Jack and Ester moved the race this year to the brand new Rockwall ISD Natatorium with the brand new eight lane 50 meter pool. Finally a sane pool swim, right? Wrong. Ester told me that there would be a dual start in the middle lanes with each group snaking toward the outside lanes. First and Last 50s going one way, but the middle 100s would be up and back in the same lanes. Jack likes to taught "safety" as one his primary concerns and has offered this as a reason to sign up for his races. IMO he had an opportunity to promote a safer event with a pool swim where one does not have people moving in two different directions in the same lane, and instead of taking a safer route, he chose to cram more people into the pool instead. Not good. Boo.
Waiting until the last minute is not good for another reason and that is that the swim is seeded but if you wait to the last minute you can'g get a seeded number. Ester offered to let me start in the back or the middle. I choose middle and she forked over number 147.
Race morning I got to the pool in plenty of time. After I got my transition area set up I headed over to the pool. On my way there I saw a kid who played on Logan's soccer team last year. Jessica was doing the race with her dad, who is a huge bike rider. Then I saw Johanna, a gym rat at Lifetime Plano. Her husband was also doing the race. Lots of friends!
But with all the chit-chat, when I finally got ready to do a warm-up swim, Iron Jack was yanking everyone out of the pool for his dreaded "mandatory" race meeting. Given that this was a new course I paid particular attention to the meeting. The bike started out with several turns, and I memorized those. Then came the run description. Holy Crap. The run went out to the main road, then left down a side road, then right into a cul-de-sac, then back out of the cul-de-sac, back to the main road, two lefts and then a turnaround and back exactly the same way. Very confusing. The race map had so many arrows on it I could not make heads or tails of the run.
After the meeting I decided to do a warm-up run and check out this run course. It was a darn good thing, because TONS of people screwed it up and got DQd.
When I got back to the pool I knew I needed to hustle to get to my swim spot. But I was exactly five people to late; 157 was jumping in when I got there. Ester looked at me, shook her head and sent me to remedial Triathlon school - ie the back of the line! And so I went upstairs chilled out for 10 minutes and THEN when to the back of the line. Except the guy in the very back pushed me in front of him. So I started next to last! :-)
Starting from Dead Ass Last!
I did not count the multitudes of folks that I passed in the pool. In the second fifty I did have a collision with a guy coming the other way. Beyond that it was a lot of weaving in and out avoiding the back strokers, the side strokers, and of course the breast strokers!
I got out of the pool and on my way to the transition with no problems. It was kind of funny seeing my bike out there all by its lonesome self! That certainly made it easy to find!
I did not count the multitudes of folks that I passed on the bike. The bike course was nice. No cars. The main part of the bike was on a four lane bypass with the middle two lanes for the race. But the cones were kinda right down the middle of the left lane. Why? This meant if you were trying to keep the cones to your right you only had a half lane to ride. And given that I was passing everyone in sight, that did not leave much room. Also the back of the packers do not know how to move to the right when you holler "on your left". Good Grief.
I felt like I was doing better on the bike compared to McKinney. I focused on keeping my cadence up particularly on the uphill sections. And I was hammering on the downhill.
No issues with T2. Well some knucklehead put their bike in my spot, but whatever.
Heading out on the Bike
The sun was out. It was hot. What happened to the predicted rain? I did not count the multitude of folks that I passed on the run. I felt OK at the start of the run. Although I never really felt like I was going full speed. I pushed as hard as I could. I did get a bit of side stitch about the two mile mark. But I was able to push through for a strong finish.
I witnessed one girl make the wrong turn at the mix master. It was a zoo. This intersection required runners to go one of four directions. As if that was not confusing enough, race management decided that this would be the ideal spot for an aid station. Right smack in the middle of this intersection. Not pretty. Runners going every which way. Water and Gatorade and cups all over the ground.
I finished 10th overall 4th master and 2nd in my age group. I finished 8th in the swim and I had the second fastest swim time of the top 10 finishers. I was 26th in the bike with a 21.2 MPH velocity and 91 ave cadence. That was an improvement relative to McKinney (20.8 and 89). I ran 19:05 for the 5K which put me third place overall in the run. But my 6:07 pace was much better than the 6:30 pace I ran in McKinney. My overall time was 1:00:53 which has to be my best time ever!
Jessica won her age group after a head on collision in the pool. And Johanna's husband was 4th overall and won the masters.
Notes to Jack:
Make it a 400M swim with everyone going one way in all of the lanes. If you are hell bent on getting everyone in the pool, then start them two at a time in the same lane. The lanes are plenty wide enough for that!
Fix the mix master in the run. Instead of having the run go south on townsend and the bike go north - switch it. Take the bike south, then east on 30 then north on the bypass. Then the run can go north on townsend out the same route as the bike course today.
Have the Rotary guys get some real awards. The phonograph records with the Avery label is bush league.
All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012