HELLO from Branson!
HELLO!! We made it safe and sound. What a smooth trip to Branson Missouri.
Like always, it's hard to leave my furry best friend. I am fairly certain he has perfected his sad face to make is super duper hard to leave him.
But not to worry, Campy was the best helper in getting me race ready. Not only did he help me finish most of my runs during my training but he made sure I didn't forget anything before the race.
Mom, are you sure you aren't forgetting anyone??
At the Trek store, helping Karel pack up our bikes. Waiting a patiently to see if we will pack any of his toys.
To avoid a super early commute Friday morning, we headed to Orlando on Thurs evening for a good night sleep. At 5:40am, we left our hotel to head to the Orlando airport. Although Jacksonville airport is closer than the 2-hour drive to Orlando, we ended up saving $200 each ticket to fly out of Orlando to Branson and on AirTran, our bikes were only $50 each way. Luckily, everything went super smooth but we allowed a good 2 hours before our flight just in case.
A 1:20 hr flight to Atlanta and a 1:50 hr flight to Missouri. I caught up on lots of reading (journals, magazines, etc.) and shared lots of laughs with Karel by looking at the items in the Sky Mall magazine. We also brought our own food on the plane so Karel enjoyed a pre-made sandwich (ham, cheese, veggies on a sub that he kept cold in a cooler before we got to the airport) and I had a PB and Jelly Bagel w/ banana. I also had a "personal" carry-on, in addition to my backpack that was filled with my homemade trail mix (Cheerios, cashews, raisins, Spanish pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds), as well as fruit (pears, bananas, apples, peaches, plums), baby carrots, PB (in a Tupperware container), emergency bars (LARA, MOJO, KIND), fig newtons, raisin bread, crisp bread crackers, oatmeal packets, animal crackers (Karel's favorite) and of course, dark chocolate. Thankfully, our fridge at the hotel is stocked for easy snacking.
YIPPEE!! We made it. The new Branson airport is SO cute. I felt like I was walking on to a movie set. I new as soon as we walked into the airport that this was the right race for us. I love the homey feel and the special touch of warmness from the locals.
The airport is super small so a few steps away, we saw our bike cases. Despite a 45 min layover in Atlanta, we were lucky in that our next gate was just 3 doors down. But happily, all our prized possessions made it to "the Vegas of the Midwest"..
Karel scored us an upgrade and thank goodness he did!! An intermediate car would not have worked out with our third bag. We have squeeze in two bike cases before (KONA) but this time, we were happy to have a new Jeep Cherokee Limited Edition (although Karel isn't sure he likes the feel of the "American" cars because they don't accelerate fast enough for him). Also, another save in money. The Branson 70.3 website had a discount code for the event. Combined with the $150 race entry fee, this race is relatively easy on the bank account...but I'm sure, won't be easy on the legs come Sunday.
What would I do without him?
It all fits!
We had a 12 mile drive from the airport to our hotel (Baymont Inn and Suites), which is located about 1 mile from the Landing (race finish). Not walkable but an easy commute. The logistics of this race are a little unique in that the swim and T1 are at one location, T2 is at a separate location and then we finish at the Landing (downtown) just a little away from T2. The sights are beautiful and with a warm day today, I'm looking forward to the crisp low 40's anticipated for race day morning (high 72) on Sunday. Oh, and we have not discovered any road/street that isn't flat. But luckily, after our legs get a beating for 56 miles, the 3-loop run course is flat.
Always excited to see Oakley when I travel!
One of my favorite parts in deciding my race schedule, is seeing new places. I love traveling w/ Karel so to share this experience with him (his first half ironman) and our first trip to the Midwest, is really special. We are loving the new sights, smells, tastes and hopefully new friends. It is so beautiful here!
Enjoying part of the run course.
Either Karel is carbo-loading or considering new gel flaks. Karel does love his chocolate.
With a 100% smooth trip, something was bound to happen. Who needs two brakes, right? Well, apparently the airline didn't think I did so my front brake was broke in half when Karel assembled our bikes. His speed concept took a little longer to put together so Karel advises anyone with integrated headsets or inexperience w/ traveling w/ a bike, to use Tribiketransport. Thankfully, I can travel w/ my bike mechanic (and his tools) and in this case, he came in super handy!
A big thanks to Down Hill Bikes for helping us out with a new front brake and any other items that Karel needed to fix my bike.
Well, it's getting close to my favorite time....pre-race PIZZA!!! Thanks for reading. We are both really excited and hope to be mentally and physically tough on race day. We are enjoying our racecation to the fullest!