Friday, October 19, 2007

Escape To Bermuda, Day 1

(with my sister-in-law Alicia Kaye at the Bermuda Shorts Race)

Wow. I want to move here.

I arrived to Bermuda yesterday evening. Even though it was dark when I arrived, the beauty and serenity of the island was immediately evident to me. I've been to many places in my life but so far Bermuda out shines them all.

First, let me say that my bike has never come off a plane so fast. It was waiting for me, before the luggage even hit the belt, when I walked out of customs into the baggage claim. So of course, the trip was off to a magnificent start. Even my 10 hour trip seemed to fly by.

I was then greeted by a mob of eager taxi drivers all holding signs with the names of various athletes they were assigned to. I have always wanted to exit an airport to someone holding a sign with my name on it and it was quite amusing how each one wanted to claim me for their own. The van ride was very pleasant, probably because the speed limit here is 20 mph due to the very narrow roads. They actually had to go to the government to get us permission to break the speedlimit on race day!! The Fairmont, Southampton, our hotel, sits up on a hill and has the most breath-taking ocean views. I am fortunate enough to actually have a room that overlooks the ocean. That never happens to me!

After taking a scooter ride, on the left hand side of the road, to try to find a restaurant to eat in, I soon discovered that everything closes at 10pm on weekdays. I ended up eating at the hotel which, of course, burned a massive hole in my pocket... and continued to do so today. The prize money and a top 6 finish this weekend are becoming more and more appealing and necessary.

Waking up Friday morning, I went to the odd figure-8 shaped pool and did the best I could to get my training set in. The warm water was exhausting, but I did what I could and felt quite refreshed afterwards. You learn as you travel that you have to let go of some control and just flow with what comes at you. There are rarely traditional lap pools available, so you learn to push off rounded walls and to flip after 6 strokes or whatever the pool will allow. I then registered for the race and built up my bike. Repeating "ride on the left" over and over in my head, I headed out on a short spin and then a light jog. After riding along and staring at the ocean, I am quite looking forward to an ocean swim tomorrow.

Mid-afternoon, I had a short media session for one of the local papers. They took us, myself and 3 other pros, down to the beach where we had some photographs taken and then did brief interviews. I tell you, this beach has Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition written all over it. It is so dramatic with the jagged rocks protruding from the perfectly turquoise-blue water. The sand is this light pink color, something I have never seen before, rendering the scene all together a picture of paradise.

Tomorrow, all of the pros are going to make an appearance at the "Bermuda Shorts" Triathlon which has both a sprint race as well as a kids race. I am looking forward to meeting some of the locals and, of course, the kids. We will do an autograph signing and say some "hellos" and then I think some of us may go for a short swim. I anticipate tomorrow will be quite busy with training, bike checks and all of the last minute things that seem to pop up. But I am getting really excited to race so Sunday really cannot come soon enough.

I feel so fortunate to be here and can only hope to improve on the strong bike leg I had in Dallas last weekend. Things are really looking up for me, I am so happy and I want to race again. I can't wait to get out there and see how far I can push myself.

*A special thank you to IMG who are coordinating the event and made it possible for me to be here.*