What a weekend!
Due to a huge, horrible oil spill in the bay, the SF tri at Treasure Island was a bit altered. While this was disappointing for our participants, me, and the other coaches, it was obviously far more detrimental to the delicate and already tenuous ecology of the SF bay. I feel terrible thinking about all the birds and fish that are dying.
At any rate, once we heard about the oil spill and the extent of the damage, the event was touch and go. On Friday afternoon Tri Cal finally posted the official announcement, the water was deemed unsafe for swimming and the swim portion of the event was to be cancelled.
However...the show had to go on! This year's tri at T.I. just happened to be the ITU Pan Am championships, and a double points event for pros and elites trying to qualify for slots at Beijing next summer. It was settled then--the event would happen anyway, modified to be a duathlon.
This was great news, but I still felt pretty bad for our participants. These people had been training for a triathlon for the past 14 weeks. For most of them, it would have been their first tri. Between them (and there were barely 30 of them) they have raised over $75k for cancer research. For some of them, their triumph would have been magnified by the fact that they could barely swim at the beginning of the season! All of them were ready for their first competitive open water swim.
Luckily, the LLS stepped in at the last minute and gave them the choice of rolling 75% of the money in their Paycor accounts to another fundraising season; that way they'd be able to salvage most of their fundraising efforts and train for a different event.
It was a tough choice for some members of the team. Some people had friends and family that had arrived from out of town to support them. All of them had made room in their lives for nearly 3 months to train for a multisport event--a time consuming committment, especially for people who already have full-time jobs and families--and were unsure about committing to another season.
In the end, about 40% of the team went through with the event as a duathlon. I don't think a single one of them regretted it. By the time you finish a 10k run immediately after a 40k bike ride, evidently you're too tired to care (or even remember) that you didn't get to start with a swim as originally planned.
In training for a triathlon (or any endurance event), it's the journey that counts. Race day is one day. Only ONE DAY. What's to say you won't wake up that morning with the stomach flu? What if you get a flat or two and run out of tubes? What if there IS a catastrophic oil spill? Whether the race gods are with you or not--if you didn't enjoy the training leading up to it, it was all pointless.
I think TNT people are better off for it than others. They spent the season changing their lives, and getting in shape. They made connections, networked, laughed, smiled, and learned about things like how to change a bike tire, what the hell Body Glide is, and that you're never too old to pick up a new hobby. At the end of the day, they did something selfless; they raised thoursands of dollars that will save lives. They honored their fighting and fallen friends and family members stricken with blood cancers.