We went, as I mentioned, to Coeur d’Alene to visit Wilma and also cheer friends in the IronMan. It was a perfect (though long) day for one. The water was cold as it always is (56 degrees, I heard from Wilma). It stayed sunny and mostly cool until around 3 or so, when it climbed to 85 degrees. Not much humidity at least.
Brian got some good shots of the “age groupers” getting into the water for the swim. We got up at 4:15 in the morning to head downtown to see this. Can I mention that I am 100% certain that I see 4:15 a.m. much more often from the other side of the night (just about to go to sleep rather than get up)? If the swim start were any less cool, not a chance I’d be able to make it to there.
First in the water are all of the Pro IronMan competitors (I don’t have any pictures of this – I was meeting an IronMan to hold his iPhone and end-of-night stuff). About 45 minutes later, the “Age Groupers” go into the water.
(Brian took all of these pictures as I was not entirely awake. Click on the images to make them larger. I have even larger versions of these on my computer, but I figured you didn’t want to wait for them to load.)
Everyone stands when the national anthem is sung, and it’s so brilliantly early in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. And then the gun goes off and the first few people dive into the water. Chokes me up.
While watching this, you just see this solid mass moving through the water rather than individual swimmers. It seems like suddenly there is some mammoth creature swimming through the lake. Michele tells me that there are some people who want to be in the front when they dive in, and some people hang back so they aren’t in the middle. She tells me that it’s not uncommon to be kicked in the face, and people end up with broken jaws and bruises. Yow. They swim 2.4 miles, which takes about an hour and a half. The kayaks are in the water so the swimmers don’t get outside of the race course, which is marked by the buoys.
This year, most of the pictures we took were of the swim. Last year, we had a million and one pictures of the bike riders, but I was too busy cheering them on this year to snap shots. My hands were swollen for two days due to the amount of clapping! I couldn’t even get my ring off that night.
Other things that happened – our friend Dean was hit by a drunk driver on the bike ride portion of the IronMan. The man was on several drugs and had also been drinking. Despite a helmet that had been cracked in half and severe damage to his bike, Dean finished the last 35 miles of the ride and went on to complete the IronMan! I still think he should get an extra medal for that, I mean, who does that? Who gets into a bike-vs-car drunk-driving collision and then finishes an IronMan? (He’s alright, just bruised).
I got to see most of my friends finish (they all finished, it’s just remarkably hard to spot these athletes, man, it turns out they are quick!). We were out cheering people on and helping until almost 12:30 so it was a crazy long day. Very fun though, and worth doing if you are near one.