August 6, 2011
by: Renee Canfield
What to Expect As Race Day Approaches
Hills! Lots of hills! Big ones, little ones, bumpy ones. All kinds of hills.
4 years ago when we participated in our first of four UCP /Cleveland Triathlon races, I thought for sure that we had planned, researched and prepared for everything. On race day the one thing that we didn’t see coming were those darn hills. The Lakeshore Shoreway bike ride is the devil. But we did it, and we are proud to be returning. We are Team Myles. Our oldest son Myles is a UCP alum and can hardly wait for Sunday (although, he’s not the one pedaling). We are excited and truly looking forward to seeing new faces and old friends. It is amazing how this event has grown at UCP. Since we are “veterans” we were asked to share some of the knowledge gained about race day and the days leading up to it. So from a UCP family perspective… here is what to expect:
Forget about sleep-
Even though you will plan on going to bed early, so that you can get up at 4:30 a.m. in order to get downtown, to find a parking spot, to get your bike and equipment to the transition area, allowing enough time to have someone mark your age with indelible ink on your arms and legs, figure out how to pin your bib to your shirt so it’s not crooked (if you get it centered and even on the first try then you have already won) still allowing time to stand in line at the port-o-let and back to the water to tread water for a few minutes before they blow the horn …you won’t go to bed early.
Expect to get passed by someone going 5 times faster than you…
If you look closely on this day you will see some incredibly fit people. They are called triathletes and you can identify them easily. They look the part, they are at the front of the pack or on a bike that cost as much as a car. They have cool stretchy clothes that look good on them and fancy energy gels. I should also mention that they are extremely accepting, supportive and down right nice. Over the years we have fielded teams much like other UCP families made up of friends, relatives and an occasional extreme athlete here or there. Many hit the streets for the first time sharing the pavement with serious competitors. The triathletes have accepted our novice group into their little world. Even though they are a blur or a woosh on a hill, know they are rooting for you. You might hear them on the course helping us all along or cheering at the finish line: “Go Team Myles!”, “Way to go Team Niko!”, “All right Team Julia!”, “Go Dawud. Go Dawud”. It’s pretty neat. Just stay out of their way.
Expect to cry a little bit…
If you are a parent of a child with special needs and you are participating in this race with or for your child. It will all catch up with you at the finish line and you might cry. But it’s a good cry, you know you accomplished something big, you were part of something good and you did it.
Expect to be inspired…
At some point during this morning, something will inspire you. You will be witness to something that will tug at you enough, touch your heart and soul to leave you with one hell of a memory. It might be a 110 pound mom pulling her daughter up the biggest hill in Cleveland. It may be a dad running and pushing his son 10 kilometers through the mid day sun. It may be the cheering at the finish line, the hundreds of volunteers that show to support. It might be a smile on the face of a child who you know works harder to just stand up and take a step than any athlete on this course. For me… that inspiration comes every year when I see the hundreds and hundreds of people that have gathered on a Sunday morning. They are all there to raise awareness for a child, a family and an organization. The masses gather to make a statement, to give back, to support, and to show pride in their team; Team UCP. It gets me every year… that and the hills. Don’t forget about the hills.
Best of luck to all.