Friday, February 16th - 12:30 PM
It had finally arrived – the weekend we had all been waiting for since we first saw those socks they gave out last year. Tritonman was finally here. And it came to an exciting start as half the team sat in the wreck cen parking lot waiting for the bike trailer to arrive, eyes glued to Ethan attempting to change a flat he got on his way. This proved to be an excellent form of entertainment, and by the time the bike trailer arrived most of the team hardly realized that they had been waiting for almost an entire hour. Except John Frey - he knew damn well how long he had waited for that bike trailer to show up. After dealing with the inevitable hassles that come with transporting thirty people, their bikes, and all their gear two hundred miles down the coast, the team finally hit the road at two in the afternoon – LA traffic prime time. Traffic had already slowed to a crawl at downtown Santa Barbara. It was going to be a long ride.
Four hours later the team stopped for dinner at Chipotle. Traffic was brutal – not even the LA natives had seen it this bad. It was going to get worse before it got better, so everyone took their time at dinner and decided to hit the road again in an hour. Time was passed wandering through Trader Joes, discussing how one might transcend the barrier between mind and body, and arguing over how to pronounce “Dinah’s Fried Chicken” (it’s Die-Nuhs). Coach caught Jared handing out ibuprofens out of an old prescription bottle behind the van and was worried some seriously shady stuff might be going on. After dinner it was time to hurry up and wait some more. The traffic didn’t let up, and the team was forced to get more and more creative with how they would pass the time on this seemingly endless drive. Thea and Ethan watched one of the live action Scooby Doo movies until they were sure the CGI animation of Scooby dancing would give them nightmares, epic tales of Nicaraguan strip clubs were told, debates got heated over which one of the United States should be erased off the face of the earth, and Suds’s heart broke when he found out the Sierra and Blake were not in fact dating. But the hours dragged on as the van crawled across the 405 southbound.
Just as all topics of conversation had been depleted and the athletes thought they might go stir crazy, two shining red beacons of hope glimmered in the distance. It was them – the two and only – the San Onofre Nuclear Boobies*. In an unspoken language that all men are fluent in from age thirteen onward, the boys exchanged brief glances and knew it was time to release the middle school sense of humor that still held a special place in all their hearts, yelling “NIPS!” in perfect harmony. All this commotion woke Nick from a deep slumber. As pulled off his headphones and opened his sleepy eyes, he stated in pure awe, “my god those are some perky titties.” Thea, stuck in the back of the van with the boys, looked like she was ready to shoot herself.
After seven and a half hours of travel time, the team finally arrived at Nicole’s house at 9:30 PM. With a 4:30 AM wake up call looming, there wasn’t much time for fun and games, although everyone did take a few minutes to say hi to Nicole’s many fun pets. Jared, Jonathan, and Iris said a quick prayer that a freak rain storm would roll through overnight raising the pollutant levels in Mission Bay to dangerous levels thus forcing the swim to be cancelled, and everyone went to sleep.
Saturday, February 17th – 4:30 AM
The athletes woke to the sound of every iPhone ring tone every created sounding simultaneously and a killer array of breakfast goodies, many thanks to Nicole and her family. It was still pitch dark when the vans rolled into Mission Bay for packet pickup. Much to the chagrin of athletes everywhere, there were no Tritonman socks distributed this year, although the beanies were still kind of cool. The team proceeded to unload the bike trailer and set up their transition areas. When Dane saw Jared changing into his favorite unmarked team wetsuit, he declared war. Whoever finished first would gain custody of the suit. A few minutes before the race was set to start, the team got into the water for a quick splash to warm up. Jonathan realized he had forgotten his goggles and asked Iris if she had an extra pair. Iris is usually the one to ask if you forgot anything tri related, but alas, five minutes before the race start not even she had spare pair of goggles laying around and Jonathan was forced to sprint back up to the transition area. Seeing that no freak rain storm had arrived to pollute the water, Jared and Jonathan said one more quick prayer – this time only asking not to drown.
The gun went off and the race was on. Thea and Sierra got out fast on the swim, Gordon took off on the bike for the fastest bike split in the whole race, and Ricky and Iris finished strong with the run, earning them both spots in the top twenty-five in a very competitive field. Sarah crushed the bike for the 8th fastest bike split in the women’s race along with a sixteenth overall finish. Suds put out an impressive performance in triathlon debut, and even came out with the fastest T2 in the whole race. James put in a respectable effort, finishing the race strong after being hospitalized with the flu only two weeks earlier. The crowd went wild watching Sierra and Kelly battle in a true sprint finish in the last fifty meters of the race, and despite Jared’s gut wrenching effort on the run, Dane managed to edge him out, earning back the rights to his favorite wetsuit.
The mood after the race was pleasant with sunny skies and warm SoCal weather. After ample sunbathing was done and exaggerated stories of race carnage were told, the team gathered for a picture and hit a local restaurant for some real Mexican food (not Chipotle). The trip home took just as long as the trip there, with traffic being unusually heavy. But the race was over, and everyone was a little more relaxed. The boys broke into commotion once again as the van passed the San Onofre Nuclear Boobies, this time in broad daylight. Close examination of the structures sparked a good deal of debate in the van. Coach Matt stated that they couldn’t be real, and Ethan said, "it never hurt a man to dream." Thea, Iris, and Sierra just rolled their eyes. The rest of the drive was passed with frequent fast food and bathroom stops. Sierra woke up to the soothing sight of Coach Matt’s face pressed up against the van window at a gas station, and Nick managed to awaken from his slumber just in time for every fast food stop. At a Micky D’s in Carpinteria, Coach Matt and Ethan were sure that Jared was occupying the stall they were waiting in line for and proceeded to throw spitballs and tell rude jokes just outside the door. Jared turned out to be outside the van in the parking lot the whole time, and a very angry old man emerged from the stall.
*The San Onofre Nuclear Boobies are two reactors within a formerly active nuclear powerplant on San Onofre State Beach. The shape placement of these two reactors in close proximity to each other lead them to indubitably resemble boobs. If you don’t believe me, google it.