August 16, 2012

by: Guest Contributor

Weather… or Not

Tribute to Mark
The only body part left to make my own tribute!

In my short 3 year experience competing in triathlon, I have never had a “wet” race.  (Knock on wood!  I have 2 more races to go this year!!!)  Roads have always been dry, weather has been decent.  There have only been two races in my career where I thought it would be a miserable weather day.  This past Cleveland Triathlon was one of them.

Around 1 or 2 am, the thunder started to roll.  Now, I love a good rainstorm as much as the next person, but not when I have to wake at 4:30 and the dog is hopping on the bed then off the bed, on the bed and off the bed, nails click-clacking on the hard floor in an echoing room trying to escape her terror.  My mind started wandering in my half-asleep state as to how I was going to manage the fast downhill on the eastbound shoreway with rain on my brakes.  I wasn’t concerned about anything else.  I’m already wet on the swim, and a rainy run would be refreshing.  See, I’m one of those people who would rather watch their kids grow up than go on a rainy training ride and wipe-out.  I ride my bike on the trainer in the basement instead.  Needless to say, I don’t have much experience riding in the rain.

On the commute downtown, the roads were remarkably dry.  I was quite surprised and giddy!  Everything was coming together.  I couldn’t even believe it when I was getting blinded by the sun on my swim.  “Ok!  The rain is past us,” I thought (incorrectly)!  However, on the bike, fighting the hills and the wind, I was too distracted to notice that the sun had disappeared.  It wasn’t until the 3rd loop on the bike that I realized it wasn’t my sunglasses making the sky dark; it was going to rain.  Oh how I prayed that I could make it into transition before it hit…

I received the news that bad weather was coming as soon as I dismounted the bike and I couldn’t help but feel concern for those still trudging up the shoreway with the wind and hills.  I’ll be honest though, I was relieved to be off of the bike.  I saw the clouds.  I knew what was coming… Fortunately, the good Lord had mercy on my soul and saved the downpour for my run, which actually felt quite nice!

I must admit, though, that I was disappointed when I crossed the finish line.  I felt great the entire race, I had a great finish placement, I thought, but it was missing.  The patio party – the celebration of teams – the camaraderie… I look forward to the party on the patio after the race every year.  Listening to the teams cheer for each other as they cross the finish line, watching the smiles, witnessing what victory really means… This year, it was nothing but a damp and empty quiet that filled the space.  Transition was already being cleaned up and people were asked to leave due to the possibility of bad weather.  Results for the Olympic race would not even be posted.

While storms thankfully did not happen, race companies are put in a tight spot; risk bad weather if people stick around, or risk decent weather if they’re asked to leave.  It’s a tightrope and I’m glad I didn’t have to be the one to make that decision.  It’s hard to turn down a party!

Even though the ending to the Cleveland Triathlon fizzled the race, you can still celebrate what was accomplished.  Thousands of dollars were raised, those with UCP continue to make strides (literally and figuratively), and you can revel in your accomplishments!!!

Cleve TRI
Your humble blogger and her husband, who successfully completed his first deep open-water swim during the sprint

I will see you next year!  Until then, I leave you with a little poem…

“Weather… or Not”

Whether or not you wanted to wake

Whether or not you swam towards the lake

Whether or not you were caught in the rain

Whether or not you raced until pain

Whether or not there were cheers at the end

Whether or not you are now on the mend

Whether or not at the line you did cry,

You did it ’cause you were Inspired to Tri.

Team UCP Member Robin Zehnder Muskopf was the top female Olympic finisher at the 26th Annual Cleveland Triathlon.  Congratulations Robin!  We look forward to having her back next year as we embark on the sixth year of Team UCP!

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