Monday, May 09, 2011

Ohio University - Athletes in Action - Triathlon - Race Report

So many things to talk about but first things first.

Did you wish you mom a happy Mother's Day? I did and we had a nice time together with both sides of the family today.

As you can tell from the title, Aimee and I raced at the Ohio University - Athletes in Action - Triathlon. When this race was announced it was a no brainer to sign up. Aimee is an alumni of OU and we love going down to Athens any chance we get.

The inaugural event consisted of a 500m indoor swim, 25k bike and 5k run. This would also be our first multi-sport events of the year. Our training hadn't been the greatest but the race would allow us to blow out the rust.

Being a Saturday race we drove the three hours to Athens on Friday. We grabbed out packets and had dinner at the pasta buffet. After dinner we drove the bike course. We weren't paying very close attention to the road markings and drove several miles (more like 5 or 6) beyond the turn-around. Once we got back on track we headed back to Athens.

The bike consisted of either going up or going down. Athens is a hilly area and this course would keep us honest about our fitness. Nothing very technical since the majority of the turns were sweeping and could be taken in the aero-bars.

We checked into our hotel and settled in for the night.

Race morning we were up at 5AM to eat some food and make our way over to the race. We would be meeting Big Daddy Diesel for this race (yes he is real). We got our chips and body markings before setting up our transition spots. The hardest decision for this race was going to be what to wear. The morning temperature was 45 degrees with some fog. For the bike I opted for a regular bike jersey, wind vest, arm warmers, my long compression socks, skull cap and light gloves. One big difference with today's race would be the events I was doing.

Because of my knee issues I changed to the aquabike division. So it would only be the swim and bike. It's a whole different mind set in aqua bike. I could go balls out on the bike and not worry about blowing up on the run.

After setting up transition Aimee and I went to the pool to finish getting ready. We met the couple who parked next to us and chatted until the race started. Chuck and Brenda drove in from Huntington, WV for the race. They are the same age as us so it was nice chatting with another couple who race together. We had a great time talking with them. I warmed up in the 50m pool to get used to the long lane length.

As I chatted with Aimee, Brenda and Chuck some more BDD finally arrived.

After the announcements and national anthem, I lined up for the start. Being a time trial start we were asked to give an estimate of our swim time when we registered. My projected time placed me 25th in line. I was hoping I wouldn't get passed by too many people.

Every ten seconds someone would jump in the pool and start swimming. Once it was my turn I jumped in and started chasing the person in front of me. Two parts of the swim are unique. At the end of each lane you had to go under the lane lines and swim back in another lane. There was also some congestion at the walls as I caught the person(s) in front of me. I think I passed 2 - 3 people and was passed by only one. My swim time for 500m was 9:21, but that included the run to transition.

It took me a while to get dressed for the bike. The worst part was putting on my jersey. On a wet body things stick and won't cooperate. I finally got dressed and grabbed my bike for the run out of transition. The first 1.5 miles of the bike were on the Hocking Bikeway. We were told that due to "traffic" it would be a no passing zone. As I started on the bikeway I could see two people in front of me. I thought I could catch them but wasn't sure. I came up behind the first cyclist and I believe it was Julie Krause from Team ER. I came up on her shoulder and asked if I could pass. We were the only two people around so I knew there was no "danger" by making the pass. With a smile she said it was fine and I thanked her. If you are going to break the "rules" you may as well be pleasant about it.

I started catching the second person near the end of the bike path but I waited to pass until we were back on the road. Once I made the pass I needed to focus and put in a big effort for this bike. In 15 miles I would be back in T2 and done with my race.

Overall I felt pretty good. On the uphills I alternated between standing and sitting. If the hill was short enough I would keep my gearing and power over the crest by standing up. I didn't want to waste any time shifting since I would need the gearing to keep my speed up.

I slowly started catching some people in front of me. On one downhill I noticed an OU triathlete in front of me. He was coasting down the hill. As I passed him I encouraged him and offered some simple advice. Keep pedaling...even on the downhills. I know some people see it as a time to rest and recover. But this is a great time to take advantage of gravity and increase your speed without blowing up. I pedal until I spin out my gears completely.

During the return trip I passed several more people and buried my head and legs into the effort. As I headed into transition I unclipped my shoes and prepared to dismount. Because of a left hand turn to the dismount line I swung my left leg to the right side of my bike. I didn't want to have my weight on the inside pedal as I dismounted since that could result in my wheels washing out from under me.

I crossed the timing mat and my race was done. I started walking towards my transition spot when I spotted Rich Fowler, he's the announcer for HFP Racing. He asked me if I had lost my transition spot. I responded no since I was done with the aquabike. As I racked my bike he made the spectators aware of the little known category of Aquabike and said that Snakebite Racing was in the house.

So I was done. First multi-sport race of the year complete. I changed and got my camera. Watched people come in on the bike and cross the finish line.

We had to wait until everyone was done before awards were presented. Aimee took 3rd in her age group. I took first in the aquabike with BDD right behind me.

We wanted to spend the entire day at OU with some bar hopping that night but Mother's Day activities pulled us back home. We finished our day tracking friends at Ironman St. George.

Just another weekend of getting our Game On.

Great Race Nutrition helped keep me hydrated during the race.

Aimee finishing the bike.

Aimee starting her run.

While Aimee was running I waited for BDD to finish his aquabike. I almost missed getting a picture at the dismount line because I had a hard time recognizing him.

Aimee "flying" across the finish line.

Aimee with her "3rd in age group" mug

Aimee and I enjoyed the evening together watching the live feed from Ironman St. George (another post) and drinking some hot beverage from our race awards.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

It was great seeing you and meering Aimee. It was a gorgeous day out!! Congrats on taking First in the Aquabike

Christi said...

Congrats to you, Aimee and BDD!

Michael said...

Congrats to you and Aimee!! Great job. Love the pic of BDD...that made me laugh :)

allanjel said...

Congrats to you both. Aimee has really come into her own as a tough-a$$ triathlete!!! Whoo Hooo!!!

PS - Not really shocked you won the AquaBike, you know you're the "best pedalling fish in the land!!"