Sleeping in the RV was comfortable but hot, at least for me. I had drawn the curtains for privacy and to keep the flow of cool air off me from the AC unit. My little sleeping cave became hot and I was sweating quite a bit. It also could have been extra body heat still escaping from the race late Friday.
I rolled out of bed around 5:30AM for the 7:30 start. I hit the bathroom and started fueling up with OJ and a banana. Everyone else was up in the next 30 minutes and we all prepped our gear for the day.
I grabbed my second pair of goggles for the swim to avoid any leaking. When the starter sent us on our way I took one dive into the water and started swimming. I was very happy there was no water leaking into my goggles.
I settled into a very comfortable pace during the first lap of the swim. I felt that I was sighting well and had a solid stroke. As I finished the first lap my goggles were a little foggy and I found myself being told by a lifeguard I had to swim around the buoy. I was about 10 yards inside the buoy. Oops....I swam over to the buoy and turned towards the beach with everyone else.
I cleared my goggles while on the beach and had much better vision for the second lap. I picked up the pace slightly and still felt great heading for transition. I cleared the water in 22 minutes, which would be extremely fast for me but a lot of people said the course was short....definitely.
On the bike I was taking it easy so I wouldn't blow myself up too early. I was feeling comfortable again and attacked Thompson Hill with some energy. I let out an excited cheer to begin the climb. I mean why face the steepest climb of the weekend with a negative attitude. I felt great climbing the hill and passed some people to boot.
After we finished the climb a female competitor passed me and commented on my enthusiasm at the beginning of the climb. We chatted for a while then she pushed ahead of me. She was quite the speedy tri chick.
This bike course is the hardest of them all. Thompson Hill is steep, there is a very technical descent and a final climb on Route 125.
The Hairpin turn on this course is very dangerous. HFP started marking the road with cautions at least one mile before the corner. The park must have done some maintenance on the road because there were some big patches of gravel across the road leading up to the turn. Then the turn had been repaved with fresh asphalt. There was some sand on the road to provide some traction but it also could have caused some skidding.
I made it through the corner safely maybe riding 3 or 4 MPH. As Shannon had said before the race, it's not worth it to take a risk because it won't make your race, but it could definitely break your race...and body...and bike. He was hoping to have no accidents this year on the corner. He said there has always been at least one.
The only other thing I didn't like about the bike courses this year was the chip 'n seal. It was probably fresh from last year but it still sucked this year. Once we made it back to Route 125 it was fresh and smooth pavement all the way back to the park.
There was one final hill we had to climb but it didn't seem too bad this year., despite going over it four times during the weekend. The reward was a wonderful downhill with a few false flats. I hit 39.2 MPH and then kept an average of 26MPH all the way to the park.
I slipped my feet out of my shoes before entering the parking lot and made ready for the dismount line. I transitioned to the run and headed for Blacklamp Trail. Because of the warm weather I grabbed my half full bottle of Nuun from my bike and carried it for the 6.55 mile run. I'm glad I did because it was nice having a drink whenever I needed it. I was actually quite comfortable carrying the bottle during the run.
Some of the steeper hills I walked and that made the less steep hills seem not so hard. In fact some of the sections seemed shorter and easier this year, similar to the bike course. I just didn't want to fry myself too early.
At the run turn around I took some time to clear some small rocks from my right shoe and sock. It was a good decision because I was much more comfortable when I put my shoe back on. I started to pick up the pace and once I crested the final big hill I settled into a quick pace towards the finish.
My splits for the race were:
Bike 1:19:19 -- 19.1 average/ 39.2 Max
Run: 53:09 an estimate since HFP hasn't posted the splits yet.
My run splits were:
4:01 - final half mile to the finish
I am very happy with my splits over the first four miles.
I refueled with some food at the race site but didn't loiter around too much. I got back to camp, showered and ate some chips, a turkey sandwich and drank coconut water. We sat around talking about all sorts of stuff before getting ready for race #3. With a 3PM start we only had 5 hour recovery. We felt bad for people who take longer because the recovery/rest would be so much shorter.