Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This is what it looks like when you ride your bike from Sherman to Springfield - fresh as a daisy!

Bike Leg

After exiting the water it was a 500 yrd run to T-1. I was feeling good running towards the bike the last 75 yrds was on grass which was getting very muddy and slippery. But the crowd was great - people cheering you on the whole time!! With that said, I feel bad I have yet to volunteer to help at a race, but I plan to in 2010!! Running into T-1, I was looking for the tree where I had my bike. I was surprised to see there were lot of bikes around mine so that made me feel good that I beat some guys out of the water!

Once I reached my bike, I pulled off the wet suit, slipped my bike shoes on, grabbed my helmet and glasses and was headed towards the exit. I was doing a fast walk/run to get my legs for the bike.

Once you mounted the bike you needed to be in a easy gear because you climbed a ramp to make it onto Lake Shore Drive (LSD). As you head north on LSD, you were riding right into a 20-30 head wind - OUCH!!

The only thing I was happy about was it was 2 loops on LSD and I would have the wind at my back on the way in to T-2. I was going about 15-18 on the way out, and once I made the turn around, and the wind was at my back, I was rolling about 24-26 mph heading south feeling like a rock star - I was flying!!!! Then I was passed by a Pro (Matty Reed: US Pro Triathlete) that ended winning the race. He went by me like I was standing still! My guess he was going 35 - 38 moh on the bike - wowowowow!!

I hit the south turn around and headed back into the wind. I was thinking wow Ray you got 12 miles left then you're on the run - hammer down!! Going north into the wind I was able to chat with the riders. I was having a great time. On the bike I drank full bottle of water and 4-5 gu blocks in orange that seem to give me the energy I needed to have a great bike time!

I was almost at the turn around and I heard sirens. Then we got slowed down...I saw a male laying on his back, bloody and not moving. I was thinking o boy it was not looking good!!
Andy Potts in Chicago Triathlon Accident.

Here we go! Wind at my back, I am rocking and happy - thinking almost done with the bike Ray, take a second look at the building the lake - the people which make this a great event - it was truly amazing!!!! I was exiting LSD and people again everywhere cheering you back to T-2...what way to feel to hear all the cheering!! I was looking for Beth but with no luck she was with 200,000 of her new friends. I figure she was waiting some where on the run course??

Next up the run????


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Save the date!!

June 11 & 12 Tour de Farms 2010!!! Bethere

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Captial City Century

This ride is ALMOST as old as me - this year was their 37th year. The weather was perfect this morning - if you made it out and logged some miles - GREAT job!! My assistant photographer (Wyatt) and I were having a hard time finding any familiar red, white, and blue jerseys... but we did find a lot of these guys when we went out to wait on the patio at the beach house!

Saw a lot of cool cars and accessories while scanning the parking lot for familiar vehicles also - like this:

Hope everyone is enjoying your Sunday! See you all soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Swim Time

Upon arriving at the swim start there were people everywhere. We headed over to his area which was Team in Training - that was his group and the reason he was doing the race. Okay at this point the BUTTERFLIES were rolling in my stomach. Now it was Hammer time!! I mean Hammer gel time!! The best gel on the market!! Raspberry gel is the flavor for me. Washed down with my spark energy water.

Its 8 am - Harry said it was time to zip up!!! The air temp was 55 and everyone was saying water feels great - its 62!! I was like WTF!!!! This whole time I had the top of my wet suit rolled down because not a pretty picture with it rolling over my belly - o well - zip time!! Harry zipped me and said lets walk over. I was thinking zipping up and peeing had something in common because as soon as I got zipped I had to pee!! I told this to Harry he was like just go in the suit. Not sure I was going that route.

They line us up in a shoot about 20 feet wide and it was 200 feet long. You line up in your flight with your swim cap color. He was flight 32 I was 33 so he was 4 min before me. When your standing in line, you're right on the sea wall so you see all the swimmers. You head south for about 400 yards, then hit a turn around buoy and head north 1400 + or - yards.

I was able to get a good look at the swimmers - omg the look on some of their faces was pure horror!! Some were treading water, some were looking for lifeboats, some doing the back stroke, some looking for the rope ties to the seawall!! I was thinking mmmmm - a great way to spend a Sunday morning!!

Here we go - I am next! Swim cap on, goggles on, the guy over the loud speaker is trying to relax us - he says, "40 seconds yellow caps, 10 seconds yellow caps" till we get in the water. Once we're in the water, we tread water for a min till we hear the horn go off! I JUMP IN! OMG IT WAS LIKE JUMPING INTO AN ICE BATH!! I am treading water with a 150 of my new best friends. Deep breaths Ray you're fine, your fine...just swim Forrest swim!!

HORN blasts!!!! Head down face hits water - omg - water fills my left eye goggle!! I pop back up, re-tighten my goggles - no luck! Water still fills lens I was like -WTF - o well keep going!!

I hit the turn around buoy, feel pretty good, just by now I really could not see and then when I tried to see ahead, one goggle was full of water and my right goggle was fogged up! I guess cold water and my body temp created the fog???

So on I went. I had a guy on my right and we were about the same pace, so I used him as my guide. Well, somewhere along the way, I lost him. To be honest with you, I was maybe 10-15 min into the race, feeling good, I thought to myself - swim over by the seawall and swim next to it, in case i get tired, there is a rope.

