Thursday, December 3, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 5

After the race preview, I went back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. This Ironman spectating is hard work, and I needed to pace myself. And it wasn't even race day. Once refreshed, I headed out on Jamis the 3 miles from the hotel to the race site. I found a nice back road with bike lanes that added about a 1/2 mile to the trip, but was well worth it to stay off the big roads. Tempe is a college town, home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils.

Tempe is a college town, home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils. Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix though, so the college town vibe was mostly swallowed up by the suburban feeling. Because it was the week before Thanksgiving maybe, there really didn't seem to be a lot of students around. Maybe they'd already left on vacation? There were some benefits to Tempe- lots of bike lanes, which was especially nice considering there were 2500 triathletes, most of whom seemed to be trying to ride part of the bike course before race day. There was also a cool tram, though I ran out of time and didn't get to ride it. I love these things!

The campus area of Tempe is cute, lots of little shops, restaurants, and bars, all within walking distance of the race site. Had lunch at a cute little Greek place. And dinner was at P.F. Chang's, which was fine. They were able to sit all 16 of us with a reservation and the food was okay. Good times though, and all the athletes that came out were relaxed and excited for the next day, some even having a glass of wine! But we did have dinner at 5pm, so it was still a pre-race dinner!

One problem: I was having a hard time trying to wrap my head around living in the desert. I read a very good book years ago called Cadillac Desert, about the perils of living in the desert, far away from water, and all the problems getting water to the people living there. The dam building, and water rights fights, and the native desert being overrun by golf courses. And it's true, Phoenix is home to 200 golf courses! That's just a ridiculous waste of water in an arid environment. And I think the part that makes me the most angry was the amount of new development, high rises, and office buildings. A huge number of companies are moving to Phoenix from other states. It's one thing to try to make a living and adapt to the desert. This is completely different by purposely relocating hundreds of thousands of people to a place that is going to run out of water.

And it's not like I can't understand the beauty of the desert. Georgia O'Keeffe's pictures, and the beauty of the desolation. But the desert is supposed to be deserted! These people and these skyscrapers are not supposed to be here! Anyway, enough of that rant. I can't change it, might as well appreciate the good parts.

I rode back to the hotel on Jamis in the dark, though with my helmet, headlamp, and two blinkie lights, so yes, I was being safe, Mom (and PS, Happy Birthday!). I had a fitful night of sleep, and I wasn't even racing! Though it turns out, most of the other spectators did too. Maybe it's just practice for next year!

The next chapter starts Race Day: bodymarking...

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