My friend Doug is an Ironman. Not the superhero, but an actual triathlete who is competing in the California Ironman event this weekend in Sacramento. California is Doug’s home state, but I’m betting that he has never experienced it like this before. For those of you who are more armchair athletes than superheroes in lycra, let me recap what is involved in the Ironman triathlon.
Firstly, Doug will swim 3.9km. Yes, really. Starting in the American River, which then joins the Sacramento River – I imagine it would be lovely in a boat or even a kayak, but am not sure that Doug and his 3,000 mates racing down the river will be in the mood for sightseeing.
After that refreshing dip, the Ironmen find their bikes (imagine the logistics of 3,000 bikes parked ready for the tired swimmers to locate), with an outfit change to carry them from the water to the pedals. Then it’s just your average Sunday bike ride, guys. 180.2km that sounds delightful on the official website: “two-loop tour of the beautiful farm and wine country” of the Sacramento River delta region. Apparently “athletes will tour what makes Sacramento the farm to fork city, which will showcase the great agricultural region of the Central Valley”. Almost sounds like competitors should bring a baguette and wheel of brie to pop in the wicker baskets they must surely have on their road bikes as they savour the journey!
And then, as you leave your bike somewhere in yet another logistical feat of event management, you head off for a run. I should say, A MARATHON. Yep, 42.2km along the Sacramento River, old town, some “tree-lined paved trail” and then ending with a couple of laps around the California State Capitol building.
I will be tracking my friend Doug like a stalker via the very cool “Ironman Tracker” app. Given the time difference between California and Sydney, Doug will be starting at around 1am our time and suggests that he will “hopefully be done with the swim and bike” by the time his supporters in Sydney wake up. Perfect timing for me to track his marathon run over a coffee and cheer Doug on with one of his favourite cinnamon scrolls from the amazing bakery near where we both live on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Now that I think of it, baked goods are a cornerstone of our friendship. When I messaged Doug during the week to see if he was carb loading in preparation for the race, he mentioned that his Mom was helping with his prep. With these amazing looking Halloween sugar cookies, of course. Seasonally appropriate and full of energy and colourful goodness that every Iron-man, woman and child needs.
Good luck, my friend! Stay safe and may the sugar cookies you trained with fuel you with the wisdom of owls, the wingspan of bats, and the ability to roll like a pumpkin to the finish line. Go Doug, go!