Sunday morning I got up at ODarkThirty. It was raining like crazy. I needed to leave by 0500, but I missed that cutoff by a few minutes. Then I realized that the truck had no gas. Jeez. I hit the gas station and the pump did not work. Moved to the other pump. That one did not work. Double Jeez. Drove to the other gas station and loaded up. Iron Jack the race promoter is a notorious hard ass. Be there by 0615 or don't race. It was pouring down rain - did I mention that - so I could not drive too fast. Then I took the wrong exit on the highway. Triple Jeez. Finally I got to the park at 0610. Wow, close call.
I got all the gear together and got on the bike and rode the mile or so from the car park to the transition and set up my transition. Pretty soon people were beginning to gather for the obligatory race meeting. I had not done any material warm up - not great. I dumped the rest of my clothes in the bag I had at transition and stood shivering in the rain for an eternity before Jack finally turned up. After an even longer eternity Jack finally decided to let us get in the water!!
The first wave in the water was my group - everyone over 35 doing the sprint. The water in Joe Pool Lake was 82 degrees, lots warmer than the air and the rain. It felt great. I lined up as far to the inside of the start as I could get. There were a few folks lined up in front of me. When the gun went off I found myself in the middle of a pack of maniacs. Right away some idiot swam right over me. Sheesh. In retrospect, I probably should have made a beeline to the far inside and swam around the pack. Instead I used a couple of pointy elbows to keep the masses at bay. As we got close to the first turn, I started taking on water with each attempted breath. All of a sudden I started to panic. After a few more useless strokes I switch to breast stroke in an attempt to prevent drowning. I did about 10 meters of breast around the first turn and then calmed myself down and concentrated on long smooth strokes. From there I was fine, I was quickly out of the pack. I made the turn around the second buoy with no problem and headed home. There was one guy nearby and I did my best to put the hammer on him. Unbeknown to me, at the time, I was the third one out of the water.
Third out of the water...Only one other swimmer in sight?
Did I mention that it was pouring down rain? In spite of that I got my shoes, sox, glasses, number belt and helmet on. Then I grabbed the bike and sprinted for the exit.
I could not see anyone in front of me. There were some twists and turns necessary to get out of the park and I was not entirely sure I was heading the right way. Finally I got out on the main road and not too long after that I spotted two bikes up ahead. It took another few minutes before I got to them and made the pass. The first part of the race was out and back on this main stretch of road. When I got to the turn around I knew that I had been leading the race because no else had come back down the road. That did not last long as I was passed in very short order. The second part of the ride went back to where we turned coming from the park and then several miles beyond that point before turning around a second time and heading back to the start. I was passed two more times before the second turnaround. At the turnaround one of the guys who had passed me was stopped. Apparently he had flatted out. That moved me back to third. I held that position until just as we turned back into the park when another guy passed me. I followed him back to transition, where I jumped off my bike and blew by him in the transition.
Third off the bike.
The two yahoo's in front of me had a pretty big lead. In fact they were out of sight. Generally bikers are not great runnner's. I was looking for signs that I could run at least one of these dudes down. There was a big gap between first and second as well. I would occasionally catch a glimpse of number 2 and I pushed really hard to close the gap. There was a turn around point at about mile two, which gave me confidence, but it was a false hope. Basically the three of us ran solo. The second place guy and I ran nearly the same time while the winner put more time against the two of us.
Third after the run.
Now the question became, how fast would the youngsters from the second wave be? And the answer was that they were not fast enough to beat out the three of us geezers from the first wave! I was third overall and first master.
Cooldown run. Much better with a shirt, a hat, a drink and the training shoes (Brooks Launch)
First Overall Masters
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