May 22, 2024
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May 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Once bike mechanic Gordon Green converted a bike case of spare parts into a triathlon racing bike, I began the process of powering up the electronics like a scene from Apollo 13 … and the internal batteries were DEAD!

(How bad was that?)

Not as bad as if I had forgotten to pack the system charging cable and the wall adapter.

(You did remember, didn’t you?)

Of course, I did. What do you take me for?

(Not answering that,)

With my bike “Friday” hooked up to life support, it was off to the center of town to visit the Ironman Village for packet pick up and a stop at the “merch” tent.

(Merch?)

Merchandise. Forgot the fact that my 16 year old son Eric decided to start collecting snow globes from every stop we made in Europe; He wanted to see if Ironman makes snow globes.

(Do they?)

No, they do not.

After my first Ironman triathlon, I switched the focus of these weekends from “David’s Race” where everything revolved around me to the “Roher Family Vacation” with traveling and sightseeing and shopping and a race on Sunday while my family does more shopping. The kids are so happy with this that they want me to do more Ironman triathlons.

(Didn’t you hold up a sign that said you are never doing another Ironman triathlon?)

No comment.

My entire family loves collecting Ironman merch. Usually, they just want a new T-shirt or coffee mug, but you could literally show up and buy every piece of racing equipment here that you would need to race an Ironman triathlon.

(Not that you have ever forgotten something at home?)

No comment.

Packet pick up takes place on Friday and Saturday, so I do that on Friday. In the States, you show up with your driver’s license, your USAT membership card and the confirmation email from Ironman.com. In Europe, you need to purchase a Triathlon Racing License. Point your phone at this QR code, follow the prompt, type in your credit card info and download your newest certification. Once that was done, I headed straight to the volunteers at the packet pickup table.

“Here is your swim cap, your bike stickers and your wristband. The swim cap goes on your head, bike stickers on the front and side of your bike and your helmet. The wrist band ensures that we only let you remove your bike from bike check out after the race is over.” The volunteer then placed all this in my complementary Ironman United Kingdom backpack.

(Wait, is it “complementary” or “complimentary”?)

The former, the latter is to say something nice about someone or something.

Back at the hotel, it was time to take the bike for a shakedown ride. As much as I trusted bike mechanic Gordon Green, I needed to feel the gears shift while I pedaled on the open road.

I looked at the bike computer display and it said, “Shifting System Battery Critical.”

(Noooo!)

If I can’t shift my bicycle gears, I won’t finish the race in time.

My mother’s mantra is “It’s not brain surgery, don’t panic.”

I hit the rest buttons and held my breath … and the battery strength became 100%.

Riding around Bolton was lovely. There were cobblestone streets, boutique shops, friendly locals and a local bus I almost smashed into because I was riding on the wrong side of the road.

I was so focused on how the bike was handling that I failed to notice that I was pedaling straight towards the “local.”

(Zev Darak did warn you not to ride on the wrong side of the road.)

Fortunately, bicycles can make split second, hairpin turns. After the ride, I thought of the words of Kermit the Frog from the very first Muppet movie, The Great Muppet Caper, “It’s a good thing frogs can jump, or I’d be gone with the Schwinn.”

We had our family dinner at 7 p.m. and made Shabbos at candle lighting … which was 9:45 p.m.

There is something relaxing about spending a Shabbos in a hotel where you weren’t part of say, a Passover program. Yes, you need to deal with the electronic room door.

(Duck tape.)

You can’t heat up your food…

(Lox and cream cheese on challah rolls. Dips and salads from the kosher supermarket.)

…but you are in a climate controlled environment where your biggest worry will be if housekeeping turns off your room lights when you take a walk.

Shabbos, I slept late. I davened in the room. I read in the lobby where I was able to charge café mocha after café mocha to the room…

(That’s a diuretic. Weren’t you supposed to be hydrating?)

Yup…just another decision that was not going to end well for me on race day.

With Shabbos ending at 11:04 p.m. and the race starting at 6 a.m. I had to work fast and get to sleep for a 3 a.m. wake up.

(3 a.m.???)

The transport to the race start was leaving at 4 a.m. and I wanted to eat before I left the hotel.

My watch said that I fell asleep at 11:30, which is great.

(How was four hours of sleep great?)

I usually get less than that on race day.

(So…you consider that a full night’s sleep???)

Yup. I mean, I woke up feeling rested…

(Remember children, do not try this at home.)


David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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