Saturday May 23, 2009
Race #3 – Olympic Distance
24.8 mile bike – 1500m swim – 6.55 mile run
There is nothing quite like a 5 hour rest before your next Olympic distance race. I’m still not convinced that the 45 minute nap was beneficial because it was so hard to wake up from.
I decided to ride my bike to the race venue 1 mile away. It would allow my legs to loosen up before the race. This was important since this afternoon race started with the bike leg. Yeah, it was kind of different but also interesting.
So we started in the same manner as the swim starts, two people leaving transition at 5 second intervals. This helped spread out the bike on the road.
The bike course is a simple out and back along SR 125; easy to follow, hard to ride. The difficulty of the ride is due to the two significant climbs. Of course those downhills were pretty fast too.
On the first downhill I was riding near a couple of two person teams. I was trailing the group and watching the road when I noticed the front wheel of one guy start shaking. He was off to my right so I wasn’t directly behind him. It didn’t look good. Here we are going at least 30MPH and he’s going to bite it right in front of me. Somehow he managed to stabilize the wheel and regain control. I glided past him and told him he had a good recovery. He just smiled at me because he knew how close it was to being a bad situation.
On the second downhill I was again riding behind a guy who was being a little too cautious and I was forced to stay behind him. I didn’t like being behind him but I just couldn’t tell what he would do next. Unfortunately it forced another rider to go around us and cross the double yellow line. I hated that he was forced to do it but I didn’t blame him either.
The flat section to the turn around was wet from a small burst of rain. It would be the only rain during my race. Heading back from the turnaround was pretty uneventful. The return uphills were long and allowed me to watch the final competitors attack the downhill themselves. During the final miles to the park I spotted a German Shepard strolling down the road. He was on the other side of the road just trotting along totally ignoring the cyclists zipping by.
Reviewing the computer again I reached a max of 43.5 MPH this time. Some people post race said they hit 50MPH. I never look at the speed during the downhills. First the road deserves your complete attention. Things are moving so fast you must remain on target for traffic, other riders, animals, potholes, etc. Second, I just don’t want to know how fast I’m going right before I crash. Ignore the speed and the fear of crashing never enters my mind until after the race.
Bike time 1:16:37
Back in transition I had to deal with something new putting on my wetsuit. Usually putting the wetsuit on is no problem, but with sweaty legs it can be a little tough to slip it on. I heard that the trick is to use plastic bags on your feet. I had grabbed some produce bags at the grocery store. I slipped the bags on my feet and they slid right through the legs. I worked the wetsuit the rest of the way up and headed toward the beach.
T1 time 3:39
Big Country said that he was cramping during this swim last year. With the legs full of blood from the bike and the cold lake water I could see why. I don’t kick that much with my legs anyways so I mainly pulled myself through the swim. Two loops in the lake with no issues at all. I did start kicking my legs near the end of the swim to get them ready for the run portion of the race. Overall I kept a great rhythm and pace throughout the swim.
Swim time 27:15
Swim to run transition was easy. Strip off the wetsuit and put on a second pair of socks then running shoes. I grabbed my hat and was gone. Each time I left transition I felt like I was forgetting something. Despite the feelings, I always had what I wanted and had clean transitions.
T2 time 1:32
As with the morning race I left transition under control. I made sure the pace felt easy and slow. I would still have 13.1 miles to run the next day, after running another 6.5 with this race. I had a PowerGel with me and started taking it during the first mile. I would wash it down with water at the first aid station.
Once again I was making sure to grab a lot of water or Heed at each aid station. They hydration was so important with these races. The hills on the way out were handled at a controlled pace making sure not to jack the heart rate to high.
After the turnaround I started to notice some people having difficulties. As I was going up the hill I saw once guy dealing with a bad hamstring cramp. He would hobble a couple yards then stop with his hand on his leg. Going downhill wasn’t helping him either. Near the top of the hill I saw another guy walking into the woods. As I passed him he threw up a large amount of fluid. His stomach must have been shutting down and was jammed up with solids or too many calories. I’m sure he felt better with the relief of a full stomach.
Shortly after seeing Mr. Puker, I crested the hill and reached mile 4. Remember that the final 2.5 miles is predominantly downhill from here with some short uphill rollers. I settled into a great downhill stride with short quick steps. The shorter stride helps save the quads and keeps the pace fast. Even on the flat portions I kept the stride the same and was really moving. I just wanted to keep the pace steady and finish with some left in the tank for Sunday.
Run time 51:54
Race time 2:39:54
Mark and I after race #3
I cooled down with some food and talk with Aimee and friends. I put my name down for a 15 minute massage with Wendy the same girl who worked on me in the morning. What I didn’t know was the person in front of me was going for 60 minutes. I sent Aimee back to the campground so she could shower and eat for herself. I would ride my bike back to the campground 1 mile away.
Back at the campground I ate again with Aimee before hitting the showers. After eating I finally walked to the shower house to get cleaned up. I couldn’t believe it was 8PM and I was finally showering after having finished around 5:30PM. Imagine my surprise when I got to the showers and two other racers were showering and another walked in behind me.
I chatted with the guy behind me and we mentioned how beautiful the bike course was. It reminded us both of areas where we train, me around Cleveland and him about LaCrosse, WI. Turns out Hewbie has been in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and knows my friend and local race director Mickey. What a wonderful small world this is.
After my shower and back at the campsite we sacked out for the night. One more race to go and this would be the longest.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Saturday May 23, 2009