By Jimmy Kalfas
Due to recent winds, the Bay County commissioners are entertaining the re-naming of their county. They also have initiated plans to introduce wind driven sports as a major attraction.
NOT! To a first timer at the 21st annual Gulf Coast Triathlon, the line above would not be far from the truth.
Never ending breezes of 10-15 M.P.H. from the south churned the Gulf, and with a long hot dry spell heating the water up, the 1,800 athletes that started the swim were forced to leave their wetsuits at home.
With 4′-6′ swells and a 1′-2′ chop, the swim for the athletes was, shall we say a bit uncomfortable. While Tallahassee may be landlocked, our contingent of home folks were undaunted by the task at hand. With our own cheering section, Bonnie, Jane, Phillip and others, to prod us on, we smoothly made the transition from the choppy gulf waters and soft sugary sand beach thorough the parking lot of the Boardwalk Beach Resort to our bikes for the second leg of the journey.
Out on the road, with aid stations every ten miles, the bike, while long and for the most part, pancake flat, was uneventful for most, however, mishaps did occur, with our own George Palmer going down in the late stages. With a tailwind while heading north along State Road 79, the first quarter of the 56 miles passed quickly. The bridge over West Bay caught some by surprise (did they have to make it that high?), as well as the turn to County Road 388 (has Bay County ever thought of resurfacing?) Coupled with a rough surface and the crosswinds from the south, the trek to the turn around and back quickly became tiresome and boring. (If someone wants to, during Ironman Florida, we can team up and make a fortune on tires, tubes, Co2 cartridges, water bottles and other items that come loose from a bike on a rough road!) After a quick U-turn, we headed back the way we came, and the kindly tailwind on the way out, quickly became the dreaded enemy of a headwind. My how our perspectives change!
Pee Cee Beach must be ready and wanting their summer crowds, as someone sure forgot to tell them it ain’t summer yet! With the temperature in the 90’s, and the heat index forecast was over 100, we quickly hit the hottest day of the year. Fortunately, the race directors and race committee drew on their past experiences, and had water and aid stations each mile. They were well needed and welcomed! With a few residents providing additional cool down sprays, the bulk of the mileage passed. Only in the last 10 miles did I question my sanity!
For an unexplained reason, the pizzas were slow to non-existent, but the beer was cold and plentiful. As well, the post race part at Spinnakers, the beer flowed yet again, and the barbecue chicken and ribs were tasteful and plentiful.
Breakfast the next morning at BJ Bailey’s of manhole cover sized hot cakes and we were well on the road to recovery and in search of an Ironman.
The Tallahassee group picked up its share of the hardware, thanks to Rob Roller, Jeff Bowman and Terry Presnell.
maTRIx Tallahassee FL 5:51:48
Chase Daniel 34:27, Linda Daniel 3:06:59, Maria Vives 2:06:04
Team TCC Tallahassee FL 6:41:08
Guesna Dohrman 48:44, Tomas Berger 4:26:58, Bill Law 2:12:20