Well I opened up my triathlon race season last Saturday in Indiana. I raced the 31st Thunder in the Valley Olympic race. It was a pretty good race all in all and a decent start to the season but I still was hoping for better!
Woke up at 5:30 and it was 40 and a bit misty. So not the best weather to do a triathlon in! I got to the start with plenty of time to spare. Racked my bike and got everything in order. The sun was coming out a bit, thankfully, but it was still 45 and starting to get windy. I made the decision to get in the warm 67 degree water to warm up a bit and get out of the cold air temperature. Well the 15 minutes of warm up/floating turned in to about 25 because of a delay in the start. So needless to say I started shivering after a while.
I wanted to really push the swim and get on some feet to see if I could get some good drafting. This race was a 2 loop swim so it felt like an ITU race which was pretty cool. Got off to a good start and just started to swim. Nice and steady. Got done with 1 lap feeling good then ran around the grass to start the 2nd lap. I was able to follow feet for a little while but never got in a groove since people were so spread out. I got out of the water with a time of 19:49, I think the swim was short! I was in 4th place out of the water and had the 8th fastest swim time of the day. It was my first swim with my Xterra Vengeance wetsuit and that thing felt good!
Got into transition and got my helmet on and put some gloves on. My hands go numb really fast so I didn’t want that to happen. I tried to exit with someone else but lost a bit of time with the gloves. Once we got out on the course I could tell it was very windy. And not just windy but very gusty as well which makes for some nerve wrecking riding! The out section was pretty smooth and fast but coming back was brutal. Very windy and I was getting pretty cold at that point but also VERY happy I had gloves on. Ended up with a 5 minute POSITIVE split because of wind and cold and biked a 1:02:52 which is about 5 minutes slower than I should’ve been. Got off the bike in 2nd place and had the 3rd fastest split of the day. My new Catlike helmet felt great and I LOVED the visor!Now it was time to run as fast as I could! But first I had to get my shoes on. And that is easier said than done. The first shoe went decently well but I had to kneel down and take a few deep breathes to get the 2nd one on since I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. I also tried to clip my race belt on but that wasn’t working so I had to just put it on over my head. But I guess you have to roll with the punches! I tried not to look at my watch too much because I just wanted to run off feel and see what that did for me. It seemed that every time I looked at my watch it was saying 6 min/mile so that was a bit frustrating since I thought I had enough fitness for 5:45s. But maybe the cold and the bike ride zapped my energy. It wasn’t until I saw the results that I saw I ran the fastest run split of the day by 2 minutes with a 35:08.
I crossed the finish line second and happy to be done! The winner on the day was fast and executed a good race. Now time to rest up and get ready for Toughman Indiana this coming Saturday!Then last Saturday I opened up my long course season at Toughman Indiana. Looking at the course profiles online I thought it could be a PR course. Little did I know weather, wrong turns, and rough roads would spoil that party!
This was a TT swim start and I started 9th so I was hoping the people in front of me would be a bit faster so I could, as you can read above, find feet and conserve some energy. Well that didn’t happen and within a hundred yards I was in the lead! I was feeling pretty good and sighting well so I figured this would be a good swim. Based on my times last season and my pool times this season I thought a 27ish would be in the cards. So when I got out of the water and saw 29 on my watch I wasn’t the happiest I could be! But I was in the lead so was ready to get out on the course and see how my bike legs felt.
Got out of T1 efficiently and was ready to roll! Got to the first roundabout and I didn’t really see the sign and the cops told me one way so I went with them. BIG MISTAKE. Thankfully about a mile down there was a dead end. I saw no markings on which way to turn so I thought “oh crap, I went the wrong way!” So I booked it back to that intersection and, yup, I was supposed to to 3/4 of the way around the roundabout and not 1/2. Well not the best way to start off a 57 mile, course was advertised as long, bike ride! I had to mentally get myself back in the game but it was tough. With the combo of a headwind, cross winds (which were awful), and missed aid stations because of missed handoffs my mental game was shot to crap! Finished the ride 2nd and my dad told me I was about 1.5 minutes down.
So doing what I feel like I do way too often, because of my lack of bike prowess, I had to play the catch up game! But the issue was I did not feel very good! But I was determined to just go.it sure is crazy what the mind can do to ones motivation. I was a bit dehydrated and really thirsty and knowing I needed calories and fluids but when I got to the first aid station no one was there! I was able to grab a cup but I did not want to slow down too much because my goal was catching 1st place! The issue was that was the theme of the run. This was a first year event so there were a lot of wrinkles to iron out and the biggest one was lack of volunteers. I was only able to get about 5 SMALL dixie cups of gatorade/water in during the run and I was sure I was going to bonk. About a quarter way through the run I caught 1st place and we both kind of talked about the lack of support on course. But on I go! Make it to the half way point and see my parents. I wanted to tell them that I wanted to quit and I might be in terrible shape at the finish but I didn’t. I have done that before and it was not a good idea! I try to push the pace a bit because I just want to be done. It was easier on the out portion of the run because it was slightly downhill but also a tailwind. So coming back the last 2.5 miles or so was uphill and in the wind which basically zapped my soul dry!
I manage to make it to the finish and cross the line thinking I won. But with a TT start you never know. My dad took time of the TT start from start to finish so we are watching the clock and see who crosses. After about 12 minutes I had a good idea I won the race. But it wasn’t then best feeling because I did not feel good and I was not happy with how my race turned out. But a win is a win so I can’t complain anymore! It is great to start the season off with a win and a 2nd place finish but also a great way to go on a little “break” and enjoy two of my best friend’s weddings and my own wedding and my honeymoon! But I will be back to racing sometime in July!
Thanks of EGO p/b Sammy’s bike tri team for allowing me to race with you this year. And thanks for our AMAZING sponsors: ICE Friction Chains, Vitargo, Wattie Ink, Eliel Cycling, and Catlike Helmets!