Well by now most of you have figured out I love the race in Penticton and am a firm supporter of the Challenge Group.
Our relay team in last year's race had a blast and Joe had a great day. Flash forward to November 2014 and I am chatting with a friend at work about Penticton and how her Husband should go and do the full race there, race the original Ironman course, get great athlete support and oh hey you could throw in a relay team for the half to have something to do while he is racing.
I told her how much fun we had, about our costumes and shirts , driving around the course - carrying a large head poster of Joe, about the beer garden at the finish line, about the great fan support, about the awesome food at the end and the fireworks at midnite and on and on and on. I really should just work for these people...
Now I had no thought of doing the race because I was going to Germany to do a full in July and absolute craziness to race in August but I was going to go up volunteer and cheer for all my peeps that were doing it.
Well a few days later she walks up and says I talked to my stepdaughter - Kayla we are in for the half. What????? We will do a team with you - we are super excited! Okkkkkaaaayyyyyy. What the hell - sure OKAY! Lets do this. So I registered the team for the half and decided on the team name - LAMBCHOPS LACKIES. The name was a must as her family always brings a stuffed Lambchop to all races as a goodluck/mascot. I joked about we should make shirts for each of us with Lambchop doing each sport - since my teams always have shirts.
Now here is the great thing about knowing when you have found a new member for tribe Crazy. Anne went and actually took photos of Lambchop in running gear, riding a Barbie bike and in a bathing suit with goggles at the pool. And the best shot - Lambchop chilling with a beer in a recliner post race. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? Awesome - well it had to be done I made a massive poster and mounted it on a large stick, and shirts for us and our support crew of 2. Yes I was coming back to Penticton louder and crazier than last year - LOL - it that was even possible.
I was doing the swim so I was all good plus I have now done this course so many times I can do it in my sleep. Now I have never met our cyclist, Kayla but Anne assured me that she had been training and was ready. Anne was also good to go as our runner, she had some knee issues a few weeks earlier but it had sorted itself out. All right lets do this.
Race morning - I got up and met with teammates and support crew - we marched down to the start line with our big sign, shirts on and Lambchop in her raincoat ( a little plastic bag). Swim was great - a bit of a gong show at the corners- but always is. I told them to plan for anywhere from 1:35 - 1:45 for me to come out of the water. I came out in 1:36 - a Personal Best!!!! I hooted and hollared into transition and Kayla found me quick high five and I think went BAAAAA. Chip exchange was quick and I told her ride it like you stole it - we will see you on the course.
I booked it back to the hotel to change into cheer gear and get the Lambmobile ready to head out on the course. Loaded everyone in and off we went - I asked what they thought her cycle time was and they said she was hoping for about 4 hours maybe a bit longer. I was like ok and based on that and knowing how long it took to change and such I headed out to around the 50km mark on the course, parked and we settled in for some serious spectating/cheering as we waited for her to pass.
As always I know we were appreciated as we encouraged people up the hill with cowbells, our sign, whistles and of course the personal appearance of Lambchop. She was a hit with people reaching out to high five her and 1 cyclist even gave her a little kiss. Ohh LA LA. We waited and I checked my watch - hmm did we miss her - you told her about the hills on the course right? Anne was like well we told her it was Penticton - ohhhh - she ride a lot? - well she has been training - does it feel like we might have missed her? Maybe - what to do, what to do. Since I had no idea of Kayla's riding history I was like maybe we should book it to the transition just in case she went by already and we missed her. My concern was that she would be in transition looking for us and we were out on the course. So back into the Lambmobile and to transition. Nope her bike was not there so then I had to go into my inner - this is fun don't worry she is fine she will get here - mode.
Sent Anne off to get changed in to her run gear with lamb ears and tail and waited with support crew in transition. Anne came back and let me know she was having some back issues and was all drugged up but Kayla needed to get there before the drugs wore off. WHATTTTTTTT - hmmmm - we talked she decided she would be able to do the run - but to be safe I jogged back to the hotel and put on my run gear - this is getting to be a habit... Kayla finally arrived all smiles and we greeted her and sent Anne off for a wee run - BAAAAAAA. Kayla was like OMG - that was the toughest ride I have ever done! I told her good job you gotter done and off to the run course to cheer on Anne. Fortunately the first part is an out and back past the hotel so Kayla got the chance to change and eat while we hooted, baa'd and hollered for runners on the course.
Along came and Anne and I am not going to lie, girl was not a happy lamb and was hurting. I started to jog with her and talk to her and at that point she was not feeling it - I said let me check that I can sub in and if I can I will jump in for you. So I zipped off and found an official while Ann jogged by and chatted for a few minutes and got the basic - if we don't see it we are okay with it. Great - so I sprinted off to Ann and I sprinted and slowed to a fast run - 2 km later I am whistling at her to slow down! I catch up and ask how she is doing and she is like ok I guess. So I give her the low down and say but here is the thing I just had to chase you down for 2+ km! I told her I think you should finish what you started - I can come in but you are going to regret not finishing this if I do. We are going to finish in time and this is about having fun - plus you only got 10km to go now. EASY.... Up to you - she was like you know what I can do this Okay I am going to finish it! GREAT okay I will go back to the others and load up the Lambmobile we will see you on the course - Go Lamb Go BAAAAA
Now I had a 5km jog back to the car but got back gave them an update and loaded the car here we go! We went on to the course by and parked at the far end of Main Street got out and assumed cheering position. Best thing was orange cones that I could use as a megaphone to project my BAAAAA's. I am sure that all the runners were convince I was nuts! Don't care had too much fun and worth it to see the smile of Ann as she was coming back into town and see us all there and Baa'ing into a big cone. She was all smiles and doing great. We zipped back to the finish line for the big finish.
I tell you everyone knew who were were - Kayla and I had Lambchop and were at the start of the finish chute ringing cowbells, carrying the largest sign and me yelling BAAAAAA. We even got some of the other spectators to start Baaing to call Anne home. LOL. And there she was - our little sheep jogging in and away we went into the finish chute on the red carpet - yes I said red carpet - it was awesome!.
After we finished everyone was like you guys are everywhere we have seen you all over the course - that was the point. Great finisher shirts and medals and next stop Beer Garden for a well deserved beer. Observation - doing the half distance means way too much time in beer garden to cheer on all the finishers for the full and wait for fireworks. It literally was Lambs gone wild but gosh did we have fun. All my peeps in the full solo and relay finished with style and Lambchop was there till the very end.
Next year is the Canadian Long Course trials in Penticton - not sure if I will be racing as a team or not because I am waiting to see if I get on the Amazing Race but if not then I have my team already lined up! Joe and his brother Jim are in for a head-to-head battle for the solo distance so either way I will be up there cheering, supporting and just having a great time.
Seriously if you have not done a Challenge race - I really encourage it.
Lambchop Lackie - Shaun