Yes, the expo gets its own report.
I started my Saturday morning by having my friend braid my hair. I like to have my hair braided for tri’s because it is one less thing for me to worry about in transition. I met up with my mom to drive to the expo together and this is where the adventure really begins.
I would like to say, before I go any further, that I have an excellent sense of direction and I often drive into Philadelphia. I have to say that because the story that follows will lead you to believe the EXACT opposite. I would also like to point out that I will never be able to do this story justice simply by telling it– for the most part it was a series of “you had to be there” moments, but I’ll do my best to convey the insanity. It could really be summed up with one word–FAIL–but I’ll tell the story anyway.
Right from the beginning, without thinking, I got onto the Besty Ross Bridge…the one bridge I am really not familiar with. Don’t ask me how this happened, but a few bad decisions and next thing I knew, I was headed BACK to Jersey via the Ben Franklin Bridge. So okay, that was frustrating but whatever, nothing that can’t be fixed. I made the executive decision to get back on via the Walt Witman because at this point why not take all three major bridges it is the bridge I am most familiar with and head over from there. Whew…finally in Philadelphia, going the right way, headed to the expo.
What else could go wrong……..except everything.
We take the exit off of 76, make a few turns and park. Once we get out of the car we don’t exactly see the expo so we ask someone who we think might also be looking for it. Turns out she is but she has NO IDEA what she is talking about and says we have to go around another street to park . I then make the WORST DECISION EVER, and for whatever reason decide to follow her. What follows is a series of events that led me to an emotional state in which I have not been in many years! I’ll spare you the details and just say that it involved being seriously lost for @ 40 minutes, a lot of tears, some yelling and me saying “I don’t even want to race, I just want to go home” a handful of times. Oh, and there were a lot of curse words. Eventually, with a little help from one of my teammates I was able to work my way back into the general area, but because I was so shaken and unsure of my whereabouts, I wasn’t confident I could get there. I kept thinking I was going the wrong way and it was only upsetting me more, so when I saw some cops sitting in a parking lot I pulled over and asked them for specific directions. I was pretty much a mess at this point and they were the nicest guys. And guess what…they gave me a police escort!!! So FINALLY we arrive at the site…and guess what….it was EXACTLY where we were before when we parked the first time before that lady gave me her crappy parking advice which I stupidly took and all that frustration could have been avoided.
But wait…it isn’t over yet. Nope, not yet. But what else could go wrong you ask?
Oh, not a whole lot except I almost crashed my car!!!! Yeah, not kidding. After the cop shows us where to park, I innocently ask “Can I make a U-turn here?”, you know, because it is illegal so I wanted to make sure. He says, “Yeah, go ahead, you’re fine.” So I go to make a U-Turn thinking that when he says I am fine he means there is no traffic. Yeah, that isn’t what he meant. Because as I make the said U-Turn I watch as a huge SUV comes directly toward the passenger side. My mom, also seeing this and fearing for her life is panicking and I am panicked and thinking for sure I am done for (you know, all while the cop is watching) and although I will never know how he managed, the drive of the SUV stopped. His reaction time was amazing! I apologized profusely and surprisingly he put his hand up as to say it was okay. No yelling…no cursing…nothing. Just said it was okay. But I still had to deal with the cop who I thought for sure was going to go from super nice to super ticketing. After I (safely) park, he pulls up and his first question is, “So what part of New Jersey are you from?” and I just laugh. He was really good about it and I feel really lucky. Lucky both because I got there safe and because he was really nice to me. And because we were FINALLY at the expo.
So yeah, the expo itself. Not a whole lot to report- picked up my packet, looked around in some tents and hung out with some teammates. We stayed for the pre-race meeting (which I always find super informative and worth my time), hung around for a little more and then drove home. I would like to happily report that the drive home was MUCH less dramatic than the drive there.
Here are some pics from the expo:
Michele and Larry Redrow; CGI Race Directors. I highly recommend their races- they are awesome people and they put on a fantastic race. They hold two races in NJ, one in PA and one in MD. Check em out!
In front of our tent- we were the host team 🙂
Next up….the actual race report!