What could bring me back the the event that includes my nemesis...(the water)? Well I was at Rev3 Quassy last weekend in support of J and seeing all my friends finish the line an hearing about their race and had the "and why the hell am I not here racing today?!" moment. So I did what any bone headed person would do...with no swimming or bike/brick training I found the closest triathlon to my house and signed up.
Look, if you've been reading this blog...you'd know I am not known for making the smartest training/racing choices. Of course, since I haven't been training, the best thing would be to get in a couple swim sessions before race day. The first was a pool swim which happened at the same time a USS and high school swim team were swimming and the lifeguard on duty was a swimmer. Imagine my deflator mouse-ness when I hit the end of a lap only to come out of the water with EVERYONE at the pool filled with tips for improving my stroke. Ugh. The second swim session was an open water swim in similar lake conditions in a wetsuit to see how I'd feel. To be honest, I didn't feel any better about the choice to race...I actually felt worse. But I registered and I've only had one DNS (did not start) because of illness and I've never had a DNF (did not finish) so the only thing was to take a deep breath and do it. I mean its not like I've never done a Triathlon before.
So I show up on race day as the staff is setting up the race (um, I'm always that guy), met with Joe from 1BandID, (truly a great guy and an awesome product!) helped him set up, chatted a bit, got registered and got a rare joy as a racer...I was the first person in a porta-potty. I know it seems silly but normally when I hit the porta-potty its seen an Army, smells like a trash heap and is out of toilet paper! It really is the little things... you know.
This tri has a dual transition area, T1 is down by the water exit and you rode your bike to T2 for the run out. That was a little different and involved my engaging my less than powerful brain to figure out what needed to go where but my transitions were set up with an hour to spare (once again, that guy). The race was wetsuit legal (thank the Triathlon Gods) so I figured why not get in my wetsuit and go for a short swim of the course...which I realized as I entered the water... I've NEVER done before! I have no clue why I've never hit the water before the race but it was kind of nice. I calmed down a bit and got ready to race.
|I kinda look like I know what I'm doing|
My wave entered the water, 10 minutes after the first wave, and I figured I should move my way to the back of the group where guys are talking about "trying to not drown on the swim" so as not to get caught in the fray...only to look over my shoulder and realize there were twice as many guys behind me in the wave. Holy crap! Did every dude in my age group decide to race today? The horn goes off, we go and I find myself at the front of the pack! No need to worry about sighting because I could just follow the feet in front of me. We couldn't all drift off course right?! I actually swam over some guys! I focused on staying relaxed, breathing and using a long comfortable stroke. No, that isn't flying in the water but that's a pretty good pace for me. I actually exited the water with a grin on my face. Trust me, I NEVER smile when there's swimming involved! I exited the water 156th overall and headed on the long run to T1. For whatever reason I got a low number on was rack opposite from where I exited the water. To add to my joy, I actually beat J and some friends to my bike. Even they figured I'd be slower in the water! I got through T1 in 2:13. I had a pretty smooth transition but the long run from the water chewed up time.
|That's like a legit race photo|
The exit of T1 and mount point was at the bottom of a hill. A good sized one too that I would see 3 more times because the course was a 3 loop, 15 mile bike ride to T2. The bike course was hilly. Long steady climbs that really didn't have much time to recover before the next. There were two big down hills with hairpins turns at the bottom. I saw PLENTY of people pick bad lines and have to lock up the brakes to keep from overshooting. I picked a good line, stayed in aero and took the downhills and turns wide open. Come on people, that's a chance to pick up speed, time and get a little recovery. I'm disappointed with the bike time, I had hoped to be faster but to be honest I was redlining the whole ride. I did feel better that the guys in my AG that finished ahead of me only went 2 or 3 mph faster on the course. I entered the transition area 104th overall so at least I was catching folks. I got through T2 okay in 1:14. I set up a new pair of shoes with lace locks but forgot to lube up the shoe so I had trouble jamming my wet, sweaty foot into the shoes and getting them on. Took a swig of water and a deep breath and headed out of T2...right to the base on another long hill...sonuva!
3.3 mile run- 25:16, 7:40min
Remember when I said that the bike course was hilly? Ya, that stretched over into the run course too. It's just plain evil to start the run at the base of a hill you can't see the top of. I hadn't trained run/bike bricks so my legs felt like mush coming off the bike to face that hill. It wasn't the only hill on the short, 2 loop course either. Add in that the turn for lap two ran right by the finish...and up another hill. Sonuva!!! Into lap 2 my legs started to feel better and I started to get a better turn over just in time to run into the finish. I finished 1:28:17 (my swim wave started 10 minutes behind the 1st), 84th overall and 12th in my age group. Not a great day but not a bad day either. I was very happy with the swim and re-learned some lessons: bike/run bricks are key to length strength at a multi-sport race and you have to prep your gear in transitions. All are easy and fixanble. I wonder when the next local triathlon is?