Saturday November 11th - a busy day for Chapter FL1-M
It was an early rise for some of the members of Chapter FL-1. A 5:15 AM riders meeting and then off to Sand Key and Clearwater Beach for the Ford Ironman 70.3. This is the first year that such an event had been held in our community and it presented many challenges. The event consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, which was conducted in the Gulf of Mexico off of Clearwater beach. Then a 56 mile bicycle course which transverses most of clearwater's and it's adjacent communities major roadways. Finally a 13.1 run through the streets overlooking Clearwater bay. In all there were 1300 athletes representing 47 states and 39 countries. Fortunately the weather was absolutely beautiful for the event.
Our chapter provided sixteen bikes in support of the 56 mile bicycle portion of this event. Our bikes were used to transport the event Marshall's around the bicycle course. The Marshall's watched the athletes in order to insure that the race rules were followed and if infractions were observed they would wager a penalty against that individual. Drafting, yes drafting, invoked the heaviest penalty followed by improper passing and lane positions. The average speed on the flat terrain was 30 to 35 mph, whereas a quick spurt down one of the few hills or off of a bridge or overpass was well in access of 50 mph.
The grit and determination these athletes exhibited was unbelievable. Imagine completing this grueling 70.4 mile event as a 76 year old female (Sister Madonna Buder), a 81 year old male (Robert McKeague) and still more amazing are Sarah Reinertsen and Rudy Garcia-Tolson. Sarah is an above the knee amputee and Rudy a double above the knee amputee. Yes, we passed them out on the course and were amazed by their grit and determination. Our hats off to all of the athletes that took part in this event.
photo courtesy of WTC
Click here for streaming video of this event - hours of prerace and the race
After completing our portion of the triathlon, some of our members headed off to FL1-L2's rally which was held in Brooksville. There we joined our spouses and other chapter members to enjoy a well organized and "down to earth" fun event. Good music, comical games and tasty food kept everyone busy and happy. Our chapter did it again by having the largest chapter presence. There were thirty member in all. Of course the Sweeney's took home their share of the prizes as did Lucy and some of our other chapter members.
As we saddled up and headed back south we really were thankful for having such a great day. What a way to spend the day - great friends and perfect weather. The triathlon gave us the best seats in the event and FL1-L2's rally was very enjoyable. That's the way it is with Chapter FL1-M.