Okay, so we’ve established that is was cold (58-deg water 55-deg air) and rainy. I’m not going to beat that horse anymore. The forecast offered no glimmer of hope, so I had adjusted my outlook to some blend of ‘it is what it is’ ‘embrace the suck’ ‘let the weather affect everyone else’ and ‘just keep the rubber side down’.
Coming into the race I’d been feeling really good about my fitness. I’d seen some real improvements in my pool swimming and was looking to see if it would translate to open water. I’d been feeling great about my cycling all winter and recently did an FTP test that confirmed what I’d been feeling. Quick aside; I love my Quarq power meter, but really just love training with power. I wish I’d made that investment much sooner. Its made me realize how little I was getting out of my trainer rides pre-Quarq. Along with some great power-based coaching from Hard Yards, I’m convinced that’s why I feel so much further along this year than previously.
I raced the Olympic here last year and was looking forward to comparing splits, etc. I’m trying not to do that now, or a least splash some ice water on my face before I do.
I only remember a couple things about the swim. The water didn’t feel that cold. I’m assuming its because I didn’t have any blood in my hands, feet, or face by the time we got in. The current seemed stronger because of all the rain, but I’m really not qualified to judge such things. The course is basically 400m upstream, right turn, 50m, right turn, 1000m downstream. After the second turn I had a really hard time staying on line. I immediately chalked it up to my notoriously crooked swimming. But after the race two people asked me if I thought he current was pulling us toward the middle of the river. I’m going with that.
Anyway, after a couple of buoys I was back on track and finished pretty strong. It felt like there were A LOT of dudes in front of me. Actually, there were, but somehow my 21:33 was good for 3rd in our AG. That’s definitely a record for me, regarding position, but I had no clue at the time. I felt behind. I guess that’s part of starting in a wave with all men 39 and under.
I had all kinds of warmer clothing laid out in transition, but when I got there I didn’t really feel that cold AND the bike next to me was already gone. I remember thinking he looked legit when we were setting up that morning, so I put on socks, helmet and took off. I immediately regretted that decision.
All in all the riding wasn’t that bad. I looked forward to the uphills and took plenty of extra caution on the downhills. I definitely left a few minutes out there on the descents and one 4-5 min stretch where I got caught behind a car who didn’t want to pass another racer. I definitely wanted to pass that other racer! I pulled into T2 with almost an identical time to last year. Not too shabby given the conditions.
T2 was a bit of a challenge. When I get cold, my thumbs kinda stop working. They really just loose all strength. I was using my palms to shift late on the bike, but could not unbuckle my helmet to save my life. I even tried pulling it off with the chinstrap still buckled. Ultimately, I had to ask a volunteer for help. She was maybe 13 yo, with a friend, and clearly thought that soaking wet chinstraps were gross.
The run felt really good. Except for a few ankle deep puddles, the conditions were great. I left T2 with another pretty fast 34 yo. I stopped hearing his footsteps around the first mile marker, but he definitely kept the pressure on for the whole 10k. I think he finished 30sec behind me. I did a little better job pacing this year and finished much stronger. Just ran out of course before getting this guy. Almost exactly the same run time as last year too.
Total time almost a minute faster than last year, nearly all on the swim. Weird, I know. Regardless, I was very happy to win our AG and place 18th amateur overall. I’ve always said I want to be more than just a runner trying to catch people in a triathlon. I’d love to be in the top 10% of each discipline, so having 3rd, 1st, 1st AG splits makes me really happy.
It was a great day to be dressed in Pearl Izumi! Just wish I’d have been sporting more of it on the bike. I really loved my brand new Tri N1′s, absolutely no blisters, hot spots, or other discomfort on pretty challenging day for such things. Our new kits are pretty cool too. Big thanks to Powerbar for fueling my race and recovery as always! Happy to report very little soreness afterward and what there was was quickly dispatched by the Compex and NormaTec combo. Thanks everyone for all the support!