Well, after a full day on the rides, some time at the indoor pool at the hotel and a great dinner I finally had some time to prepare my nutrition and transition bag for an early start on Sunday. As I mentioned in the OLY race report, the plan for today was to go for a "comfortably hard" catered training event, and of course to get some much needed swim "practice". Met up w/ my neighbors Randy and Mary who were doing the race and hopped a ride w/ them so the family could sleep. Rolled into the park, set up my bike / gear and headed to the bathroom to put my race number tattoo on. It was another chilly morning with temps in the low 50's, but the water was 69.5 degrees. No wetsuits for the pro's! I got all lubed up w/ Trislide and put on my sweet TYR wetsuit. I had my transition area laid out included a water bottle w/ EFS to sip on in transition and a second flask of EFS Liquid Shot for the run if I needed it. My bike was loaded up w/ a bottle of EFS in the holder and water in the aerodrink. I also had a chopped up Clif Bar and an EFS Liquid Shot in my bento box.
Headed down to get wet and watch the pro's start...
I remember looking out over the swim course thinking "damn that looks like a long way to swim" and before I got to the first sight marker my arms were talking back to me and I was wondering if I could make it. I had a decent rhythm and felt good for a crappy swimmer like me. Again, my sighting was really spot on (even going into the sun on the back leg) and I was happy with my 35:18 swim which was 57 out of 128 in my AG. Even better considering I had swam more in the past two days than I had in the past 11 months. Thanks to my TYR Category 5, I was actually faster than I was last year!
I had a harder time getting the wetsuit over my ankles this time, which led to a sluggish 2:39 T1. I was off and riding though. The sun was coming out and the temps were mid to upper 50's. Not too bad.
I could tell right away that my legs were pretty shot from yesterday. I knew I had to take it easy and not kill my legs on the climbs or the run would be BRUTAL. It was tough swallowing my pride and letting people pass me on the bike, but I stuck to my goals. As the race went on the day just got more and more nice. The scenery out on this course is incredible! Taking my time a little more also allowed me to talk to some other riders out there which was fun...and new to me! I made it past the sight of last year's flat tire without issue and by mile 30 I had to do something I never did before...stop to pee. What a freaking relief! I grabbed a bottle of water and refilled the aerodrink at the first stop. I sipped on my EFS Liquid Shot throughout the race and generally I felt fine nutritionally, just an absence of my normal legs likely from the hard effort I put out the day before.
I was comfortable on my bike the whole ride and I even picked it up the last 10 miles or so. Those last few miles of uphills and false flats can really kill you mentally, but it is cool to get a look at the pro's and your competition as they take to the run course and you're finishing the bike.
Off the bike in a lackluster 2:50:52 for 19.66 average (didn't forget Garmin today, says over 3700' of climbing). Got my feet out quick and easy and had a good T2 (but more mentally confused than normal) at 1:12. Grabbed a flask of Wild Berry EFS LS and I was off.
It was starting to get hot and I was looking forward to getting a check on the run legs and getting some shade. I felt pretty good in the generally downhill first few miles but I could tell this was going to be a tough one. I ran with one of the pro women for the first 7 miles or so, she was a great, consistent runner and we agreed we'd help each other out as long as we could. We were constantly picking people off, but the cumulative effect of those short steep uphills early in the race was hitting me. By the time we reached the base of the long steady climb at mile 8 I told her to go ahead. I had consistently been hitting sub 7's, but that was getting tough.
There were plenty of aid stations so I took advantage of them, hit the shade as much as possible and kept sipping the Liquid Shot to keep my body stocked up. I knew I had a decent few miles ahead before the killer hill at the end. It was hot, I was sweating and my "good" miles were in the low 7's, but I was running out of steam. As I hit the base of the last hill I felt some tingling in my arms and I decided to stop and walk. I walked for 90-120 seconds and started chugging along again, finally cresting the top and finally hearing the announcer in the distance.
I reached down to slide my number around and realized that I had tucked my belt into my shorts after I stopped to relieve myself...and subsequently pulled my tri top up to show some belly! As I entered the chute I saw Lauren and the kids. They were cheering and told me they didn't want to cross the line with me....so I crossed solo. Run was 1:31:54, 7:01 average and less than a minute slower than last year. Garmin showed over 800' of climbing.
I was so glad to be done. Got the medal wrapped around my neck, a nice towel and headed under the tent to relax. Ended up 5:01:57, 27th/128 in my AG and just under a minute faster than last year. Considering that I had just bike over 82 miles, climbed over 5700' in elevation, run over 19 miles in 2:07 (6:35/mi avg) and oh yeah, swam 2.1 miles I was pretty happy!
I got some food, gathered up my stuff and took a little rest while the kids hit the last few rides. REV3 is nice enough to award my completion of the Challenge and said they were sending me something in the mail. Are they first class or what?
Overall just a great weekend. The whole family felt like they had the best weekend for their own reasons....great hotel, treated like a pro, seeing all the pro's, ton's of schwag, fun on all the rides and the list goes on. We'll be back next year!