On Sunday, I experienced a triathlon from the other side- as a spectator!
Courtney and Felipe were racing in the Dunedin Sprint Tri so I decided to go cheer them on. Dunedin isn’t too far away, and the race was on Honeymoon Island, which I had heard was a beautiful park with a gorgeous beach. Say no more; I’ll go cheer you on as long as I can get a good spot on the beach to relax afterwards
(yes, I did a little post-processing )
I left my house a little after 6am on Sunday, and got to the race site with plenty of time to spare. It didn’t take me too long to find Courtney, and we stood around chatting until it was time for her wave.
While we were chatting, the first wave started. Or, at least we thought they were. We noticed that the mass of youth in maroon caps was heading out to the buoy; some were swimming, some were walking. That’s weird, I thought. A few moments later, when most of the swimmers were out to the buoys, the siren went off, and that’s when there was a flurry of splashing arms and legs. Oh, apparently this race had an in-water start because of the sandbar.
The start line was about where that yellow buoy is in the picture above. Courtney left me when the woman announced “2 minutes until start.” Yipes! 2 minutes to get out to the buoy wasn’t a lot of time. I don’t think anyone in the white caps was even in the water yet! I watched as the mass of white caps moved towards the starting buoy, and before I knew it, the siren was starting this wave. I’m positive there were a lot of people unprepared for that start. I did notice that the wave after the white caps learned from their mistakes and moved into the water immediately after the white caps left the beach.
I walked the quarter mile down beach to the swim exit and kept my eyes open for Courtney and Felipe. I was also searching for Jess, who I thought was racing, but it turned out she wasn’t.
Soon, Courtney popped out of the water. She was the 2nd white cap out, not too far behind the girl who came out first. Not too long after came Felipe who was in a wave or two behind Courtney. I almost missed him!
After they both passed, I walked over to the bike course to see if I could catch them there. The bike course was two loops, a total of 12 miles. I snagged a spot near the start of the bike, where I could catch the cyclists making their turn for the second loop, and then only a few meters away I could catch them again on their way into transition. I was standing with some other spectators, watching the cyclists go by, and we noticed one of the volunteers standing on the course, telling the cyclists to “Slow down, left merge.” I’m glad this guy was volunteering, and I’m glad he was concerned for the cyclist’s safety, but I think my biggest problem was that he was standing on the curve, about five feet into the course. The road wasn’t all that wide; it was barely wide enough for two cars to fit through. Some cyclists like to take the curves wide, and this guy was totally taking away valuable real estate on the course! I was frustrated, and I wasn’t even racing! I wonder if any of the cyclists were bothered by him. /rant
Anyhow, I was watching every cyclist go by, keeping my eyes out for Felipe and Courtney. Though I had seen Felipe exit the swim, I hadn’t registered what he was wearing. So, I kept looking for the tri suit he had worn at the Crystal River Tri . Every time a group of guys came buy I would look and snap some photos. When most of the lead guys had finished their first lap, I figured I had missed Felipe so I started looking for Courtney.
I saw Courtney looking like a total pro on the bike.
I gave her a holler and then moved to the straightaway right before transition. I cheered on some more cyclists, and then I saw Felipe! He was moving fast and ready to hop off his bike and run.
It was at this point I realized that Felipe was a) not wearing the same tri suit as Crystal River and b) not wearing the same helmet either. Had I known he was wearing a bright green helmet, I’d probably have spotted him on the first lap, instead of taking a picture of someone who I thought might have been him, and unintentionally ACTUALLY getting him in the photo.
I got to see Courtney finish up the bike, and then I walked to transition. Where I was photographing the bike leg wasn’t too far from the transition area, but I was pleasantly surprised to get there just in time to see Courtney run out!
I was so caught off guard, that I didn’t have time to fiddle with the camera settings, so she came out a little blurry
After seeing her start the run, I headed over to the finish area. Twenty-some minutes later (or less?) I saw my friends finish. I clearly have problems with focusing on runners because all of my pictures of Felipe are blurry:
And Courtney too:
Oh well, at least I got a good shot of them with their awards:
Courtney took 3rd in her age group, and Felipe took 2nd. Studs.
After the race, it was beach time! I brought a cap and goggles and planned on going for a short swim as my workout for the day. Felipe and Courtney said they’d go too. So we spotted a boat about 200 meters or so out and decided to swim out to it, go around it, and back in. When we were just about to the boat, it started to pull away. We stopped swimming, and joked with them that they were our turn around point and now they’d moved! They told us they’d spotted a 6 foot hammer head, which is why they were relocating. GULP. We asked if they were joking, and it was clear they were serious. We IMMEDIATELY swam to shore. I’d like to keep my limbs today, thank you!
After our little shark scare, Courtney and I relaxed on the beach and read for a bit, before heading over to downtown Dunedin for some lunch. Dunedin is so cute! Lots of little shops with art and home decor; it’s the kind of stuff you’d probably see on Pinterest. There are also yummy places to eat! We decided to check out the Broadway Deli and Cafe , drawn in by the fact that they were still serving breakfast.
We walked in, and were immediately intrigued by the soda case.
Lots of unique sodas, made with real sugar and not HFCS. We opted to get one honey cream soda and one blackberry soda, and share. One of the reasons why I got the blackberry soda:
The brand was “Hotlips!” Hahah. It also didn’t hurt that these were the ingredients:
simple, real ingredients. love it!
Courtney and I got two different egg dishes and split them.
The farmer’s market omelet, served with a potato pancake and whole grain toast.
And the bacon and egg wrap (on ciabatta so it uh wasn’t a wrap).
MMM both were delicious! The farmers market omelet was LOADED with veggies, many of which I had never had in an omelet before. We noticed broccoli, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and tomatoes. The omelet was filled with some gooey meunster cheese, which made it oh so yummy! The ciabatta bread totally made the sandwich. Perfectly crispy on the outside. Fantastic!
And, we couldn’t leave Dunedin without a trip to Strachan’s for some ice cream!
I got a scoop of Butterfinger and it hit the spot!
This one’s for you dad!
I would HIGHLY recommend Strachan’s. The ice cream was SO GOOD! If you go, it’s cash only (but there’s an ATM inside).
I got home and was too exhausted to head to the Tampa Bay Lady Blogger meet up Yoga in the park sure looked like fun though! All in all, I’d say it was a great Sunday! Spectating certainly is exhausting and now I definitely have a greater appreciation for friends and family who have watched me race!