Oh, you’d be surprised the amount of wear and tear that goes on out there in the field.
Not so quick with the race report when the race goes badly, are we? But not every hit can be a home run, and this race had its good points too.
Since the race was in town, I got to stay home in my own room. And since my wave didn’t start until 9 am, I got to sleep in until 6. While I was making my coffee, I felt a bit bad for the poor souls who were getting the starting gun at that moment. When they were done before I had even started, well, I felt a bit less bad for them.
So after a bagel and a cup of coffee Steph and I cruised over to the race, a whopping seven minute drive. I had a nice warmup, zipped into my not-technically-a-wetsuit, and lined up with the largest men’s pro field it has ever been my pleasure to share a starting line with. They announced all the race favorites, and then at the last minute, they announced my name too, because my friend Tanya Kensley asked them nicely. Cool!
As I’ve mentioned before, when you start in the pro wave you commit to starting hard. For me, this means giving everything I have in the first 250 meters or so to get with a good group. If the group surges at 400 meters, I am not likely to be able to respond. If it waits until 600 or 700 meters, then maybe. But the group I was trying to hold on to surged again at 400 and I lost them. I tried to limit my losses by holding a strong, steady pace, and I mostly succeeded. I got out of the water about 45 seconds behind them and maybe 2 1/2 minutes down to the leaders. Very good for me in a non-wetsuit swim.
I had a fairly brilliant transition, for me, and tore out onto the bike course. I’d pre ridden the course about a dozen times leading up to the race, and had an exact plan of how to mete out my effort. Out of transition, there is a false flat for about six miles, then about a mile and a half of climbing. I commited to riding as strong as I possibly could to the top of the climb, taking the subsequent descent to recover. That went well – I averaged about 310 watts from transition to the top of the hill, and the radar camera on the downhill flashed 50 MPH at me as I went by. So far so good.
I tried to hang on for the second section that I’d identified as a “key effort”. The last ten miles are gently rolling, and I thought I could muscle through them as well. It turns out that although I’ve made significant improvement, I’m still pretty bad at pacing myself over gentle rollers. I still rolled in with an excellent bike time, for me, of 1:02:33.
So I rolled in to transition around 11th or 12th, pretty confident in the way I was racing so far. And then I proceeded to run slower than I have run in any race except ironman since mid 2005. So that was weird, I gave up a few places on the run and crashed across the line in fifteenth place. It does not feel good to hurt that much on the run!
Anyway, as I said, I finished fifteenth (nineteenth counting four AGers that went quicker, which is not 100% fair in this race, but them’s the breaks) in 2:04:58. Which is actually a little faster than I went two years ago. Hmm.
And I just want to mention about that picture above … check out my calf!Â Whew!