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Me and Bri in the Bahamas

Picture coming soon

AKA, when can I retire

The highlight of our Abaco Labor Day Triathlon weekend was following the Great Guana Key Ice Cream Man to Nippers Beach Bar on Great Guana Key on Sunday afternoon.

Now, he wasn't just any regular old ice cream man. He didn't drive a truck with a bell, or push a cart with all sorts of frozen goodies in it. No, sir. Not this ice cream man.

The Great Guana Key Ice Cream Man was something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The best way to describe him would be something like this:

"Follow me to Nippers!"
He said, always chippers!
"For I've ice cream to sell,
And all's very well!"

He tipped his black hat,
And meowed like a cat!
His feet were quite bare,
With no sandals to wear!

He marched on his way,
It was a bright day!
We followed along,
While he sang his song!

"I'm the Guana Key Ice Cream Man," he sang,
And I'll show you the way!
Buy a Sno-cone today!
And at Nippers you'll pay!"

For those of you familiar with Triathlon and it's many odd characters, try to picture the Coconut Man they encountered in Hawaii during the Ultraman last year. That fellow walked out onto the course wearing nothing but coconuts, palm fronds and a wild, goofy grin. The Guana Key Ice Cream Man is his long-lost brother.

I'm still not entirely sure if he was real or a figment of my overactive imagination, but Brianne and I did find our way to the Nippers. We met a few real life pirates (they had the skull and crossbones flying, after all), and then we went for a snorkel in crystal clear water to look for buried treasure.

All in all, the Abaco weekend was a great time. We flew in on Friday afternoon, in time to hang out with the gang for a little while before hitting the hay early Friday night to get a good night's sleep before the Great Abaco Triathlon.

The triathlon was fun, but difficult. Abaco is very hot in August, and even with a fair amount of cloud coverage, it remained hot and humid. Bahamian Otto Bell had the fastest run of the day and took his second Great Abaco Triathlon overall title, while Coca Cola series points leader John Reback took second. Linda Neary won her sixth Abaco triathlon in a row, and Sharon Good, racing in the 25-29 year age group, was the second woman overall.

In what seems to be typical fashion for me lately, I had a strong swim and bike and then faded on the run. I had just enough in the tank to hold onto third place over a fast charging Rob Skaggs.

Brianne also felt the effects of the Abaco heat, and she wilted badly on the run, usually her strongest leg.

A few athletes, like John and Caroline Humphreville, were unable to transport their bikes over for the race because of weight limits on their plane, but all were good sports about it and raced on beach cruisers.

But the fun really started with the finish of the race. Triathletes of all ages took over the pool at the Great Abaco Beach Resort on Saturday. The young played Marco Polo, Ping-pong, and other assorted games while the young-at-heart sat around the bar and traded triathlon stories.

The party on Saturday night was all you could ask for in an awards banquet. The Kalik was flowing, there was plenty of food for everyone, and all the award winners had their chance to shine.

And is anyone complaining about the awesome hats we got in our goodies bag? I didn't think so.

Sunday morning saw a few hardy athletes line up for the start of the Lean Cuisine Ocean Mile swim. Since I hadn't done any of the mile swims this year, I decided to give it a go. I had a good swim and came out first, with Rich Sumrall close behind. Caroline won the women's race, with Linda Neary hot on her heels. Brianne did the swim as well, and finished in around twenty-two minutes in her first open water mile. She also got her first taste of a jellyfish sting, but that's something we all go through in this sport.

Labor Day morning had us pack up our bags and, with a last whimsical look behind us, head to the airport for our return flight.

So if you're wondering what the Great Abaco Triathlon is like, and thinking about doing it next year, let me leave you with a few more Dr. Seuss-like words:

Abaco is neat, and Abaco is grand!
You can dig in the water and splash in the sand!
If you're of age, the Kalik is great!
And if you're not, there's food on your plate!
So get to the Islands, Mon, have some fun!
Who knows? You could wind up - Number One!

Marty Gaal