Monday, June 15, 2009

Blue Lake Triathlon

This race is known as a fast & flat course. Unfortunately, I experienced more FLAT than fast.

I had a typical night of sleep. I woke up frequently and either drank or went to the bathroom. I finally decided to get up 30 minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off. I figured no reason to lay and stare at the ceiling anymore. I had 2 Boosts, got everything ready, and headed out the door.

We arrived at the site early with a line of cars. The gate was already supposed to be open. I decided to grab my bag and ride my bike over. It's funny how you run into people sometimes. Tim & Tracy were in the car right behind us. We chatted briefly then I rode out to transition. I was the first person body marked, so I took the end of the bike rack. The best place to be for a race.

Karen and me pre warm up. I'm not sure what I was looking at, but it must've been good. I had a good warm up on the Lynskey. About a mile away to transition, my bike kicked out a rock or something (I would pay for this later). I didn't think anything of it. I situated everything for the bike then headed out for a run with my Newtons. I felt very strong. Transition was all set up. I grabbed my Xterra Vendetta and headed to the water. The morning was nice and relaxed, no rushing.

My wave (30-39 males) started 1 minute behind the elites. I started out feeling okay. I thought my line was little off and made a few corrections. After the first turn buoy, I started getting into the race. I think it's funny how swimmers in earlier waves do not want to let you pass. Don't they realize you are swimming a lot faster than they are? There were no clocks posted anywhere, so I had no idea of my time (22:16). I was in & out of T1.

I am getting ready to take my first left out of the park when I feel my rear tire bouncing. I stop and notice the tire is low on air. Joy!!! Mental note: ALWAYS check tires before heading to swim. Have you ever tried to unscrew a valve extender when your hands are wet and there isn't a dry spot on you? It was so frustrating. At that point, I was contemplating quitting because I was so close to transition. I knew that was not an option until I had no resources left. The real problem was I could not use a tire lever because there was too much air in the tire, but not enough to ride. I grabbed a CO2 cartridge (Thanks Lee for telling us to take 2 just in case) and inflated the tire. I was getting ready to install the wheel when I hear POP. Can my day get any better?

Round 2 of flat repair. I had already put everything away, so I get to go through the same process twice. I grab the tire lever and get the tire open. I remove the tube. I go to release the valve extender and it pulls off the tube stem. Now I have the tip of the stem stuck in the extender. What can you use to unscrew something a couple mm long & wide? If you guessed teeth, you are correct. It actually took a couple of minutes because of the nylon tape that is designed to secure the extender to the stem. I screw the extender on the new tube, replace the tube, and close up the tire. I inflate and everything is ready to go. The guesstimate of time spent here was 10 minutes or so. I think they should put a sign up, Bruce's flat repair. I finally head out to start riding.

At this point I am fuming. There is nothing like being ready for a race and then have mechanical issues. This is 2 consecutive triathlons that I have flatted. At a Arizona it was the front tire and this time the rear.

The best part about changing a tire so close to transition is all the people riding by. My favorite line, "That sucks, dude." I put my head down and hammered. I made my right toward the industrial area and saw riders going left to the airport. It was a good feeling to pass them before the turn around since I figured they were at least 4 miles ahead of me. After the turn around there was a tailwind, so I am pushing big gears. I take a drink from the Aerocup and hear it is now empty. Only 8 miles to go with no more fluid. I know most of you are thinking, no big deal. If you didn't know it, I am a heavy sweater (the last sweat test I did was on a run at 7am and I lost 5lbs in an hour). Nothing I could do about it now. Will I pay for it on the run? I get my feet out of my shoes and prepare for T2. I am in and out. Bike Time - 1:09.04. I wished I would've timed the "play with my tire session".

I start the run feeling okay. My legs felt a little heavy. My hamstrings start cramping. Hmmm I wonder why. Oh yeah, I forgot to carry enough fluid on the bike. Did I push the bike too hard? The answer was absolutely, positively, yes. I had no gears on the run. I maintained the same pace throughout. Only one person passed me once I started riding my bike. He passed me around mile 5 and ended up with the second fastest run of the race. Run Time- 40:52. I finally crossed the finish line, super frustrated. Final Time - 2:15.17

I know I would've placed in the top 5 after seeing the results. I'll be back to fight another day!

Great job to everyone else at the race: Karen, Kurt, Ross, Tim, Jared, Lisa, & Megan.

The day wasn't a complete bust. I won $100. I predicted Jared would swim faster than Roger. Lee didn't believe it. Jared was too new to the sport. Needless to say, Jared out swam him by 1:45. Thanks Jared! I'll hook you up with a pair of drag shorts, so the rest of us can keep up.

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