Yet another month has passed, and time for another race. I signed up for the Olympic as I wanted to gauge my fitness going into Rev3 Wisconsin Dells Olympic in August. I woke up around 3AM (Planned on getting up at 4) due to a storm blowing in. I did not think much of it, hearing a little thunder and an occasional flash of lightning. It was enough to worry me, although I knew it was supposed to be fairly short lived. After rolling around in bed a while, I decided to get up a few minutes before 4. The thunder was getting louder and lightning was picking up a bit, but no rain had started.
Within a few minutes, it started to rain, and we are not talking sprinkles, I am talking about paint peeling forces pounding down. The kind of rain that sounds like it will come through the roof of your house. Again I kept telling myself it was a small cell and will be over shortly and to keep with the race morning plan, which meant grabbing food, filling my bottles, and heading out the door just before 5AM.
The drive was no better, sheets of rain pouring down, thunder cracking, and lightning so fierce I had to turn on some techno music because I felt like I was at a nightclub (mmm chk mmm chk mmm chk mmm chk) When I got to the park, it was deserted, nobody around, at least not the normal crowds that show up for this race. I found a side street and parked. Looking at the weather and facebook, I found a post stating to stay in your cars until the lightning passes. Wanting to make the best of my time, I hooked up my trusty Compex for a little Pre-Warmup session and cranked the music up.
The rain continued, and I debated starting to build an arc. Watching people park and chill in their cars, I caught up on some social media and was getting in the race-mindset. After the lightning cleared, I saw the message that transition was open, so I headed down, in the pouring rain. Oh well we are going to swim and I am going to sweat, whats the difference? Well not a lot… except you are biking through it.
Long and short of this monsoon storm, We got about 5 inches of rain in the span of a couple of hours. Insane. Streets looked like you could take a white water raft down them. No bueno! After thouroughly making sure every piece of gear I owned was soaked to the molecular level, the rain let up. And then the wind picked up… oh joy. Now I start shivering… wtf its July… this shouldn’t be happening. We hung out waiting for announcements, and waited, and waited some more.
After some…who knows how much… time they announced that part of the Oly bike course was still impassable so everyone was going to do the sprint race. Ugh… not what I wanted to hear, but I am glad to still be racing. There is a drastic difference between the oly race and the sprint, but suck it up buttercup, its on like Donkey Kong.
Blah blah blah, some more non important information goes here about how time crawled by until I got to race, so lets get to the goods.
Swim – .25 Miles – (Garmin Read .31) – 7:43 – I stepped up to the line and went off running this 2 person TT start. I made a good clean run into the water, added about 2 solid dolphin dives, and 1 somewhat belly-flop before I started swimming. There was some wind blowing from right to left on the way out, but I did not really notice any drifting. I kept locking onto a set of feet, swimming up, hanging out for a couple of strokes, then surging forward to find another set. Sighting on the way out was darn near spot on. I hit the turn bouy and got caught in a bit of a bottleneck, but cleared without too much hassle and headed in. This is when I started to feel the wind/chop a little more. I was getting pushed towards the bouys and found myself veering right. After a few attempts to get corrected and trying to swim through packs of people, I managed to spot the swim shoot.. Black inflatables are not real easy to spot… FYI.
T1 – 1:49 – Big transition, lots of area to run, nothing eventful, a wetsuit free swim, meant no hassle of getting out. All in all it went smooth, geared up to push some watts on the bike.
Bike – 16.5 Miles – 43:48 – 210 Watts – 23MPH – It is no shock that these roads are not flat, they are not smooth, and they are generally junky. Add the rain, and you have a potentially dangerous bike route. So much that they had to deter from the normal 15 mile course due to standing water still, thus making it a longer ride at 16.5 miles. I went out with a goal of putting the hammer down. Last month was only a 10 mile bike and I rode at 22.9 MPH. This course is more technical, on way worse roads, still wet, and longer, so why wouldn’t I try to go faster? DUH! I settled in very quickly, my HR was high, but I did not feel like I was gassing myself. Thanks Beet Performer loading! This is a secret weapon, and if someone is drafting off you, you can also pop off a little red warning shot to tell them to back off! I managed to find fairly clean roads, only hitting a few bumps that rocked my world a little.
I only physically got passed by 1 guy on the bike, which was good for morale. My legs felt strong (I fully attribute this to the Pre-warmup cycle from Compex. If you are not using it, I dare you… unless you are in the M30-34 AG… then please run explosive strength for about 2 hours on your quads race morning.) The climbs did not seem as bad as they have in years past, provided nothing crazy, I do remember a couple that just seemed to drag on. (Maybe that means I am stronger this year?!?) As we came off West River Road and over the bridge, BAM like a freight train, I got knocked across a lane of traffic by a gust of wind. You can see here why there was a bit of wind up there.
The rest of the ride felt some heavy cross winds which slowed my legs down, but knowing I was close to the real part of the race… the run.
T2 – 1:53 – Wow was this really slower than T1. I swear I did not stop to eat lunch in here. Again nothing spectacular here, a jumbled mess of people running and and out of transition on the same end with their bikes made this a bit of a challenge.
Run – 5k(ish) – 21:49 – 7:02/mile – As I ran out of transition, I saw a nemesis of mine, that big yellow thing in the sky who always seems to be there on the fricking run at this race. The temp seemed to jump about 20 degrees instantly as I began running, legs feeling pretty well for having such a solid ride. I clicked away, took on some water, and looked at my pace, Garmin says 7:30, crap I dont want to slow much from that over the race, then again Garmin sometimes lies.
Plugging away at the run, I passed a few people in the first mile, took on some of the scenery, and kept going to the Cedar bridge turn-around. Ugh an uphill section, up the bridge, to just turn around and run back down it. Honestly, couldnt we just run around a block somewhere? This is one of the most demoralizing spots on the course I feel. Thank goodness I didnt have to do this twice today. Regardless, that was jsut after the first mile marker. I came off the bridge and curled around the lake when I got passed by a guy who left a track of flames as he passed me… f’n runners…. f’n runners in my AG. Well that hurts, but I wasn’t expecting to place today.
A bit further along comes another tall lanky fellow, also in my AG, also moving significantly faster than I was. Well crap, thats 3 people ahead of me, not looking good. Oh well, keep on keeping on. Took on some water at mile 2, and got passed by yet another guy in my AG.. seriously who are these guys? Well I hung on to this guy for a while, never letting him more than 20-30 yards ahead of me. While he didn’t know it was a race, in my mind it was only he and I on the course now. Rounding out mile 2 and knowing the finish wasnt far away. I saw a guy on the side saying we were only xxx far away from the finish, looking right at me he said “Make your move, go get him” Wow, like he read my mind or something.
I picked up the pace, and pushed the pace. I passed back the guy before hitting the finisher chute and kept on the pace through the end. It wasnt a sub 20 minute 5k, then again it was 3.2 miles, not a 5k… so no skin off my back.
There were some speedy cats at this race, so my ranking was not stellar, but I was happy with the race, sub 1:30 on the swim, 23 mph on the bike, and just over 7 pace on the run. I am still not sure where I would have ended up had this been an Olympic, but I do feel like I am progressing in fitness.
Next month will be a big tell. I am hoping for a solid effort, which means hitting workouts consistantly over the next month! All things considered for this mess of logistics, the race went well, I learned that I can push myself harder, and I feel great the day after! Could I have pushed a bit more? The world may never know… but I think so…