Margaret Valair, age 65, SaddleBrooke winter resident and snowbird from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, completed Ironman California in Sacramento on Sunday, Oct. 22. Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. Athletes are allowed 17 hours in an Ironman event to complete all three disciplines. Over 2,000 athletes participated in the event.
The Ironman triathlon starts with the swim. A very chilly, barely 60-degree American River welcomed athletes at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. The American River flows into the Sacramento River (two degrees colder), and the swim ended on the banks of that river as athletes struggled up ramps to their waiting bicycles. The bike ride was a two-loop course of a beautiful area south of Sacramento. The beauty, however, was largely ignored, as rain poured down for over half the bike ride and, coupled with a cool wind, made for an uncomfortable ride. The run, the third and final leg of a triathlon, was not to be outdone weather-wise. At one point, .8 of an inch of rain fell in 10 minutes, causing flooding and muddy conditions along the marathon route, and the rain did not let up. The final four miles of the run circled Capitol Mall and ended at the Capitol Building.
Despite horrible conditions, Margaret earned her “You Are an Ironman” title as she crossed the finish line, as well as her finisher’s medal, hat, and T-shirt. Congratulations!