Federal Escape Olympic Triathlon July 26, 2008.9 mile swim, (nearly) 24 mile bike, 10k run
126 athletes participated in the olympic distance race. I arrived at 6:15am, plenty of time to get a spot in Five Mile Lake Park parking lot. We got to pick out our own spot in transition, there weren't any numbers on the racks. Lots of Cervelos were in the rack closest to the bike in/out spot, including mine. We got our race packets, put our numbers on our bike and helmet, got body marked and I went for a little jog. The wether was perfect; no rain, low 60's and no detectable wind. It stayed that way throughout the race.
BrIronman was there to get us psyched for the event and cheer us on. He worked the whole night through and came to the course with zero sleep. That is dedication to your pals! Thanks, Bryan.
The start was delayed by about 15 minutes which gave us some extra time to warm up in the lake. You can't tell from the surface, but if you open your eyes under the water it's a dark reddish brown color. I heard one person say, "It's like swimming in cold tea." It was a running shore start in two waves; men first and the women 5 minutes later. The swim was two laps around the perimeter of the lake. We didn't have to exit the water after the first lap, which was nice. Because the water was so dark, I couldn't see feet in front of me, so couldn't catch a draft behind anyone. The water was calm, the buoys were easy to spot, and there was always a line of yellow caps in front of me so sighting wasn't a problem. It took a little more than half a lap for my swimming cluster to thin out. I didn't kick at all when I felt swimmers near me so as not to kick anyone in the head. I've had that happen before and it is no fun. The more races I do, the better I get at navigating my way through other swimmers. If an arm comes down on my back, I just glide out of the way. Some swimmers struggle and kick and churn up the water when they come in contact with another swimmer. I imagine they waste a lot of precious energy thrashing about.
Coming out of the water I heard Heather cheering my name. I saw BrIronman sitting on a bench, trying to keep his eyes open and watching for his tri buddies.
The bike course had some rollers but no big climbs. Some of the roads had been re-paved just that week which made for some really fast, smooth sections. And no flat tires!! I saw 30 mph on my computer a few times. My average speed was just under 20 mph. There were quite a few sharp turns where I had to use my brakes. The course was well marked with a volunteer at all the turns and police halting traffic at some of the intersections. There were no aid stations along the bike course, but you don't need more than two water bottles on an olympic course. I brought three, (I'm so used to being on the bike course for 6 hours) and launched the one that was in my back rack when I went over a big bump. I just can't make the bottles stay in that back rack.
The run was flat and perfect for a fast kick... but I couldn't find one. I was in zone 2 for the entire run except the last 100 meters. I guess that's what a year of Iron distance training has done for me. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not ideal for a fast time on a short course. Coming into the finish I saw Tammy shooting photos and heard Laura, Paul, David, Bryan and Annette all cheering me on. After crossing the line, I felt like I had enough energy to do it all again. I need to figure out how to up the intensity, starting with a track session this Wednesday.
In all it was a really fun morning and a great re-entry into shorter distance racing.