Welcome to the Conch Republic

Seeing that this was the first thing I saw when I walked off the plane at the Key West airport:


I think it’s fitting I give a little history lesson first. For all I know this may be well-known American trivia for people, but I’m not ashamed to admit that this was never covered in any of my math classes. According to Wikipedia (is there another source out there for fact-checking??):

The Conch Republic is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city since. Since then, the term “Conch Republic” has been expanded to refer to “all of the Florida Keys, or, that geographic apportionment of land that falls within the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County, Florida, northward to ‘Skeeter’s Last Chance Saloon’ in Florida City, Dade County, Florida, with Key West as the nation’s capital and all territories north of Key West being referred to as ‘The Northern Territories’.

So, there you go. Learn something new everyday.

When I walked into this “airport”….also could be described as one conveyer belt and a bar….I have to say I had my concerns that I would be seeing my bag or my bike today. That’s the ultimate problem with only being able to travel the day before a race – if your bike never arrives….no race for you! Lucky for me both my bike and my bag arrived. The process getting to the hotel was also pretty seamless. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time in all of my racing that I have opted to stay at the ‘host hotel’ for a race. Usually I prefer to try to steer clear of athlete-central as much as I can and just do my own thing. But, since it was a quick trip and staying there would help with logistics, it was a no-brainer.

I managed to build my bike pretty quickly and spent some time riding out on the bike course. Very Clearwater and Eagleman-esque, this is going to be the quintessential flat-and-potentially-really-fast-depending-on-the-winds bike course. It was really gusty out there today, and tomorrow looks like more of the same. I have to say though – there’s nothing quite like having the wind at your back on a flat Florida highway with this off your shoulder:

KY2(Yes, I’ve been doing some instagramming in my spare time today!)

After the ride I rode down to transition area, where I left my bike and grabbed lunch at the nearby restaurant. I am definitely looking forward to some post-race beach time here tomorrow!

KY1 KY3The last thing on my list was an easy shakeout jog (about 3 miles back to the hotel), and I got a taste of what tomorrow will be like on the run. I didn’t head down to downtown Key West yet, I am hoping to save that excitement for the run tomorrow in case I need a boost in that last 5k 🙂

There are a few things I would love to try while I am in Key West but I am not sure if I am going to have the time! For example, a friend of mine told me that she went on a fishing trip on one of the FKF offshore charters here and she had the best time seeing all the amazing fish. Maybe next time!

Anyway, my final excitement of the day turned out to be the hotel fire drill. You know how you always wonder what you’d grab if there was a fire? Well, apparently I’d grab my room key, my wallet, and my phone. Not bad.

There is supposed to be race day tracking at this link, so feel free to follow along tomorrow! I am bib #401.

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa Godesky is a professional triathlete & coach.

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