by Sherwick Min and Jami Andrews, 3/4/01
As many of you are now aware, we did not have our expected results in yesterday's Ironman New Zealand. However, what you are not aware of is what we have been going through since we arrived here in Taupo, New Zealand on Tuesday.
When we got off the plane, we found that all 5 of our bags were not there. This included both bikes, race wheels and all of our swim/bike/run gear. From Tuesday until Thursday, we (and family members in the states) spent countless hours on the phones with airlines and airports but to no avail - they did not have a clue where our bags were. We were about to forego racing when we decided to go to the race director at Thursday night's pre-race banquet. We were hoping that he would extend the gear check-in in case our bags arrived. Instead, he put us in front of 1000 competitors and supporters and was able to gather all of our equipment from athletes and sponsors. So we spent the greater part of Friday getting fitted and trying out our borrorwed equipment. Orca supplied the wetsuits and trisuits, we bought brand-new running shoes (which we broke in with a 10-minute run) and we got the rest from other triathletes.
Late Friday, we found out that our bags were all still in LA and never made it to Fiji or Auckland. We tried Fed-Exing them ASAP but they would only arrive 3 hours after the race had begun. The race director was kind enough to give us special privileges to check our equipment in at the last moment 5AM race morning. Needless to say, we did not have good bike rides which lead to poor performances in the run.
However, we learned much about both travelling with our gear (always bring what you are wearing in the race as carry-on bags!) and why we do what we do. We were amazed at the generosity and camaraderie of the triathlon community and that we were able to race under such conditions.
See you all back home.
Sherwick & Jami
P.S. We got 4 of our 5 bags yesterday - one is still missing!