I haven’t been to California for a long time, too long, and I have been excited to race The Big Kahuna, a half-iron distance triathlon that’s on my bucket list for years. Then, that CT scan i had two weeks ago showed a mass in my chest. Luckily, my cancer doc had no problem with pushing surgery back a week so I could make this trip. One more reason I love her; because if she’s not worried or in a hurry for me to go under the knife, then neither am I. It’s a weird sense of security her “OK” gave me.
Someone along the way had told me it was only a nine hour drive to Santa Cruz…. Nine, twelve… why quibble over a few extra (200) miles in the car? So off we headed, at 4:30 am, sleepy (because when you have to get up early, you wake up wide awake, every 45 minutes, all night long. Then your alarm will wake you up in the middle of your only cycle of REM sleep.) We were rewarded for our early departure by getting to the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats just as the sun was coming up. If you’ve never seen this natural wonder, it’s well worth the trip. I’ve actually been here for the races and its an amazing thing to behold. We saw a nitrous oxide-fueled motorcycle go nearly 300 miles an hour. (It was probably also a scream to all those people to see me wheeling my hybrid Lexus SUV around on the salt. It took many washes to get the white gritty sticky salt off.)
The drive was fairly uneventful. In fact, it was completely uneventful. I did, however, make some observations about road travel through three of our great Western states. I will now share them with you, as illustrations, with snarky captions.
But since we’ve arrived in Santa Cruz (12 hours of driving later), it’s been perfecto. Our pre-race swim in the ocean was cold , but doable. After your hands, feet, and face go numb, it’s all ok. I did have a slight freak out about sharks, which prompted an abbreviated swim, where I hightailed it back to shore, leaving Patrick hundreds of yards out, wondering where I was. In my defense, I did keep my wetsuit on while I watched him come in, jus in case I had to go back out and save him. (P.S. All we saw were seals.) The temperature is perfect, our little rented bungalow is in a great location, and we have found some great places to eat, including the Pie Ranch. But that’s for another post.