Rick and I are trying to expand endurophoto.com to cover more than just the Austin area endurance events. With that in mind, I was sent to cover a “small” and “scenic” triathlon in Tyler, well, outside Tyler in Whitehouse, Texas.
I decided to drive up to Dallas Friday night to hang with my cousins, Justin and Beverly. We had planned to take in a Rangers game, but the deluge of September rain prevented that from happening. We headed out to a restaurant named Celebration where they definitely celebrate food. The 5 hour drive in a rain soaked and swollen river Central Texas, I was ready to eat. So I put down 4 pork chops, salad and two bowls of fried okra, with a help of chicken and sausage gumbo to start. Good thing as the next morning proved.
I couch crashed at Justin’s townhouse Friday night with Milo and Sammy, boston terrier and rescue cat. Alarm went off at 5am, and I was out the door by 5:20am to drive the 100 miles to Whitehouse without breakfast or rain gear. oops.
Figured at some point along the way I would stop at a Wal Mart or something to grab some ponchos and a taco or something. Hit up the CVS in Tyler for the ponchos, but forgot about food as I was stressing about finding the event site.
Got the Jetta parked on a side road, skies had cleared up momentarily. So I got my gear to quick scout the course. The race starts on the spillway which is kinda cool, but this year the water line was 50 feet lower than the year before. So that made things a little treacherous. I was shooting candids on the dam when the skies opened and turned into 7-11. (they never closed)
Quickly I placed the poncho over me and my camera, and headed to a dry place with the rest of my gear. I made the decision that the strobes would not be making an appearance today due to mud, muck, wind and water.
I figured out that I could shoot T1 from the awards tent, I got some nice separated backgrounds from here, the best compromise I could find. I kept hoping that the rain would stop for the finish line photos.
Once the swimmers came through, I headed over to the finish area (the bike course was an impossibility to photograph with just me, too many participants) with an umbrella in my left hand and camera in my right.
This allowed me to zoom. The problem was, my preferred placement of runner and finish signage was altered because I had a big honkin umbrella in the way of the runners. I was forced to shoot off angle a little.
From here on the race went well, got the finishers coming across the line, cleaning my front lens element profusely.
On the drive home, I took a new road home, Texas SH 31. Very pretty drive, lots of cool small towns.
Yeah for endurance athletes, volunteers and rain!