Woke up on my own at 4am. I hadn't set my alarm until 5:30am since the start of the race wasn't until 8am. Even though I hadn't had any problems going to sleep, I guess my body was ready to race and I just woke up. Christelle was still asleep, so I got up made myself some breakfast and checked that I had everything in my back pack again:
- Swim cap (which I received at bike check-in)
- Towel to put in my T1 bag just in case
- Bike Shoes (My bike shoes didn't fit in the back pack so I set them next to the backpack)
Then I went back and looked at some of the texts and social media messages I had received, from the night before since I had gone to bed so early. It was very nice to see how many people had wished me good luck. Transition opened at 6am so by 5:45am there were a lot of athletes already walking to the village. I guess got a little nervous and grabbed my backpack thinking I had everything I needed and headed out with Chris. Halfway to transition I remembered that all of my nutrition was still in the refrigerator at the hotel, so Christelle ran back to get my two water bottles I had forgotten. I kept thinking of other things I could have forgotten, but I figured that the water bottles had been the one thing I was going to forget that day. I even took a picture of Christelle coming back so that I would remember what I had forgotten so it doesn't happen again in the future.
Once I had my bag I ran to some chairs towards the exit. Sat down, put my socks on, grabbed my helmet and before I could strap it the visor came off. I decided to put the helmet aside and deal with it on my way to the bike. I then had a hard time putting the wetsuit into the T1 bag, the bag is not very big and the volunteers were just standing there with their arms crossed. I so wish I had my camera then to take a picture, it was a funny scene, about 5 of them just standing there. In other Ironman events volunteers almost dress and undress you and always help you put your gear in the bag. I guess this is Worlds and nobody should get an advantage over anyone else. When my wetsuit was finally in the bag, I tried to give it to a volunteer that was next to the bin, he shook his head and pointed to the bin. I understood that I had to physically put it in myself. I couldn't believe how strict the French Canadians were for the race. Finally I came out of the tent and on my way to my bike I struggled to get the visor on the helmet, I was not able to get it all the way in and a couple of times the visor fell again making me have to stop and go back to get it. Once I got to my bike, I took my time to put the visor on. Unracked my bike and that's when I noticed the biggest mistake I have ever made in a triathlon. My shoes were not clipped on.
A thousand things went through my mind at that instant. "Wait, did I leave the shoes in the T1 bag? No it was empty when I was trying to put the wetsuit in it. Did I accidentally put my shoes in the T2 bag? No, only my running shoes are there." That's when I realized that I had left them in the room. So then I had to make a decision: "Should I run to the room barefoot and get them? No, this would put me too far behind and probably get disqualified (DQed) for leaving the area. Should I just stop and call it a day? No, this is World Championships, I'll never forgive myself. Do I go to T2 and get my running shoes? No, my chip is going to go nuts and I'll get DQed, this is just as bad as not finishing. Should I try to just ride barefoot? OK, let's do that, I'm sure I can tell Chris and I'll have my shoes in later on the bike. 10-20 miles without should should be OK." I was running through the transition area and there were so many things I was thinking that I didn't realize that I had gotten on my bike. If you don't know this is a big no no. One of the volunteers looked at me and she was just shocked I was on my bike I guess, that she didn't say anything. When I realized what I was doing I immediately stopped the bike and got off. Ran the bike to the mounting zone and started biking without my shoes, just with socks on. As I got on my bike I'm sure people thought I was crazy, because I was looking for someone familiar, someone I could tell about my shoes, but to them I probably just looked very confused. In the first mile I got passed by so many people, I was going slow debating whether I should continue or just stop.
I finally came out to the main road still looking for someone familiar, I finally heard Chris yelling very excited and then I saw her and yelled in Spanish: "I don't have my shoes!" She looked at me like I was crazy or stupid, probably both and lifted her arms in disbelief. She took a picture of me, which I posted on Instagram and then sprinted to get my shoes. This last part I didn't see or knew. I figured that she would get them and on the way back from the first out and back I would get them from her. She actually ran to the room, got my shoes and gave it to someone in bike support, gave him my number, the brand, color of my bike and kit I had on. He left immediately and she thought I would have my shoes soon. This person never found me. I was still hopeful that I would be able to get the shoes on the way back, before the second out and back. Which I rode the previous day and I knew was going to be he hilliest part of the course. http://instagram.com/conradrodas
The first 5 miles went by very quickly as I was insulting myself for being so dumb. Who forgets their shoes? At a World Championship race! Certainly someone that has never raced before...but that's not me. Once I had finished insulting myself, I started to feel a little pain in my feet, this is when Kyle passed me, he was riding fast, I still was able to recognize him and yelled at him to keep it up and kept riding strong. After another 10 miles all I could think of was getting to the turn around. I figured that if I got there the rest was going to be downhill, for the most part, except for the longest hill on the whole course. As I was getting closer to the turnaround I got to see the pros come back. They were so impressive that I almost wanted to stop and just watch them, this distracted me for another 10 minutes. During that time I saw the women pro and the lead pack of men in my age group, this gave me hope that I was very close to the turn around. I finally got to the turn around and as I was riding back I saw that there were still so many guys from my age group behind me, that made me happy. I was not last!
So how bad were my feet after the race? Surprisingly they were not too bad, just bruised and very sore. I am the type of person that really never bruises, so for me to have those marks it means that they had to go through a lot of pressure.
I am not happy with my mistake, but I'm very happy that I was able to finish. It was a great learning experience, being around all these excellent athletes. I can't wait to go back to another World Championship. Thank you for reading.