Sunday morning it was in the upper 30's and the wind was blowing pretty hard. That said it was actually what I consider perfect 5K weather. I knew that I could run hard with next to no clothes, but I was concerned that I would freeze for the 15 mile bike section. I had decided before the race to leave a jacket in transition for the bike section. For the run I wore racing flats; this was the first real race pace run I have attempted since June of '05. It was really great to race again and I felt great and strong for the whole run. My 5K was just over 19, which was about what I though it would be. I think that put me in the top 10.
I was not thinking as I headed into transition and the very first thing that I did was to yank off my left glove. At that moment I thought, "that was dumb". I quickly got my cycling shoes on. I grabbed the jacket and then decided, "Screw it." And I looked at the glove on the ground and decided it would stay there as well. I grabbed the bike and got the hell on the road.
As soon as I got on the bike I locked down my cycle shoes and found a gear that I could spin at 100 RPM. It figured that should be the goal for the bike - keep spinning high revs. We had the wind to our back for the first section then we took a right and you could feel the wind blowing hard. Two folks passed me, but I passed them both back within a mile or so. The bike section was two loops of the race course. I went thought the first half of the first loop and gave up maybe one position. When we came out on main street I had five guys in my sights and was just trying to stay with them into the wind. It was hard. Then I noticed an official on the motorcycle flagging down one of dudes in front of me. I thought for sure he must have committed some ungodly foul. Then they turned around. I realized that we must have gone off course. That sucked because we were a long ways off course.
Well I think I passed four of those five guys. We were all pissed of course but those guys just kinda threw in the towel. While pissed off, I just kept hammering and did my second loop and then headed for the pool.
I kicked off my shoes, socks and helmet in transition and grabbed my goggles and headed for he pool. On my way I ripped off my top and my watch and chunked them on the deck by the first lane. The official told me to drop in then go under the rope and start in the second lane. Right! So I jumped in and two bad things happened. 1 - My goggles were in my hand and 2 - it was 8 feet deep. Sheesh. So I had to grab the wall, then get on my goggles, before I could go.
Like I said the swim was a mess. It was supposed to be one length in the first and last lanes and two lengths in all the middle lanes for 400 meters total. I swam my ass off dodging folks left and right, passing a couple of folks and when I got the end of the next to last lane, I was on the wrong side of the pool. Hmmm. So I did three lengths in that lane, then made my way to the last lane and climbed out. I was 8:29 in the pool for 400 meters. (Today I swam 400 meters in 6:25). Which makes me believe that somehow I swam an extra 50 somewhere along the way in all of the confusion and lack of oxygen and everything. Its a freaking miracle I did not get disqualified.
My bike computer had my ride at 16.5 miles and a 19.9 pace (and 97 ave CAD)! The race was 15 miles and my posted velocity was 17.0. 19.9 MPH would have put my ride at 45 minutes rather than the 52 it took me. So I left up to 7 minutes on the race course due to the wrong turn. Even with the crappy swim, the 7 minutes from bike would have moved me up from 31st overall to 9th place. Another two minutes on the swim would have put me in fifth place!
Overall my conditioning is very good. My cerebral horsepower, however, was lacking.
I did finish second in my age group. Which is my best finish in a Tri yet.
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