Thursday night A, her boy toy, and I headed to my parents about half way from Cleveland to Benton Harbor. We got in around 11 and went straight to bed. I unfortunately didn't sleep very well. I woke up about every hour all night and finally gave up on sleeping around 7 AM.
I made some pancakes and coffee and we had breakfast with my parents before heading to Benton Harbor.
The drive was pretty uneventful other than one area of construction. We arrived at the hotel around 1:20. No rooms were available yet so we went to the race expo. We were going to ride first but it was really hot so we decided to just get our race packets and try out our wetsuits in the lake. We got in line right behind Iron Shelley. I wasn't sure it was her but I saw her fill out her USAT form and said hello. We would be seeing her for dinner so we let her get on her way, she had family waiting!
We got our stuff and purchased the race cycling jerseys. Not sure if I am going to like it but A and I like to match when we work out together so we both got one.
We changed into our wetsuits (this took much longer than it should have) and hopped in the lake to test them out. It was absurdly warm. I did not feel comfortable in the wetsuit at all. I was secretly hoping they would ban the wetsuits so I wouldn't have to make any decisions about wearing it the next morning.
Met DJ and his wife as we were headed to the showers. Talked a bit before going to ride and rack our bikes.
We got back to the cars and realized we didn't have much time to get over to dinner. We did a quick 1 mile bike ride to test all our gears and racked our bikes in transition.
Headed over to the hotel and got checked in and showered then it was off to the restaurant for dinner with the blog crowd.
It was nice meeting everyone (as always!) we were all a mix of nerves and excitement. I had a very hard time containing myself. It was very fun talking with all these other people who understood exactly how you felt without you having to say a word. My family also came to the restaurant and ate at a table next to the blog crowd, it was fun having them there. My mom and dad truly are my biggest fans and they try to make it to all of my major races. As a special treat my aunt and uncle also came out to cheer me on. I felt very loved.
Dinner was over much too soon, we took some pics and headed on our way.
Our hotel room only had a king bed so my cousin had sent an air mattress along with my parents for us to use so we got that from my dad before heading to Walgreen's to stock up on the race necessities, sunscreen, gatorade, and water.
Once we got back to the hotel we had to inflate the air mattress in the parking lot because the air pump didn't have a plug adapter. We felt pretty silly hauling the full air mattress into the hotel but we had fun documenting the whole thing.
Once setup in the room we got all of our stuff around. A and her boy toy went for a walk while I called David and rinsed off our wetsuits.
We finally got everything set with a last run through of the checklist. T read off the checklist as A and I both put everything into our bags confirming that we weren't forgetting anything. Once everything was squared away I set the hotel alarm, my watch alarm, and ordered a wake up call. Around 11 we finally got to bed.
Pics from before the race below! More to come soon!