To say that our weekend at the Ironman Triathlon was amazing doesn’t begin to describe it. I have never seen so many people putting forth so much effort to fulfill a dream. There were old and young alike with one goal ….just to complete a 140mile, 3 event competition. And I feel sooooo privileged to have been a small part of it.
Louisville was all decked out for it. Our hotel (on the left) was the host hotel where almost all the athletes stayed. There were racing bicycles on almost every elevator we rode in, and we were on the 17th floor just a few rooms down from John and Chris.
We got there Friday afternoon. The Triathlon wasn’t until Sunday, but Saturday, John had to ride the bike for 1/2 hour to practice. Then, we all took a ride in John and Chris’s car and followed the route of the 112 mile bike ride so John could get the “lay of the land”. Saturday afternoon John had to take his bike and bags to the bicycle transition area. This is where 3000 athletes transitioned after their swim to the bikes…
Each athlete packs a couple bags…one with clothes and another with water, snacks, Gatorade…whatever they might need 1/2 way through the ride. More about that soon. Above is John, oiling his bike chain just before he dropped it off at the transition area. Right is a picture of just SOME of the bikes parked there. Each bike has the athlete’s bib number on the bike in 3 different places. The bags also have their bib number on them, so when they show up to get their dry bike clothing after their swim, they give the volunteer helpers their number, and they get it for them….
Sunday morning, John got up at 5:15 AM and walked down the Ohio River to line up for the first leg of the Triathlon …the 2.4 mile swim.
There were 3000 swimmers lined up. John got in line about 6AM. The Triathlon swim began at 7AM, and we got there about 6:45AM. We finally found John amongst the green and pink (women) swim caps. FYI, the first swimmer got in the river at 7AM…John finally got to the river at 7:25AM…and there were lots more behind him. The athlete’s time begins when they get in the water. I have was most confident about the swim. He was on his high school swim team AND the Purdue University swim team.
When the athletes are done with the 2.4mile swim (part of it against the current)each athlete runs to get their bikes and dry clothes for the 112 mile bike ride…(SAY WHAAAAT?). We were kept active getting to spots where we could cheer John on. Luckily, Chris and Kelly had a phone app that told us what John’s times were and therefore we knew just about where we could see him on the route.. We saw him just after he transitioned to his bike. Then we jumped into Kel and Cindy’s car and drove 30 miles to see him go through LaGrange, KY…It was really hard get pictures of him, but we finally did get a good photo when he grabbed his bag at the “special needs” station. This is the half way point, where a gazillion volunteers are ready with the nutrition bags the riders packed. As they rode by, the athletes called out their bib number and a volunteer ran and got it…Some stopped here to use the port-a- potties..and while they were using them, the volunteer would hold onto their bikes for them…(nope..no kick stands on THESE bikes!) Did I mention that it was hot as Heck and the humidity was about 90%??? Even we supporters were soaked with sweat!
Above are the bags lined up by numbers…Everyone in orange was a volunteer…Right is our own Ironman athlete…GO WOLFFIE!!
After the 112 mile bike ride (which ends up back at the transition area), each athlete begins his 26.6 mile Marathon run….We figured we could catch John a couple times…We saw him at about mile three of his run, but it happened so fast we didn’t get a photo… Then we walked a couple more blocks to the 13 mile (halfway) point.. We were in time to see John run by…He spotted Chris and ran over, gave her a kiss, and kept on running. Yup, she cried.…The cut off time for finishing the Triathlon is midnight. After that…well…you were just out of luck.
So….here are John’s times……Keep in mind that 3000 people started the race and only 2095 finished.
John’s swim time for 2.4 miles was 55 minutes, 33seconds.
John’s bicycle time for 112 miles was 6 hours, 22 minutes, 29 seconds.
John’s Marathon time was 4 hours, 13 minutes,30 seconds.
Total time to do all of that was 11 hours, 50 minutes, 55 seconds….He came in 323rd out of 2095, finishing in the top 15%.Even making the Zionsville paper.NOT BAD FOR HIS FIRST TRIATHLON!!!!
And here is the Ironman John Wolff Support Crew after the race…with our hero…
JOHN WOLFF…..YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!