Note: This post will highlight some of the photos of the day (caution: there are A LOT!). It is not meant to be a race results post – if you are interested in reading the full story about the results, click here.
Sunday morning began bright and early – we met in the lobby at 545am. We checked out and drove to the start/finish/transition areas (they were all in the same area).
By the time we got out there, most of the professional men and women were already in the water warming up…There were a few still making their way to the docks to jump in the water – including the eventual winner, Tim O’Donnell.
The swim was held at Moody Gardens’ white sand beach, in the protected Offats Bayou. From what we were told, there was a good chance of rough water, but on race day, the bayou was pretty calm which allowed for some pretty fast swim times.
The professional men began at 7:00am, the professional females 4 minutes later, and the age groupers in 5 minute increments starting at 7:10am.
In order to get to the swim finish, we didn’t have time to stick around to watch the age group starts – we left the docks soon after the professional females began and still had to sprint a short distance to make it in time for the run out of the water!
Despite sprinting to the “Bike Out” section, I didn’t make it in time to catch the lead men at their bikes (I stayed too long at the water exit!). But I had plenty of time to see some of the lead women make their way onto the bike course.
After watching the lead professional females go through the first transition, Monica, Kelly, Traci (PR rep), Ray, and I made our way to our car to head to the bike course. The majority of the bike course was really conducive for spectating / taking photos – it was on a 4-lane road so the inner lanes were still open for vehicles.
We were able to drive alongside many of the professionals – cheering loudly for them as we passed them from behind! Most of the females acknowledged us with a wave and/or smile which we loved! The men, on the other hand, mostly looked at us like we were crazy. Haha.
Lance Armstrong took the lead in the men’s race about 15-20 miles in and held it until the run.
While the professionals were still on the bike course, we made our way back to the transition area for the run portion.
There were hundreds of people lining the start of the run to watch Lance Armstrong run by – it was a sight to see!
We positioned ourselves in the shade in one spot along the 3-loop course. We stayed there until the lead men passed us on their 3rd and final loop and then made our way to the finish line.
One of the best advantages to having the “Media Pass” was being able to walk to the finish line and sit down with photographers from some of the top magazines and newspapers…we were able to get some great photos of the athletes crossing the finish line.
One of the sweetest moments of the day was watching the women’s winner, Kelly Williamson, reunite with her husband moments after she crossed the finish line. I missed the kiss because I was too busy smiling at them!! But her husband’s happiness is evident in the picture below!!
After the top female finishes crossed the finish line, we were given access to the professional athlete area – there were a few press conferences under way already with the top male finishers. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go over to Tim O’Donnell. He is a 2003 grad from the Air Force Academy (I’m a 2003 grad from the US. Military Academy) and a big supporter of my favorite charity – Team Red, White & Blue - he’s pretty awesome in my book!
It was a long day – I have a new-found respect for sport photographers – especially those who work triathlons. We saw the same photographers throughout the day – literally running (with their multiple cameras and camera bags) to keep ahead of the triathletes in order to snap the perfect picture. By the end of the race, most of the photographers were sweating almost as much as the athletes themselves!
A BIG thank you to Team Refuel and the “got chocolate milk?™ representatives for inviting me to participate in such a fun-filled experience this weekend!
And a HUGE thank you to my husband for taking care of the little guy all weekend – it was extremely refreshing and relaxing to have a weekend without worrying about naps, meals, baths, etc and to have time for myself. I’m also appreciative of my mom, dad, and sister for helping out my husband over the weekend and making sure he had dinner each night (my mom does the same thing for me when my husband is away on business). THANK YOU!!! xoxo
Have you ever been a spectator at a triathlon before?
Did you find it hard to be at the multiple locations to cheer your athlete on??