What can I say other than I'm a slacker, well not really. I totally meant to write a lengthy post reflecting on my first adventure in a triathlon last week but my work week decided otherwise for me. Last week was one of those weeks that makes you think seriously about whether you chose the right career path or not. I'm not going into details about what went down but I'll just say I definitely earned my money for the month of July.
So the triathlon, well it's been so long since it happened I've pretty much lost interest in telling the story but I feel I owe it to somebody who might have read my last post and actually came back the next day in hopes of finding a recap so here goes.
A group of us met up to pre-ride the race course Friday night just to get a feel of what exactly we were getting ourselves into the next morning and I'm really glad we did. It was raining when we pulled into the p-lot and I told everyone else they were welcome to skip the pre-ride in favor of a more dry environment at the local mexi joint but no one backed out. The course was all off road, slick, rooty and included about 5-6 bridge crossings that were moss covered and slicker than penguin doo-doo. Most of them were also positioned in the middle of a turn which required you to dismount, tip-toe carefully to the other side, and make absolutely, positively sure your rear tire was clear of the end before either foot touched a pedal.
The course consisted of a 3.5 mile trail run, a kayak portion that circled the lake which was small before returning back to the short but nasty slick trails for 2 more laps on the bike.
Saturday morning the race started off in the rain and thankfully my pre ride in the rain the previous night paid off so I kind of knew what was expected. I toed up on the line, checked the GoPro, it was working, and waited for the start. For some reason a majority of the racers opted to start a bit further back and I wasn't sure why because I knew I had showered that morning. I stuck to my spot because I knew once we hit the woods, passing would be tough and I would rather be in someone else's way than trying to pass a slower runner in treacherous conditions.
When the flag dropped I took off at a bit faster pace than I knew I could handle. My goal was to be in the top 5 when we hit the tree line and I think I was close. Once in the woods I settled into the pace I knew I could sustain and tried not to think about the guys in front of me who were shrinking in the distance. As we ran along I focused on staying up right over speed, I didn't want to take myself out of the race too early with a fall.
About 2 miles in a guy came up behind me quick and breathing hard. I waited for him to ask me to pass but the question never came. I waited some more and then offered to let him by as he was really on my heels. When no answer came I turned, looked, and saw he was plugged into his IPod. Stupid, I figured if he really wanted by me he was going to have to unplug and talk to me so I ran on at my pace not bothering to give him any room.
After a couple of minutes of breathing down my neck he fell back almost as quick as he came on. I'm still not sure what happened to him but he proceeded to repeat this ridiculous performance three more times. After the 3rd time he fell back I didn't see him again until we passed each other on the lake, he was still plugged in.
The kayak portion of the Tri was probably the most boring portion of the race. I didn't gain or loose any positions, my boat was not the slowest but it's far from a race boat. When I reached the first turn around point I realized the buoy was a milk jug. At first I wasn't sure if that was my destination or just a piece of trash some redneck had left behind from a fishing trip but I saw nothing else so I circled it and headed to the other side laughing a bit to my self.
Even though the kayak portion wasn't my favorite section it did allow me to take an inventory of who and what I was up against. The duo folks skipped the kayak portion and the way the paddle section was set up I had to pass everyone who was in front of me which to my surprise was only 2 people putting me nicely in 3rd.
As I circled the second buoy I watched 2nd place finish his paddle, 1st long gone. As 2nd place climbed out of his boat he made the mistake of just standing there watching two older guys pull his boat from the water. I smiled because I knew I had just a gained a few seconds on him. When I pulled in, I jumped out of my boat, threw off my life jacket, handed off my paddle and took off running all in one swift very uncoordinated motion. I may have looked like an idiot but I was moving and not standing watching. My legs felt like 2 dead weights, I guess the run had done them in and after sitting still in the boat they figured their job was done for the day. Fortunately the run to my bike was short but just long enough to get them awake for the ride.
I felt pretty good considering what I had already achieved and felt I had saved myself for what was my strongest portion of the race. The mountain bike portion of the course was the same as the trail run but 2 laps. It was a short ride but with all obstacles, 7.5 miles was all I had energy for. Within the first mile of lap 1, I passed 2nd place, he was dismounting for a bridge crossing and rather than wait on him I opted to ride across right in front of him adding a bit of salt to the wound I had just opened. After that I never saw him again.
By the end of my 1st lap I felt the cramps setting in on my calves. Every time I tried to jump back on my bike and throw down the power one of my calves would lock up. I was drinking as much water as I could but trying to stay upright on that course and drink at the same time was a chore. In hind sight, I should have put a water bottle in my boat.
I pretty much knew my chances of catching 1st place were slim so I just concentrated on being consistent and having fun. The second lap went by smoothly and was pretty much ridden entirely in the rain.
I held onto my 2nd place finish and was just as happy for the podium spot as I was with myself for finishing.