Back out to Michigan I head and this time I was going to spend my time at my buddy Mitch’s house. Mitch was kind enough to set aside one of his rooms to make me feel comfortable. He had a bed with dinosaur sheets and blankets and I was stoked! Mitch is also a combat veteran Marine who competes in triathlons and Mitch was going to race the Olympic distance the next day. When I arrived at Mitch’s house he was chopping wood in front of his house getting ready for winter. It’s pretty cool to see how Mitch heats his home during the winter and I love the fact that he puts in the work for his family and himself. Mitch heats his home by burning wood all winter long. Mitch has hundreds of logs stacked on his property ready for the winter and the following years so you know he has been putting some time in with the axe. Anyway, I just wanted to share that bit of information on him.
During my check in process I was looking for Travis from Alt Red and sure enough I ran into him. We chatted for awhile and I learned that Travis would be racing with his dad the next day. Now that is pretty cool that Travis would be able to share a race with his dad and run alongside him. Seth keeps telling me that one day he will race with me but he will smoke me. That I have no doubt in and I can’t wait for the day for Seth to brag how he beat his dad in an Ironman. Until then I will try my hardest to not let that happen. This is because we love to be competitive in the Mendoza household and there is no way I will give him anything or let him win, but when that day comes I know Seth will shove it in my face. That is what we call family, love through competition.
The evening before the race Mitch, along with his wife and two daughters and I, went to have pizza which was pretty amazing. I say amazing because I always compare pizza to Chicago style and sometimes when you are visiting other parts of the states it can be a letdown. During our dinner, Travis gave me a call and invited me to have pizza as well but of course I had to decline on the offer as we were already eating. It is pretty cool that Travis from AltRed would invite me to have dinner with him and I was grateful.
Race morning was much like every other race. Early get up and dark, but this time I wasn’t alone. Mitch was already awake before I even came upstairs and had the coffee pot going. When we arrived, we were met with some race morning traffic, so Mitch dropped me off while he went to park the truck. Turns out that was a great plan because by the time he returned to the transition, my wave was about to take off and Mitch was about 30 min behind me on his start time.
At the swim start I met the brother or cousin (can’t remember) of the Beebe brothers. Just a quick heads up, the Beebe’s are wrestlers and we started talking because my son wrestles. Anyways, the gentle I was speaking with happened to say good luck to me on my race and I wished him luck as well. Well as usual, we struck up a conversation and he told me he comes from a wrestling family and I asked what his last name is and of course I put it together. I like the idea of talking to people at races and realizing how small our world is just by being social. There he also learned about my mission and he himself had many questions.
During the race, the water was pretty calm and not chilly, but still in need of a wetsuit. As I exited the water and ran to the transition, I noticed that many bikes had not left so I knew I was doing pretty good but I still had my bike and run to complete. On the bike I was able to make great ground by catching those who were faster than me in the water, but I had run into a problem. I lost my ability to shift so I was stuck in one gear the entire bike portion of my race. I tried to keep it smart by not burning out my legs but it sure was a challenge not to have the ability to shift. When I approached the 40 mile mark on the bike, I ran into Jackie from Alt Red as well and she also had a bike issue. One of her cables needed to be replaced. For me, I think my Di2 was either low on battery or the cable was not plugged in all the way. That being said, I didn’t push myself hard on the bike like I normally do and dismounted my bike on the bigger hills and ran with it. I think that worked well in my favor because my legs were not complete dead when I entered T2 and began my run portion. During my run portion I ran into Travis and his dad and they shouted words of encouragement and I felt like I had a pretty good run pace. All in all, I finished second in my age group and eighth overall. It was pretty cool to have Mitch along with his family, as well as Travis and Jackie to see again. I really enjoyed this race and think I will do it again. This time I will make sure my shifting works.