Monday, August 11, 2008

IRONMAN addendum

While August was completing his half IRONMAN feat, things were happening on the sidelines, not the least of which was my opportunity to accompany him on the one-mile swim. What a gift that early morning swim was! The water was deliciously summer warm and extra clear. The sun sparkled on the green surface, and as I swam I could see pines stretching into blue sky, birds flitting across the water in search of bugs, and Mt. Elizabeth in quiet repose at one end of the lake. WOW! What more could I ask for on an August morning?

Meanwhile on the beach, Papa was contending with a disgruntled Brentwood Lake employee. First she wanted August's clothes out of the bathroom so she could clean it. Papa had set them up for a quick transition from the swim to the bike. Then she wanted my towels and beach bag OFF the sand so she could rake. Then she wanted August's bike IN the bike rack rather then leaning against the fence where it was waiting for the transition. Papa managed her irritation with grace, and August and I were oblivious of her demands until the storytelling AFTER the event.

Right after August reached Middlecamp road at the start of his bike ride, he hooked up with another cyclist, an older man named Brian, who rode with him all the way to Confidence Road and North Tuolumne Road. As they met me at one water stop, the man called out his wonder regarding August's plan. Thanks for your support Brian, where ever you are!

As the event got underway, I tried to call Mama to give her a report, but the Tippett phone was off the hook and I got a busy-signal which was not rectified until the bike ride was almost over. Papa and I kept in contact, however, though my cell-phone coverage was spotty out in the Wards Ferry area. I kept getting dings that I had voice mail, but I couldn't pick them up. So I busied myself with handing August Cliff Bars and cups of fruit and then slowing down as I passed him a bit later so he could throw the cups or wrappers through the window of the truck.

Granddaddy and Cindy met us at about the half-way mark of the bike ride and applauded and cheered and took pictures.

The last segment of the bike ride was up hill for about 4 miles on North Tuolumne Road at noon, so the sun was beating down. I got a little confused about the turn off to Mt. Provo Road and had also given Uncle John faulty directions, so we almost didn't make to the transition point. But John and the girls (Anna Mae & Gianna) saw August toiling up the hill and got the right directions, and I figured out where to turn, and once re-oriented, we were all set up when August arrived with a sun-burned nose onto which I slathered sun screen as he changed to running shoes.

The first part of the run was up hill for 4 miles in the sun. That was the worst part of the day for me. At one point, I pulled ahead of him and found a tiny spot of shade for him to stand in while I poured a bottle of cool water over his head and neck, wetting his shirt. That part of the trek was pretty ugly, but by the time he reached the ditch on South Fork Road, he said, "I'm feeling pretty good, Dearma." And he was looking good too. His posture looked stronger and his gait was stretching out.

The worst part of the day for Mama was after she met August on the other side of the Mt Elizabeth ditch when he began the run down Kuen Mill Road where folks were traveling 40-45 mph and the road is narrow with NO shoulder. Since he was a bit tired by then and less alert, she and the family followed him in the Sprinter for 2 miles, motioning drivers to slow down while back at the lake we were setting up a finish line.

A bunch of extended family managed to get to the Lake just before August arrived (except Granddaddy who got there late because I forgot to call him in time with a progress report). We yelled and cheered and blew birthday noise makers as August came through the gate and burst through the finish ribbon. I have one goofy photo taken of a tree trunk and sand, probably when I was wiping the tears of relief and pride from my eyes.

What a August story this will make in years to come.

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