Monday, June 9, 2008

The Redondo Beach Triathlon--Glory Doesn't Come Easy

Redondo Beach

Maybe it's because I've been training so hard for IMCDA.

Maybe it's because I raced until I thought I was going to puke.

But when I mounted the podium in 2nd place at the Redondo Beach Triathlon yesterday morning, I was pissed.

Because I had won.

This is not the first time WB Productions screwed up the timing at this event. Two years ago, they tried to give the overall male titles to some adolescent boys who had done a shorter kid's course and therefore had faster times than the adults.

So when the rightful 2nd place winner and I stepped up on the podium in 2nd and 3rd, we were confused. We'd been checking times. I knew I had beat everyone 39 and under. I waited for the results from the next wave, and the fastest time was behind mine. So what happened?

The woman who mounted the podium in first, who "didn't know" she had won, wandered on up there, accepted her award, then went back to the grass to sit with her boyfriend. I was pissed. 2nd place was pissed. My friends were pissed.They approached the timing people first.

WB Productions said they'd been having problems with this woman (and their entire timing format) from the beginning. She had gotten body marked with the wrong number, didn't wear a race belt for the run, then told the officials when she crossed the finish line that her number was the one marked on her body.

So you're going to give this woman, whom you've been having trouble with all morning, the overall title? A woman, no less, who was in my wave--the wave in which nobody passed me during the entire race!? I think not.

But what's a girl to do? My moment of reigning glory had already been busted (coachubby and I won together last year). Do I walk over to this woman and tell her to fork over my medal so I could give the 2nd place medal to the rightful owner? This dodo is sitting pretty in the grass with my medal, my winner's schwag, and her boyfriend, whom I recognize from the LA Triathlon Club, is stroking her hair.

What a wanker. The boyfriend, that is.

There is no way this guy doesn't know she didn't win. If he was cheering at all, he'd know she didn't even come close to crossing the finish line first. He was probably behind this whole little scam.

My friends approached her and brought her over to the timing people. Coachubby asked her if she thought she went the time they had listed for her.

"What's the time they said I went?" she asked, completely unaware they had even announced it.

"46 minutes."

She holds up her watch--the one she used to time herself during the race. It says 57 minutes.

"No, I don't think so." She appeared genuinely dense. Like she just didn't get it. Like she would just go around stealing her overall age group medal and the overall medal and the stuff that comes with them and go sit back down with her boyfriend--who wouldn't tell her she didn't earn these things at all--and never know the difference.

The timing people took back the medals, and they were redistributed at the end when nobody was left--the most anticlimactic end to a successful day of defending the overall title.

And, of course, the dense woman did not return any of the stuff they gave her for "winning". Just the medal.

After working so hard to make my little moment of glory happen I couldn't believe that (a) someone could be so dense, and (b) that the LA Triathlon Club member stroking her hair could let that happen. He knew better. Perhaps it was his race number she told the timing people at the end. And (c) that the timing people could screw up the times that much. I was the first female to cross the finish line, and it was so freaking cool. It was even the first time my little brother had ever seen me race. That dope was 31, meaning she was in my wave, meaning she didn't win.

So maybe it's because I've been training so hard. Or because I was so excited to have defended my title as champ of a little local sprint race, which means more to me than it probably should. But yesterday when my moment was stolen, instead of being calm and rational as usual, I turned into a real Diva with a capital D. I was ticked. And though my title was restored, the whole situation demanded that I be somewhat of a diva, or else that dense lady and her complicit hair-stroking boyfriend would've walked off with my medal, and the women's 30-34 age group medal, which another woman surely ran her guts out to win.

Today, as a result of a threefold conspiracy between a ditz, an LA Tri jerk beefcake, and a terribly disorganized timing company, I feel happy that I won, but supremely rotten that I had to defend my title verbally. That's why I do triathlon. It's physical. It's simple. Winning should be as simple as stepping on the finish mat before everyone else. Maybe WB Productions should make a note of that.

P.S. The race itself was absolutely fabulous. It ran smoothly, and was super fun. More on the actual race later.

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