There wasn't any fitness to gain in the 10 days leading up to the race. The key was to nail race pace efforts and not add any fatigue while keeping the workouts short. All of my swim workouts were great. I even swam 5200 yards in the Lake on Sunday and felt awesome. I knew I was going to have a great race until Tuesday morning. I ended up tweaking my back at work trying to move a security cover around. I hoped it was nothing. I tried to run that afternoon, but only managed 6 steps because of the extreme pain. I called my A.R.T. and she squeezed me in before they closed. I tried to swim on Wednesday and it was pathetic. I had to use the ladder just to get into the pool. I had to warm-up with open turns because I wasn't sure my back would cooperate with flip turns. Every time I pushed off the wall, pain radiated in my lower back. I could swim as long as I pushed off the wall gently. I swam the rest of the workout with a pull buoy. That afternoon I rode my bike. Surprisingly, I felt good on the bike and my back did not hurt. The only time it hurt was when I got off the bike and stood straight up. There was still hope that I might be able to race. Thursday morning I attempted a short easy run with the dogs. No pain. Everything was coming into place. Was this a sign that I needed to rest more before races? Before driving down to Bend, Oregon, I stopped in for one more visit with my A.R.T to make sure I was squared away then headed south. It was a nice drive down Highway 26 to 97.
On Friday, I linked up with Lindsey and her friend Matt, who was from Seattle. We rode over to the Web Cyclery to get her bike shifting fixed. It really sucks when you can't get into your big chain ring. Then finished up with a few minutes up toward Mt Bachelor before heading to packet pick-up. Along with our race necessities, we were given a bag, long sleeve technical shirt, cycling jersey and visor. I looked down at my watch and realized it was lunch time. I was standing in line to get a sandwich from Jimmy John's. Lindsey said she was going over for sushi. I love sushi, so quickly got out of line and headed over. The sushi was so good that I went back for dinner. After lunch I went back to the hotel to set-up all of my gear, so I could drop it off at both transition sites. I ended up taking the longer drive to the swim start at Cultus Lake. It is a must if you are ever in Bend. This ended up being the route for the bike back to Bend. I racked my bike and decided to swim without a wetsuit. The water was clear and the temperature seemed to be in the lower 60s. After 9 minutes of battling chop, I turned around and rode the current back. I dried off and heading back to town. It took me 30+ minutes to get warm from the swim. I even had the heat set at 80 in my car. Maybe the water was colder? I spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel. My support crew rolled in a little after 11pm. Thanks to the Schmitzs' for bringing my better half!
I woke up at 2am with stomach pains. This was a first. I fell back to sleep. I woke up an hour later in a hot sweat. I really started to question if I would be able to race. The alarm sounded at 5:05. My stomach still bothered me. I asked my wife to drive me to the race. I was not sure if I could even race. As we drove to the race, I glanced at the temperature gauge several times. It read 40, 28, 34 along the drive. Really?!? The stomach issue persisted. Would I even be able to race?
I pumped up the tires, placed my water bottles, and made sure everything would be ready to go. I was planning to ride with socks, so I left my shoes on the ground instead of clipping them to my bike with my socks stuffed inside. They decided to delay the start of the 250 racers because one of the buses got lost. They started them at 7:20. I went back to the car to warm-up and put on my XTERRA VENDETTA wetsuit. My wave was scheduled to start at 8:09. I had plenty of time to relax. Right?
SWIM - (28:23 my watch time, 29:06 actual time for 1.2 miles)
I swim out to the start and look up to see guys lined up. I assume it is 30 and under males because the time is 8:03. I hear the air horn and continue to swim closer to the start. Once I got close enough to the race boat, I yelled out, "Which age group?" A man yelled back, "Men 35&over." "CRAP!!! REALLY?!?" I sprint to catch-up to my wave. I actually felt good during the swim. After the turn around buoy I start to pick up the pace. One of the guys in my wave almost ran into me because he was on the wrong side of the buoys. I continue to swim along the buoys. I know I am only a couple hundred meters away from the swim exit. A kayaker comes up to me and points toward shore. I assumed we had to swim around the first buoy before heading to shore. Sure enough. I look to my left and see several swimmers nearing the swim exit. UGH!!! I break hard left and sprint the last few meters. I quickly exit and run past the wetsuit strippers to my LYNSKEY.
T-1 - (2:11)
I quickly take wetsuit off, put on my OAKLEYS/helmet, and slip my feet in to my cycling shoes. I chose not to use the socks. Good thing I put toe covers on my shoes before the race. I threw my wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, socks, gloves into the bag. Would I regret not putting my gloves on?
BIKE - (2:59. 22mph for 66.3 miles 3100+ft elevation gained and top speed of 49.7mph)
In the first 10 seconds, my hands started to hurt. I almost headed back to transition to grab the gloves. It didn't help that the first 10-15 miles were shaded with trees and very little sun. Luckily, my hands started to work again as the temperature warmed up. I passed a few 125 racers who started in earlier waves. It was very scenic and challenging ride. It started with flat to slightly rolling in the first 35 miles, then sustained longer climbing for the next 15, and finished with a long descent back to Bend.
- During the ride, I saw several squirrels and chipmunks. A total of 10 with 3 as road kill.
- I stayed on top of my hydration and calories. I drank every few minutes and consumed 5 bottles with 1300 calories.
- The only frustrating part of the ride was shifting from the small chain ring to the big. Several mechanics have looked at the bike, but can never find a problem. It only seems to happen as I am cresting a climb. Anyone have an idea?
- Only 3 guys passed me during the ride. Joel Maley (5th OA) passed me around 10 miles. I kept him in sight for the next 15 miles, but he eventually pulled away. Mark Loreen (8th OA) during the long climb between mile 40-50. I passed him back at the top of the climb. The last guy was part of a relay and he passed me in the last few miles in town.
- I averaged 30.8mph for 19.2 miles on the long descent.
T-2 - (51.56 seconds)
I jumped off my bike and ran into transition. My rack was second on the right. I quickly racked the bike, slipped my feet into my NEWTONS, grabbed my visor/water bottle, and headed out.
RUN - (1:16.00 7:52 per mile for 9.75 miles)
From the beginning of the run, my quads felt tight. I figured this would pass after a few minutes. Not a chance. The run started out flat in the first mile. Two racers passed me, a relay runner and Daniel Soper (6th OA). The next few miles had either short steep hills or longer not so steep hills. My legs were not happy, so I walked most off the steep hills and split the longer hills up into jog/walk/jog. I popped a salt tab to try and fix the legs. It made it worse as my legs cramped up. I drank extra fluid and the cramps faded. My legs finally loosened up in the last few miles as it was mostly downhill and flat. My legs cramped a little more in the last mile. I sucked it up and crossed the finish line.
I finished in 4:47.32 and 1st Age Group/7th Overall.
Thanks Karen for encouraging me to start the race!
I would definitely do this race again or even try the double distance.
My 2012 triathlon season is officially done. Thanks to all of my sponsors!!!