Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Orleans 70.3 Race Report - The Novel, Part 1.

Part 1.  Is there anyone here?

I went to New Orleans on Friday - flying Continental for the first time ever.  There were 100% on time and nice and although they didn't smile and they did over-charge me by $25 on the baggage - it was pretty durn pleasant.

I got there and caught up with Marc Mallott aka and now known as 'Yung Mahk' - now made famous by Macca.  It sounds better with an Aussie accent. 

We hauled about 300 lbs of stuff through the airport to the Dollar Rent a Car bus waiting area.  I now know why it's called Dollar, because that is how much they spend on their airport shuttles. 

We waited like 20 mins.  Next to Vern and Millie Drucker from Omaha. 

Then it showed and then people started asking what was in the cases - bikes. Then the lesson I now know well and have taken to heart - people LOVE to talk about every single nugget in their life as it relates to triathlon.  Turns out Vern's son had signed up to do the race but crashed his bike (a ride on some new clipless pedals was the culprit) and broke about 6 ribs.  I could have only been so lucky.  They were in town to watch the race anyhow - they had their tickets and hotel and car, so they were going to watch - along with 32 other people in New Orleans, not including the 5,203 police officers. 

In order to get our car first, I jumped out of the shuttle and asked Young Marc if he'd kindly get my stuff off too.  I think I got off before he could say no thank you.

By the time we got our sweet ride (a black Jeep Commander), we were going to miss out on Macca's talk.  Little did we know that we'd end up spending more time with the World Champ than we could have imagined. 

We headed into the city to the Marriott to meet up with Scott Fairchild (Macca's agent and I are cousins sort of through like 2 marriages - I think this makes us pretty much not related but we've had Thanksgiving together) and Macca for a quick hello. 

I thought the Sheraton was the race hotel, found it and then went inside only to find some sort of art convention.  Then Scott said it was the Marriott which was luckily across the street except after we got there we found out there were about 32 other Marriotts in New Orleans.

About 30 mins later we found the right one and found the boys.  Said quick hellos and checked into our hotel a few blocks away.

For Friday night we split up and I went to an event with Chris Tremonte, Ben Greenfield and as it turns out the ever-present Aaron Scheidies.  You'll see in the picture that Aaron doesn't look at the camera because he's mostly blind but you'd never know it.  After the event Ben who had just met and chatted with Aaron had no idea he was blind he just thought he didn't like looking directly at people.  The night ended pretty early - about 9 or so (7pm for me based on the time change) and I went to bed, except I must have laid around for 4-5 hours before falling asleep.

Me and Aaron at the party on Friday night. Beer: free.  Water: $1.


Aaron's bike. I think this is the bike Ben and Aaron rode on their World Record for a sub 2 hour Olympic race.

On Saturday we hit registration and got our stuff - then went out for a short run and bike.  The 3 things I noticed were that it was hot, humid and really windy.  Like really windy. 

Here's my baby that had to get checked into transition on Saturday.
So fast, at least so fast looking.

Since we had a little time to kill, Marc and I drove some of the bike course out into the swamps of New Orleans.  We found that it was pretty desolate and empty.  Katrina really cleaned the place out and in some parts for miles it felt like driving through a ghost town.

The Relax Inn.  It was really open - no joke but you would have thought it was scheduled to be torn down.  Not a single person there.
This was a part of a massive apartment complex that was abandoned.  Empty.  Nothing there.  No gangs, no nothing around.

You might be able to see this lot where some guy is fishing in the swamp.  A lot of people actually fish in the swamps. 

Part of the bike course.  So flat and so windy. 

Hey look, more flat, more windy and more swamps.  They did warn us of gators in case you stopped for a flat.  Always makes for a quick wheel change!
I was going over 50mph when I took this - but some guy built 'part' of a  castle for his home.  The King of this castle drove a Chevy Truck.
The new building code now calls for houses to be on 16 ft. stilts.  No joke. 
This scene is pretty typical of what we saw.  Some pretty areas and then something abandoned.

We met up for dinner - which also happened to be Macca's birthday in a great little Italian place.  About 2/3 of the way through dinner a kid about 10 or so walks up to Macca about as nervous as a kid could ever get, he introduced himself and asked if he could have his photo taken.  It turns out the restaurant was full of triathletes who all wanted a shot with him as he left the place -so we waited outside. 

Here's Macca, me, Scott, and some folks from Under Armour. 

Young Marc with Macca.  You'd never guess which one lives in Baltimore.
The hotel and the streetcar that rumbled by every few minutes on St. Charles Street. 
Me and Scott Fairchild.

Macca showing off his new Zipp sweater.
Scott, holding the new company we started in his hand!

The second part of our evening was then spent getting some pre-race drinks (Red Bull) and then back to the hotel to start our new company.  As Macca paid for his drinks and water at a small package store he said something to the cashier who was Indian who then busted out with 'heeeeeeeey Crocodile Dundee!  That was sort of funny. 

We then went to the room where we signed our LLC agreement which officially starts MaccaX, LLC. 


More about this in a few weeks. 

The other not so funny part was that in his attempt to catch a connecting flight Macca left his helmet on the plane.  Lucky for him, I had the same helmet except that was my race helmet and it quickly became his race helmet - it isn't something you can find on the shelf at your local store and the shop that was supporting the race didn't carry Specialized stuff.  I figured it was about as fast as my helmet would ever go in a race, so I handed it over and they hooked me up with a loaner Louis Garneau 300lb aero behemoth.  I also have both Scott and Macca to thank for just about everything I have related to triathlon - from bikes, to wheels, to wetsuits, to race kits and so on - so this was sort of the least I could do. 

More later.... 



Ben said...

Hey Loren, would have been fun to see you and Stu after the race, give me a shout-out if you're ever over in Washington on the Eastside near SpoCompton...

Posted my race report to http://bengreenfieldtri.blogspot.com

Chris Tremonte said...

That's the first race report I've ever read that didn't talk about the race at all. I like your style.

That's cool that you spent some time driving around the city -- the intentional part, not the :looking for the hotel" part. I had a bit of Microsoft work to tend to and didn't see as much as I would have liked.

Sarah said...

I like the pre-race stories. Crazy about Macca forgetting his helmet! That was awfully nice of you to loan him yours.