Well, little did I know, I was so off-base...I was 30-40 yrds from the seawall! I almost ran into a recovery boat or is it a rescue boat? Or is it a life line??? Who knows - but I was not where I thought I was!!! So at this point, I tried to angle over towards the wall. I was feeling good knowing I wasn't going to stop to rest I think I had about 500 yrds left! I could somewhat see the swim exit. Well, I thought it was the swim exit?? I was feeling like Mr Magoo!!!!

I finally am next to the seawall and I know this for sure because WHACK my left arm struck the seawall! I can see the exit! YAHOOOOO I AM GOING TO DO IT!!! My feet are numb my hands are tingly and I cant see but there was a positive the water - even though cold it was like a breath of fresh air compared to Lake Springfield!! Water had a clean fresh taste to it.

I reach the swim scaffolding. I made it! Stand up Ray...I couldn't for a second. 31 mins in the water and my legs weren't working - were they froze??? 2 girls grab my arms and I was up and running! Goggles off - cap off - I was all smiles because in the prerace meeting they said there's a camera guy right there as you exit, so I want to look fresh as a daisy! Actually, I was feeling pretty good!! I was looking for Beth as I was heading to T-1 and I saw her, yep - she was laughing and chatting with a new friend and I stopped, she snapped a picture and off I went 500 yards to T-1. I had to run barefoot! You got to be kidding me! At least they had some rugs down but when you hit the grass area it was wet slippery and muddy. I made it to T-1 and I hit the timing mat - 35 min. Now I was with, ahh, I don't know, 100k of my closest friends looking for their bikes??

UP next my trip on LSD!!!!


(please pause the music on the music player at the bottom of the screen to hear this video)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Race Morning

Woke up at 4 am - not sure I ever went to sleep??? I was to meet Harry at 4:15 am to head to the transition area - it was a mile or so from the hotel. Upon arriving at bike check in, I saw it was packed already. I was row 33 and harry was row 32. We set up our space. Then Harry said we need to walk the way we come in from the swim - so we walked our route in. He said with 9000 some bikes it will look way different when the sun comes up.

We were set so we headed back to the hotel we got back at 5:30 am. We sat and had coffee and a bagel and just talked about the race. There were people laying all over the hotel sleeping, resting, reading the paper, waiting for their swim start. The crazy thing was they were closing the transition area at 5:45 am and there were racers leaving the hotel at 5:30 am! There was no way they could make it to the bike check in time!!!

While sitting in the lobby Harry said his girlfriend Tracy, who he been dating since February has M.S. also - I was like wow!!!?? The old standby - blond hair, light eyes, she fits the bill to a T.

Well he suggested we head over about 7:15 am for our swim Start at 8:24 am. The funny thing was, do we wear our wetsuits over or carry them??? About 6:45 am I saw Harry in the lobby again he laughed and said we better carry our suits nobody is wearing them!! I was like okay really don't want look like a TRUE Newbie!!!! :)

Its GO time 7:15 am - time to go find the BIG WATER!!!!

Stay tuned - unless you're done hearing about my TRI experience...


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicago Tri

Saturday morning we headed north to Chicago - we got to the Hilton by 10:30 - it was the host hotel. Got checked in - brought all the gear up to the room then it was time for packet pick-up and the expo.

I headed down to get my number and chip. I needed to go to the trouble desk because I signed up as a Clydesdale but wanted to go as an age grouper. The only reason I wanted to move to my age group was I was thinking I might have an earlier wave. I was right! I was 37 and got moved to wave 33...saved 12 min YAHOOOOO. While I was at the trouble desk I overheard a guy saying he couldn't get his race packet??? The guy at the trouble desk said there was a problem!!! Sir your race was this morning and it is over!! You should've seen the look he gave his wife who signed him up for the race!

After getting all my swag I walked around the expo, then I had a pre-race meeting, which was not mandatory but should be. While in the expo I missed a call from Harry - my old classmate that I was doing the Tri with. Harry was going to the cubs game and we were to meet up around 7pm.

After the course talk, I went to the room and got Beth and we decided to go find the course. After we walked out of the hotel, I said there are some tents - let's head that way. Wrong it was the Latin music festival!! So we kept walking, then we found the bike transition - which was huge!

We decided we would go grab a bite to eat and have a couple of cocktails. We must of walked 5 miles - probably not a great plan the day before the race, but we did make our way to Oak Street beach where the pro Volleyball tour was in town - which was sort of cool to watch.

After getting back to the hotel we decided it was time for dinner! You guessed right - Deep Dish pizza is a great pre-race meal!!!

Harry called - he was back at the hotel and was coming to the lobby to say hi - after a short meeting he wanted to have dinner and I walked to Lou Malnati's to pick up the pizza. We decided we would meet after dinner and go walk the swim-to-bike transition.

More walking - all I needed - but I did want to walk with Harry and see the course since he had done the race a couple of times. After the walk, we headed back to the hotel - 4 am was coming soon, so it was off to bed!! I was to meet Harry at 4:15 am to get the bike's into transition. Okay okay I did sneak down to the gift shop and grabbed a candy bar, or as I used to say to my Grandmother - can I get some N-O-P-W? Yes that's how I spelled candy was I was little!! As you can see my grammar never really got much better!!!! LOL

Sleep!! Not so much - I looked at the clock every hour!!

More later CHOW!