The day started about as early as Octomax with my departure at around 5am. I got there at 5:40 and transition closes at 7:15...in short, I got there way too early. However, too many people show up close to race time and parking would be a nightmare plus I didn't have my packet. So, with my early arrival I waited 30 seconds in line, got my packet and headed to transition. I guess everyone else on my rack had the same idea as me since it was already half full. The majority of the racks were empty.
I set up my crap at the empty far end of the rack. What's the difference if I'm already half way down, I might as well take the end and get some room. Then I wandered around to talk to some tri club peeps.
Eventually transition was busy and I was just sitting around waiting for the ideal time to start swimming.
Finally a little after 7, I hopped in the water for a little warm up. Not long after I got out, I heard the RD (owner of the race timing company that also put on Octomax) telling everyone that the swim warm up was closed...what a surprise. At least he wasn't making up rules at the start this time.
213/548 (the fishes were out today)
The start was a TT start with everyone starting 5 second apart. Not a bad race if you're doing your first Open Water Swim as it isn't very crowded. I was number 99 so, the downside of a TT start was I only had 98 people to pick off on the bike course minus all the people I passed in the swim, plus the people that passed me. Anyway, 1..2..3..4..Go...I hit the mat and jumped/dove as far as I could to avoid the rocks after the mats in the water. Next thing I know, my heart rate monitor is around my waist. I did the deadman float for a few seconds to try and fix it and then I was off. The first buoy was maybe 300 yards and there were already people pretending to breaststroke near the retaining wall but even while swimming I could tell they were walking. No matter, I'm not going to win anything. The only downside to this start is everyone is so spread out, ahead, back and 50 feet to my left that there was no one to draft off. The first opportunity came about half way but they were too fast for me to keep up. After that it was swim a bit alone and hop behind someone passing me. I felt good during the swim and didn't have any shoulder pain that I seem to be experiencing in the pool. The exit area is very small and getting out I felt like a dick as I kind of bumped (while still swimming) one of the challenged athletes out of the way. I didn't realize he was one until after I heard the announcer say he was out of the water, I figured it was just some guy taking his sweet time to get out of the water. Sorry. As far as my pace goes...how the hell did I swim more than twice as far, faster when compared to Octomax?
If I had known this was the picture spot I would have waited to get the water out of my ear. (Note the wheelchair behind me)
Pace: 22 mph
I was very curious as to how the bike was going to go after the long ride the day before. I clipped in my shoes this time and did somewhat of a flying mount. I missed stepping on my left shoe and swerved to the left a bit but managed to get going without any issue. Then I was passed right out of the gate by some kid with a rack on the back of his bike. I decided some guy with a rear bike rack wasn't going to have a faster bike than me. I waited until we got out of the neighborhood, then passed him and never saw him again.
The wind usually sucks around this area but today it wasn't bad. On some of the rides I've done out here my paces has been 25, 26 mph on the way out and 17 or 18 on the way back. I never hit 25 as there seemed to be a slight headwind the whole way. I spent the ride passing people every minute or two. I was only passed by 3 people but since people were still getting in the water when I started the bike it's not surprising that the speed demons didn't catch me. I had a bit of a head start. My pace was steady overall and I felt like I could have gone a little faster but, I didn't want to press my luck. I'm not sure what I was doing coming into T2 but I was repassed right at the mount line by some girl.
368/548 (See the weakest leg trend?)
T2 was slow as I couldn't get my right shoe on and had to sit down. Then I was walking out of transition and got yelled at by someone from the tri club for not running through transition so, I ran. Again, no plan for the run just pick a pace and see if I can hold on. The run was easier than last year, the trees are bigger and it was a bit cooler. The only problem was the GPS kept cutting out so I had no clue what my pace was. I thought I was going to end up with 9:45s but, I was way off. Everyone and their mother passed me on the run but, I knew this was going to happen. One guy from my tri club who was doing his second tri passed me fairly quickly. I had no idea he was that fast...he ran 25:23. His swim is great. If he could only pick it up on the bike he could probably win his errr....our :-( ...age group.
I manged to hang on for the rest of the run and saw number 100 pass me with about a half mile to go. I told him I was disappointed that it took him an hour and 45 minutes to pass me when I only had a 5 second head start. I don't think he got the joke.
Anyway, I finished strong and managed to knock 11 minutes off my time from last year...I happened to be visiting the nurse last year when the race was going on before I moved here. Then I watched some people run in, packed up my stuff and found the food. One good thing about this racing company is they have excellent food.
Things of note for next year:
- Don't do a donut race the day before...unless it happens to be the day before.
- Take it easy on the swim and kill yourself on the bike...fastest bike split gets a $50 gift card. Why not? It's probably my only chance at winning something. 26.3 mph looks like it should do it.
- Put on sunscreen after the race since there is virtually ZERO shade.
- Tighten your heart rate strap, or at least check that it isn't flipped over BEFORE getting on the bike.