We travelled the 3 1/2 hours up to Benton Harbour on Saturday morning after a quick bike/run brick workout. Along the way we stopped at an IHOP to load up on pancakes as suggested. I think Coach Mary's advice was "eat until you're full, then eat one more pancake" - I could not believe how packed that place was at 10 a.m. on a Saturday!
A couple of scary thunderstorms later we arrived in Benton Harbour and after meeting up with some fellow Windsorites for lunch we hit up the registration/expo at St. Joseph High School. Registration went very quickly/smoothly and we then spent some time trying to part with some money at the expo. I was disappointed that the Ironman store had only L and XL t-shirts left that had the m-dot with all of the participants names as that was what I really wanted to get. I ended up buying a t-shirt that says "Ironman in training - 2012" and a couple of stickers. The rest of the expo was pretty lame if I'm being honest. I don't know why I'm always expecting these to be better than they are. Maybe it's because the first expo I ever attended was at the ill-fated Chicago tri and that was gigantic with the best deals and everything you could possibly hope for that is sports/triathlon related.
After getting all registered we headed to the hotel to get our bikes ready as we had decided to check them in that day so that we could take the shuttle from the parking to the race site the following morning instead of having to worry about coordinating our bikes the morning of. By the time we hit the hotel the weather had turned foul. I was so happy that Mary had suggested we do our brick in the morning when I saw all of the other Windsor athletes trying to head out in the crazy weather to get their workouts in. We also learned at this point that Jean Klock Park, where the race was being held, had closed tranisition early because of the crazy weather and sand storms. No early bike check in for us.
After a little relaxation we met up with other tri friends and headed out to dinner. Unfortunately the dining choices in Benton Harbour are not substantial and 16 of us ended up at Applebee's because they at least had a pasta menu. I had a pretty tasty grilled shrimp on pineapple rice dish that was on their "healthy menu". After dinner it was back to the hotel for lights out at 9:00 p.m. and hopefully a good night's sleep.
Stay tuned for part 2...