Race day!

Got between 2-3 hours of sleep last night which was fully expected. Got out of bed at 4:30 and made a cup of coffee and some oatmeal for breakfast. Loaded the car up with gear and was off to the Triterium Triathlon. Set up my transition area carefully and then was able to walk around and check everything out including the transition layout, swim course, and vendor tents.

My race started at 7:12am and other than a little leakage on the goggles from the fit with the swim cap the segment went well. Finished it up in 10:16 which is about a minute faster than my normal pool times. This is because I was wearing a shorty wetsuit in the open water rather than board shorts which I do my laps in. Struggled a little with the wetsuit strap on the way to transition 1 (T1) but that was no big deal-the suit was at my waist by the time I got to the bike.

Out of T1 and onto the bike. Photo: Focal Flame Photography

Paced myself as much as possible on the bike course after my pathetic practice run a week before. One thing I noticed was guys on TT/tri bikes absolutely flying by me. It was a humbling experience.

On top of a hill as I was shifting gears the chain became wedged between the chainstay and the chainring (chain suck). I made the decision to pull over rather than coasting down the hill and tried to free it. At first it was stuck pretty good, but I turned the crank backwards and it came free. I dropped the chain back into the smallest cog and it was ready to roll.

Drank a water bottle of diluted Gatorade and ate one gel on the bike which was just right. I’d never had a gel before and it was very sticky and thick. Since it was all over my hands somehow, I had to wipe them off on my wet shorts several times before touching the handlebar tape.

A few hills later both my calves cramped right up. I screamed out in pain but managed to get up the hill and keep going. It wasn’t rider error or anything, just a big hill and gears that didn’t quite go low enough for what I needed. My legs were not the same after that. Ended up finishing the bike split in 42:27 which was about 6 minutes slower than I had hoped for. With some practice, some cycling shoes and a tri bike I know I can shave off at least that amount of time without too much problem.

I went smoothly through T2 in 42 seconds flat which was decent. Needless to say, hitting the ground after the bike course was difficult but I had a plan… The run is mostly uphill for the first two miles so I was going to negative split the course. That’s a good approach for any course, but it holds particularly true for this run. I banged it out in 26:40 running at an 8:35/mi pace. I left everything I had on the course. No regrets.

Photo: Focal Flame Photography

Part 1: The training


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