With JT before the race.
All Ladies Triathlon - Bonelli Park.This was certainly a spread out weekend for the multisports.com crew. Roch headed off to Canada to be with Peter Reid and support him to yet another Ironman victory. Heather and Huddle jetted of to Mrs T's in Chicago to be TV stars doing color commentary for the Fox Sports production of the race. And I opted to stay close to home and lend support to Tri events first All Ladies Triathlon, on the popular Bonelli Park course in the Pomona valley, east of Los Angeles.
It was a great concept and the race organisation set up two different races to encourage many first timers to get out and challenge themselves. The 'long course' consisted of a 500m swim, 14 mile bike and 2 mile run. The Ladies Express was 200m swim, 7 mile bike and 2 mile run. There was a great turnout with over 200 ladies showing up to take part. There were athletes as young as 10 years old toeing the start line, in many cases alongside their moms.
It was very interesting, not to mention entertaining to see all the 'menfolk' out in the support role. Pumping up tires, wheeling bikes to the transition area and generally fretting over their loved ones. The race went very smoothly, especially the swim start. Take the male factor out and the kicking and wild flailing seemed to be at a total minimum. It really was the perfect environment for many of these ladies to get out and undertake the challenge in somewhat less threatening circumstances.
The long course race took me just under an hour to complete, and then it was a parade of very proud and smiling faces coming across the line. During the wait for the final awards, I conducted a short 'pep talk' and opened things up for about a half hour of Q&A. It was yet another reminder for me that the heart and soul of the sport is at this very grass roots level. We should be very thankful to the race organisers all over the country that keep this alive and continually throw their energy and resources into it. The last time I had raced a triathlon at this venue was back in 1986 - it was great to be back, and find the same race director, with the same heart, and yes the same rolling hills on the bike.
Love the lifestyle - thats what it's all about!