. Laura and I swam for about twenty minutes in the 71 degree water and loosened up the muscles.
Unfortunately, Laura was experiencing a problem that I have come to learn is typical at triathlon and duathlon nations. First, the travel service for this event was supposed to have booked a room for Laura at the Holiday Inn next to the Sheraton which was necessary since EFRT had to be at the Race Expo frequently to do promotion. However, Laura’s reservation, like other athletes, got switched to the Holiday Inn Express, a good seven miles down the road. Here’s the problem. When there are 2,500 triathletes in town, and the race expo is in one place, the swim start and transition is in another, and your hotel is in another, how are you supposed to get around, especially if you have to carry your bike? None of the hotels are providing special shuttles, and even if you rent a car, they don’t have bike racks….So the athletes are left on their own. To ride to and fro can really mess up an athletes routine, so USAT needs to come up with a solution. This is something that needs to be discussed at the USAT town hall meeting before the awards ceremony.
On Thursday afternoon, the Race Expo opened. Lots of vendors and I was able to finally get some seriously comfortable, anti-fog goggles! Other EFRT members began to arrive including Casey Bateman, Diane Camet, and Scott Endsley and we got to know each other. Laura is a serious physical trainer with a solid sports science background. While watching one of the EFRT Rides dvds, Laura immediately said, “see how his knee is going in and out? That’s because he has some weakness in the gluteous ….” something or other. When she started getting real technical she lost me, but she definitely knows her stuff. She’s working with some awesome sponsor’s, too and anything I want to know about transitioning to the minimalist shoes, she’s my go to person.
Turns out, I’m not the fastest swimmer on the EFRT! That honor probably goes to Casey Bateman, who is a 16:00 miler in the water! Casey is ranked 7th in his age group and I think he has a great chance to win it and definitely make the World Championship Team.
Turns out Diane is the founder of Eco Sports Bottles (www.Ecosportsbottle.com) which are enviromentally friendly sports water/hydration bottles made from lightweight, high grade aluminum or stainless steel and are the only completely FDA approved, stainless steel eco friendly water bottles on the market.
Diane’s Eco Sports Bottles are used by Olympic and Pro Athletes, their Coaches and Trainers and are the official water bottles of the 2011 USAT Age Group Nationals. Luckily, a bottle was including in the race swag! And oh, by the way, the actual race bag given to all 2,500 triathlets – Diane designed those, too!
Another EFRT sponsor, Training Peaks, was setting up at the Race Expo and we were introduced to their representatives. I finally got to me Scott Endsely, who is an Age Group National Champion and represented Team USA at Worlds. Scott is a down to earth friendly guy with a big enerauge! Scott lead us on a group ride Thursday late afternoon. Some of the course is on I 189 and was closed off and some of the team needed to get back for the boat cruise so we didn’t ride too much. Those of us who didn’t go on the boat crew went to Outback for a team dinner with Danny and Eric who told us the history of Endurance Films and some very funny stories!
Friday morning at 8:00 am we all gathered for the scheduled swim warm up with hundreds of other triathletes. Cortney Martin, Bill Vann, Nick Logan, Brannon Potts and Liz Baugh had arrived, too, and we all sported our EFRT kits. Casey and I tried out our new ITU-style EFRT tri suit which made me feel like a real triathlete! LOL….The swim was great,the water was 74 degrees, Eric shot some film, we took some pictures, and we talked with a lot of other friendly triathletes.
Back at the Sheraton at noon we had the official “revealing” of the Endurance Films Racing Team, which attracted a lot of attention. Jack Kane Bicycles, one of our sponsors, had been putting together a lot of our bikes, was there to debut the EFRT custom bike. Its awesome, and the rear disc wheel looks like a dvd! Zane and Jeff have been extremely helpful. We took team pictures and signed contracts and then we all took a tour of my truck and shot some “funniest home video type stuff”.
So now I am sitting in my truck at the site of the transition are waiting for the bike check in and team meeting at 5 pm. Ah! finally stretch out my legs and rest and watch the Endurance Films “Racing Faster” dvd because, well, that’s what I want to do. Race faster!