Curly’s CREW sizzles in the intense heat of the Celebration TRI

Mother nature insists on being HOT. We knew it would be a scorcher – with temperatures reaching 100 degrees and the humidity unbearable. It’s RACE DAY for the Celebration Sprint Triathlon…and best not to dwell on the heat… We can easily find other details to dwell on!

Such as “pond scum”. Jill is our designated femme version of Michael Phelps. I’m guessing that even MP would cringe at the thought of putting his bod in the steamy nasty pond called Centennial Lake. After arriving at the pre-dawn hours of 5:30AM….we scoped out the aqua terrain for Ms. Jilly.

My initial reaction was “woa – I’m sure glad we’re doing a RELAY and I don’t have to get into that stinky water” – but those would not be very inspiring words for our swimmer. So, we kept the subject on how “nice and warm” the water would feel, and “how fast” Ms Jilly would swim thru it, and how many “laps” it appeared between buoys. We watched the “good” swimmers, and compared their styles with those who were working hard.

While Swimmer Jilly was getting her ZONE on….the rest of “Curly’s Crew” relay team – including Biker Jane, Runner Chuck and Paparazzi Paddy – were busy putting together the remaining details. Setting up the transition area, strategizing on dunking bandannas in ice cold water, moving the bike to an empty rack to avoid colliding with other relay teams….and capturing each an every moment with the Blog Cam. This made for a busy morning. Paparazzi Paddy, toting a mug of coffee in one hand, and the Blog Cam in the other – was doing his own version of a triathlon. Chasing after each of us and taking pics. Rock on paparazzi Paddy!

The first wave of swimmers started shortly after 7AM. By 8:30AM, the relay swim wave was called to step into the water. Finally. The temperatures had already risen into the 90’s by now. OK. I said I wouldn’t dwell on this. Just say’n.

Mixed into the final swim wave, were the paraplegic athletes. One in particular captured the hearts of the crowd. An athletic father lifted his disabled child into a life raft. With his son safely strapped into the life raft, the dad attached a line to the raft…and around his waist. He would swim, towing his son in the life raft…. place his son in a special bike seat once out of the water….and then transfer his son to a special go-cart for the run. The dad wanted his disabled son to experience a TRI. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd….

Swimmer Jilly skims thru the slimy pond scum waters….for an amazing swim, giving us a very competitive start in a relay event that consisted of some serious athletes. Now, we aren’t REALLY competing with THEM. Curly’s CREW is about FAMILY and just being FIT, and NOT competition. But it’s hard NOT to notice other relay teams around you….and wonder if you just might pass ONE or TWO of them. Wouldn’t that be fun? You know, IF it were to happen? You check out their bikes…and if it’s a jalopy – then maybe you can stay ahead of that person? You check out their clothing….and if it’s loose and baggy….then maybe this is their FIRST TRI and maybe they will take a wrong turn somewhere? And then you shake off those silly thoughts….but they keep returning. OK. I admit. The Wadsworth DNA is a tad competitive.

The timer chip is now secured on my leg, as Swimmer Jill enters the transition area. Completely soaked in ice cold water and bandannas tied everywhere….I race to the top of the hill to exit onto the road. There are bikers in front of me. Lots of them. Just how I like it. Peeps to pass.

We are all “body marked” and I was looking for an “RX” – meaning RELAY MIXED – on the bikers. That’s our division. These would be the peeps to pass. On the first uphill grind, I found one. A man. This would be Sweet . I passed him with ease, and gave him a delightfully nice “passing on your left” blond voice, without a huff or puff to show for – as I blew by him on the uphill. But wait….on the next downhill – the big man blew past me. hmmmm. Let’s see how long he wants to duel with me on the hills.

I let him stay in front of me for the next 3 miles. No need to waste precious energy. I kept Mr. RX in my sights. There would be another steep uphill grade coming up. This is where I planned my next move.

As dozens of bikers slowed to a crawl….I told Ms. Madone to “do your thing”. We dusted Mr. RX….and that was the last I saw of him. Things were looking mighty fine….until the 3rd downhill.

This is where Ms. Madone turned into a NOODLE and morphed into a death wobble. Suddenly, I had NO control of my bike, as it shook violently in speeds of 35mph. I watched my life flash in front of me. This was about to be a terrible crash. There were many bikers descending directly behind me….and when I crash…they would crash on top of me. All I could do was to apply the rear brake slowly and pray I could hold on long enough for the bike to slow down before impact.

Miraculously….I stayed upright during the “death wobble”. Something is terribly wrong with my bike at speeds above 30MPH. I slowed to less than 15MPH….and took in the moment. Dang, I didn’t crash. I don’t know how I stayed up…. I just need to get to the FINISH slowly and safely.

From that point, I no longer cared about passing anyone. I braked during the remaining downhills…and kept my speed less than 20mph. This is what the “death wobble” looks like.

I couldn’t be happier to reach the end of the bike leg — in one piece. I jogged my bike back into the transition area – and handed off the race chip to big brother Chuck.

Chuck is a trooper…and a fighter. Having trained for the run during the last 2 months….life thru him a curve ball and messed up his foot. Unable to train with a busted up foot for 3 weeks…many would have just “given up”. Not Chuck.

He’s gonna run as much as his foot will allow…and he’s gonna finish. And if I know my brother…he’s gonna pass a few runners on the way. It’s just part of that darn’d Wadsworth DNA. Accompanied by Jill on the run, Chuck tears outta the transition area, in near 100 degree temperatures looking for runners with an RX.

The running course is 3.4 miles and quite challenging. It feels like it is mostly uphill, and when it’s not — it’s exposed to full sunlight.

I watched my BIG BRO finish his first running event, his first triathlon relay. It was pretty cool. We all finished…safely. No heat exhaustion, no traumatic bike injury, no foot meltdown….and just a few GI issues for our swim chic….(yuck!)

Next year, Paparazzi Paddy is considering joining Chuck as a TRI relay participant. Well, he didn’t actually “say” this…or even “think” it…. but this is how these family events get “started”.

Way to go Curly’s Crew!

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