My Trip to Switzerland as Part of Team USA
See the race results!
What I want to say first is that it has been such a privilege to represent my country in this amazing event! It is an experience I will never forget!! About 30 minutes before we were scheduled to leave for the airport my husband asked me to come in to the garage to help him with something. To my surprise there were about 20 of my friends there with big posters, yelling for me and cheering for me to do great in my big race. I could not believe they all were here on a school day in the pouring rain – and some of their middle school daughters who hadn’t started school yet were there too. WOW! I am so lucky to have friends like these.
Then we started on our trip to the airport with Asha and Aliya (my youngest girls) in tow. They were so excited to get going and see their grandparents in Virginia. We were leaving them with my parents, Jane and Jack Underhill, who live in Falls Church, VA. Our trip to Dulles Airport was uneventful and my parents were there to welcome the girls. We treated them to dinner in the airport and got the waitress to take our picture before Jude and I left.
The trip from D.C. to Paris took off at about 11pm. I thought it was perfect to leave at that time of day, but unfortunately it did not help me sleep at all on the plane. – There were two kids shouting in the row in front of us almost the whole trip, playing video games with each other until at least 4am. My husband Jude had no trouble sleeping as usual – I think he could sleep on a pile of rocks if he were tired enough. As we were getting ready to land, the plane was eerily quiet – the two boys were finally asleep. I felt like shouting in their ear and poking them, but the Mom in me could not resist their angelic faces (all kids are cute when they are sleeping).
In Paris we got off the plane and made our way to the correct gate. I was a little delirious from lack of sleep, but the excitement of the trip kept me going. We even had time for a cute self-portrait in the airport. It’s there that we met Becky Keller – I pegged her as a triathlete right away. The helmet on the outside of her backpack was a dead giveaway, but she walked like an athlete and looked very fit. It was her first World Championship as well, and just her second Olympic distance race (her first was Nationals).
After the connection to Geneva, Deepak Patel was there from Premium Plus Sports to welcome us and show us to the bus that would take us to the hotel. I was so impressed how well the packing of the bus went with all those bike boxes and everyone’s luggage. We enjoyed the 40-minute bus ride to Lausanne. I could not believe how beautiful the countryside was – my digital camera actually got a few decent shots through the bus window as we were speeding by. Getting checked in to the hotel was also smooth, and our room was much bigger than expected. The weather in Lausanne was also fantastic! The week before it was forecasted as 60% chance of rain, but we did not see ANY of that – just balmy 70’s and blue skies.
The next day we had some team meetings and a picture, then the Parade of Nations. This was one of my favorite parts of the week because you got to see athletes from all 68 countries walking behind their country flag. The guys holding our flag were amputees with prosthetics. They had their own race before us on Saturday – what amazing people who obviously think outside the box – WAY OUT! After the parade was the pasta dinner at a huge tent near the race site. I have never seen so many hungry athletes in one place, and the stampede that happened when they told us we could stand in line was CRAZY! I think we stood in line for about 40 minutes before eating! We had a great time at the table after getting the food though. We sat with our new friend Becky Keller , her roommate Maribeth Yost , and a couple from Colorado – Leah Larson and Matt. Jude and I were glad to catch them at the end of dinner for a picture.
Race day was finally here, and unlike any other race I have done, I actually got to sleep in as late as I wanted to. My wave didn't start until 4:15pm - luckily the Texas heat didn't follow us to Lausanne, so this was a PERFECT time to start. After eating my usual pre-race peanut butter and banana sandwich about 1:30pm, Jude and I headed down to the race site. During the race I could honestly say I was going as hard as I could at every moment! The toughest part was the mile of barefoot running in transition, and the hilly, technical bike, but overall it was a fantastic race. I was so thankful to get through the race with no flat tires or bike crashes (my last three races had at least one of those)!! I went hard on the run, but the bike really set me back several places. Thanks so much to my friend Mary Miller, my coach Siri Lindley, my husband Jude, and Tim Yount from USAT for screaming for me every lap!! They really kept me going through the pain. I was hoping for a top 3 finish, but it just wasn't my day.
After the race Jude and I really enjoyed getting to know some of the other athletes, and taking some pictures of beautiful Lausanne, including a “smart car” with a cool paint job. My favorite site was the Olympic Museum, where we saw all sorts of signed Olympic memorabilia and learned about the history of the Olympics. On Sunday we loved seeing the women's elite race, and meeting a local family who lived on one of the streets on the bike course. On Sunday evening we went to the final banquet and talked to several members of the Canadian Team and some of our team at dinner. Next year I look forward to Hamburg, Germany after another year of hard training! I am excited for the challenge ahead.