On the sidelines. Really on the sidelines.

While I was away in the US I did my first triathlon as a spectator / supporter in a long while.

My friends CJ and BJ were doing the Bigfoot Triathlon - CJ the sprint and BJ wasn't mucking around - he'd gone straight for the standard distance as a warmup for his first 70.3 a few weeks later.

Many of my friends back home wondered how I'd go just standing on the sidelines. Well, here's my "race report".

The first step in a triathlon - apart from entering and training - is picking up your race pack.  We did this on Friday afternoon and it was all smiles (albeit a bit of a nervous smile).

We went through all the race related bits and pieces - bib number, bike number, timing chip. CJ was starting to realise how technical this whole triathlon thing actually is!

I spent Saturday morning making supporter signs. The green one for BJ who was worried about his swim (but bulletproof for everything else). The pink one was for CJ who was worried about everything.

On Saturday afternoon we drove up to the race venue. You couldn't ask for better conditions than this for your first triathlon swim. Fresh, flat water and a well marked course. (The 180 degree turn at the end really should have been attended to though.)

We drove over the bike course, found it had a few rises in it, so I talked  CJ through how to use her gears. My other words of wisdom - "if you have to get off your bike and push it up a hill, it's no big deal." I told her about the time I pushed my bike up a hill in a race, at Port Macquarie. We've all been there.

On race morning, all smiles again. We parked and the guys got their race equipment out of the car.

OK make that "race equipment and hand bags". When I told CJ I didn't think she'd be needing her handbag, she ignored me completely and took it into transition to set up anyway. I don't know, I 'm not much of a handbag carrier. Maybe those things really are like tardises and she had her wetsuit and running shoes hidden away inside?

Blair, of course, was the picture of confidence.

He even had time to make some new friends and eat their pizza.

We had plenty of time to get all organised, including portaloo stops (they call them portapotties over there) before heading down to the race start and into wetsuits.

The Americans have a real sense of occasion. Even at a local triathlon, the national anthem is played, and everyone stands, hat in hand and hand on breast. In Australia we all sing along, but not in the US.

I tried my best to coordinate seeing everyone out of the swim and on to the bike, anxiously awaiting everyone again as they passed through at the end of the bike. I stood out with my fluro signs and I got cheers and waves from not only CJ and BJ, but their training friends, the pizza guys, and a bunch of random strangers.

My last feat of coordination was positioning myself to catch CJ off coming in off the bike, and racing up to the other side of transition to cheer her out onto the run leg. From there it was just the wait to see her cross the line, pick up her medal and finisher's pack of goodies.

All of the training crew were happy with their efforts - as they should be for four first timers. There's nothing better than finishing your first triathlon. You're one from one and have set your first PB.

I will admit, it was just a little bit strange not pulling people up for breaching the rules but so, so rewarding to just be there and help my friend achieve a goal.

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