I had been doing some swimming during the tax season at the gym near where I work so I thought I would try some of those events along with the cycling. Injuries had terminated my running some years back but I thought I would see if maybe I could hold it together to do at least a couple of events. Pistol shooting looked good too because I can get plenty of practice on the farm. Even though I hadn’t played much table tennis in many years I thought I’d throw that in to have something to do on Tuesday.
About a month before the competition I went to the track, ran 400 meters at ¾ speed, a 100 about the same and then tried another 400. Just as I was finishing the second 400 I felt a hamstring pull in my right leg. I immediately quit, waited a couple of weeks and tried again. This time it pulled really badly and I knew that was it for the track.
The swimming had been going well until a few days before the competition. The breaststroke is my best event and as I was getting in a final practice there was a young buck in the pool who looked really good. When he tried the breaststroke of course I had to jump in and try to stay with him. And I’ll be danged if I didn’t pull a groin muscle in my other leg. It wasn’t too severe and I figured I could swim just doing a weak kick relying on my arms and shoulders to carry the load.
When I showed up for the ping pong competition I knew I had made a miscalculation. I mean these guys were serious players! It had been so long since I had played not only had the way you score changed but the size of the ball had too. Of course everyone but me had there own paddle. One of the competitors was gracious to loan me one from his arsenal. Actually when I wasn’t returning a serve I didn’t completely embarrass myself but trying to return serves with all kinds of spins was much more than I could handle. To make things even more embarrassing I won (was given) a gold medal because I was the only one in my age group.
Wednesday was the pistol shooting so I show up at the range with my old H&R revolver amongst the competitors with their fancy and expensive semi-automatic target pistols. On top of that the range was so dark I had trouble seeing. This story has a happy ending though because in spite of all that I not only won my age group in the stock competition but had the third highest score overall. I’m now shopping for a target pistol.
Thursday was an off day for me (no competitions) and Friday morning was the swim competition. I signed up for the 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststrokes along with the 50 meter freestyle. My leg was still bothering me but not nearly as much as it was after I finished all the events. They combined the age groups for the actual races and used times to determine the age places. Here again, for some reason, I was the only one in my age group but there was a guy 4 years younger than I am who was a real swimmer. He kicked my butt in every event until the last one which was the 50 meter breaststroke. With a Herculean effort I clipped him by 3 hundredths of a second. However, to be fair, he had swum one or two more events than I had although he was able to coast because he had no real competition.
The cycling was Friday afternoon and the event was a 10K time trial. Time trialing is the weakest phase of my cycling ability but due to lack of competition again I won that. The only person to beat me overall was a friend from Sandpoint 5 years younger who is a world class cyclist.
So I bagged 7 gold medals which I believe was the most of any participant. Now the grandkids will be getting something to use for target practice or Xmas ornaments. M/W