Slept solidly but still woke pretty early. Ravenous!
Packed up bike & baggage, called home then showered.
Met with my adopted family (Lloyd & Jane) and headed to the local IHOP!
BTW, let me introduce L&J. I have far too much in common with these guys, we have formed a good team out here and have comprehensively conquered the Oklahoma's dining scene.
Meet Lloyd & Jane - Kindred spirits!
If you have never been to an IHOP, it's totally American, totally no thrills and you are totally likely to be served by a girl called Tammy Lee. Despite the plain demeanour of this place, the food is sweet, calorific and more-ish. Went for variety & quantity and washed it all down with an unnecessary amount of coffee (with hazelnut sweetened milk of course). Cue the obligatory food pictures.
That hits the spot!
Best thing about an IHOP is its safety..... they make it very clear, your Kalashnikovs have to stay at home!
Belly full, we took the 'lovers canal' to the expo to attend the awards ceremony. It was a bit of a anti-climatic affair (perhaps that's a bit unfair - this whole ITU gig just doesn't compare with the Ironman theatre). It was a shame there wasn't a bit more time to showcase just how some of the AG battles went down.
The 45-50 mob
Nevertheless, medals were presented and photographs taken. GB did remarkably well for its relatively small representation.
Team GB's medalists
Bit of Bronze
From here, we all walked (shuffled.... apart from Lloyd, who following 3 bags of saline, could probably skip) to a local Mexican eatery, where nacho's, beers and sangrias were consumed.
Makeshift sharing table - just don't sit down!
I left the party early to visit the 'All about' one last time for coffee and pecan fudge cake (oh and a chicken wrap to go - to be consumed at the airport).
Gonna miss this stuff!
I said my goodbyes to the GB AG's and was taxied to the airport.
All pretty straight forward, delays on both flights and after every hour feeling like two, grabbed a bit of sleep & eventually made it to Heathrow T5 and the familiarity of the Audi's driver seat.
I had found it difficult to motivate myself for this race but unexpectedly came away with a bunch of experiences. The comradeship of team GB was very impressive, the support from BTF and Nirvana (company who put together the package) was thorough and efficient, the residents of Bricktown and the race officials were welcoming and the weather just magnified the race experience making the outcome all the more satisfying.
I was able to witness just how close we endurance athletes are willing to fly to 'the Sun' in pursuit of personal physical fulfilment. Lloyd's efforts, instincts and stark demonstration of 'fight or flight', most likely made the difference between hospitalisation and being able to skip down that canal path. - Looking forward to training soon Lloyd and seeing you crack the Kona nut.
Let the blisters heal, get some comfy run shoes, stay strong, eat well and devise a long term plan to return to Kona....