Next in the starting gate we have the Bisbys, who are taking part in the MBT for the first time. Veterans of the Big White Marathon, the Great Wolf Lodge Ultra-Marathon and the Disney World Ultra-Ultra-Marathon, this foursome is more than familiar with the funnel cake-fuelled highs and expired sunscreen-induced lows of the NFVL.
Today's swim leg consists of three elements: Wave Hurdles, the Lazy River, and the Hot Tub Time Trial. Conditions here on the Grand Strand, the 90-kilometre-long stretch of gorgeous white sand upon which Myrtle Beach sits, are ideal for today's competition: Winds are out of the southwest at 4 knots, humidity sits at a comfortable 48 per cent, and water temperatures range from 78 degrees F in the Atlantic to 101 degrees F in the hot tub.
And they're off! All four Bisbys are charging toward the surf, which in Myrtle Beach is neither too large to intimidate youngsters nor too small to be dismissed as "sooooo lame." Dad clears the first breaker with ease, his legs churning, his arms windmilling, his board shorts struggling to stay in place. Two inches lower and that would be a major deduction! The two Bisby daughters dive in next and...wait for it...there it is: The trademark high-frequency scream that strikes fear into the hearts of NFVL athletes everywhere. Last but not least comes Mom, whose penchant for "easing in" is immediately shattered by a frothy rogue wave. We'll see that again on the highlights at 11!
They're all in the water now, and here come the scores: A 9.1 from the Norwegian judge, 8.4 from the Russian...yes, the Bisbys have to be pleased with a combined score of 8.7. (They must also be pleased with their ludicrously cheap Spirit Airlines direct flight out of Niagara Falls International Airport. $580 Canadian, round-trip, for a family of four? You're not in Canada anymore, Bisbys...)
Now they're out of the saltwater and sprinting, gazelle-like, toward the Lazy River in the Carolina Winds condo complex. These ring-shaped pools are everywhere around here; it's a good thing Team Bisby did their homework and picked one with plenty of fully-inflated inner-tubes and a steady current.
The kids are out in front as usual, with Mom a few tube-lengths behind and Dad bringing up the rear. He's really struggling back there with his undersized tube. All the girls have now completed the circuit and are waiting by the pool stairs. If Dad doesn't hurry his performance will surely be dubbed an "epic fail," but here he comes and, yes, he's out of the water after some heroic flailing.
A hush falls over the crowd lining the pool deck as the squad approaches the hot tub. After spending exactly 7.42 hours on the beach yesterday, the same question is on everyone's lips: Did Team Bisby tan, or did they burn?
Down the stairs they go! The sunscreen clearly missed a few spots, what with all the gritting of teeth in the hot, frothy water. But the Bisbys are nothing if not resilient, and in just a few more seconds Leg 1 of the Myrtle Beach Triathlon will be in the books.
Five, four, three, two, one...and there you have it! Team Bisby is through to the second leg: The Putt.