We left for NOLA about 7 am Thursday and drove straight through. I like driving so it wasn't a big deal. It was about 10 hours of driving that took about 11 with stops.
|funny what you see while driving all day|
We stayed at the Intercontinental hotel just off the French Quarter. The hotel was nice but parking wasn't too convenient. We ended up doing the Valet thing which was expensive and meant tipping the car guys each time they retrieved the car. We aren't used to that living in wide open central Illinois. We didn't need the car often, except when hauling gear, and as you saw from my last post, I have a lot of it.
Thursday night we went and walked around the French Quarter. Very interesting place with lots of shops, restaurants, street entertainers, and unfortunately, homeless people.
|some of the many street entertainers|
|The Mississippi River by Jackson Square|
My SIL and BIL came too because they love New Orleans. My BIL is battling Pancreatic and now Liver cancer so it was really nice to see him out and about and getting stronger every day. It was also nice because my BIL use to be a hard core road bike rider/racer, so it's always nice to talk with someone that understands the physical and mental things that go on during race week.
Friday night we went to Dickie Brennan's Steak House and I had a blackened redfish over some sort of crawfish dish (and water). It was outstanding. Friday night I started going through my gear (checking it a third time) and I was noticeably nervous, almost jittery. Got a great night sleep.
Saturday we slept in then I met up with Ryan and Annie to go to the Athletes briefing. I also met fellow BTer Jennifer (Soccersandi00), her boyfriend Scott and two of their friends Mark and Tim. I'm pretty sure Tim and I traded places on the bike a few times Sunday before he put the hammer down, never to be seen again. After the briefing we went and got another shrimp Po' Boy for lunch, I was thinking I needed a "fueled by Po' Boys" jersey at that point :-).
After lunch we went to bike checkin, rode for 20 minutes or so to make sure everything was good, then bricked a short 15 minute run. All systems go! The weather wasn't too hot and very low humidity, but the wind was strong so we went to look at the water. Crap! 3 foot waves! I decided I needed to go out in that to get a feel for it. I've only swam in open water a half dozen times and never in chop like this. We went around the cove, since the official swim site wasn't open, and put on our wet suits. The water was pleasant and we waded out to where we had to swim. I swam for a few minutes trying to time my breathing with the waves and I didn't do too bad, but I did swallow a bit of water. I looked around for Ryan and couldn't see him. If we both were at the top of a wave at the same time, I could see him, otherwise I had no idea he was only about 15 feet away from me. Once I stopped swimming, I pretty much floated thanks to the wetsuit so I wasn't nervous about drowning or being able to swim, but I was nervous I would swallow a bunch of lake water and have it come back to haunt me on the bike or run. Oh well, it is what it is. I swam for another 10 minutes or so and called it a day. After that we headed back to the hotel.
|bike checkin, very small transition spaces|
|hard to see the waves further out|
Once back at the hotel, Cheryl and I went out for a nice pasta dinner. Everything I ate in New Orleans was fantastic. After that, I set the alarm for 4 am, Ryan and Annie were picking me up at 5 (Cheryl and Josh would come to the start a bit later).