Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mooseman race report

It is long! Caution!

Mooseman 70.3

Swim 100/m T-1 Rank Bike Mph T-2 Rank Run
Pace Overall
32:30 1:41 2:30 539 3:24:50 16.4 1:14 437 1:55:30
8:50 5:56:32

So, first off, I want to comment about how different this race was
from the last 70.3 that I did, all the way back in April 2009, down in
NOLA. What an incredibly different event! All together. Not only
the way that I ended up running the race, but also the location and
the technicality of the course. Before you judge my splits (aka: my
bike time), know that in many ways, this was far harder than NOLA, in
terms of the challenge of the course.

Going into it, I knew that it was going to be exceptionally
different. For two reasons: first, because I barely remember what it
would feel like to run a 70.3, and the plan was actually there. The
training was there, and the training was different. And that leads
into point number two: This year, I am a coached athlete. And what
does that mean? I guess it puts me into the ranks of someone who has
someone else, who (thankfully!) knows way more about this sport than I
do, telling me what to do. In training. In racing. Someone to hold me
accountable. And, I was excited about that.

I headed down to NH on Friday afternoon, and we got there late-ish.
My friend was running late on the pickup, and we got there close to
dusk, so my 30 min continuous open water swim which was supposed to
take place on Friday, didn’t happen until Saturday. We set up our
little tent, and I was so thrilled that I was at an event that
included both camping and triathlon. Two of my favorite things in the
world. Friday night, I barely slept. I think it was the excitement.
Or, maybe it was that horrendous thunderstorm that rolled through. You
know. The one that made the olympic distance become a duathlon, and
make all the 70.3 participants worry about what conditions were going
to be the next day. Right. That one. Woke up Saturday morning, and
made our way to the Hebron Community Church, which just happens to
have a “community breakfast” on the first Saturday of every month.
Yes friends, apparently, the itsy bitsy sign we saw on the lawn was
correct: on Saturday, from 700-8:45, hot pancakes, eggs, english
muffins, hot cereal, coffee... Everything you can ask for, was
provided for 4$ pp. Much better than the 11$ breakfast the ironman
sponsored site was offering. *sigh* heaven in breakfast.

Rest of the day was normal race prep stuff. Went for my swim, once the
weather cleared up, and thought “Dang. I wish that I had more
opportunities for open water, wetsuit swimming... I have forgotten how
different it is than pool swimming, and how my shoulders feel.” And,
in addition, this was where the bike “Complications” started. When
riding around in circles, I was noticing that my front derailleur was
not as responsive as I would like. That every once and a while, I
would shift, it wouldn’t switch chain rings, and the chain would get
jammed. And so I thought “okay. Mental note. Get this looked at in
the morning, while you are buying a waterbottle cage.” Also drove
part of the course. Wanted to see what this infamous hill was like.
Hmmm. Maybe ignorance was bliss. But, on the otherhand, knowledge
may be power. That is a big frickin hill.

Slept much better on Saturday night. Well. That is, after I emptied
my bladder.

Race morning arrived at 5am with dry weather, and beautiful sunrise
“YES! We get to swim!” and, it was neat, seeing all these triathletes
roll out of their tents and do the race morning thing. Grabbed
breakfast (banana, two english muffins, protein drink, and started
gatorade sipping) and a coffee from my south african superstar
neighbors. Made way to the course. Everything was pretty smooth for
the morning, except for the long line to get into transition.
Derailleur adjusted? Check. T set up? Check. Dry clothes bag checked
in? Check. Good to go. :)

Swim: Fairly uneventful. The Plan was the first 400 to get out early.
Start hard. Then find pace, find a pair of feet. Don’t wear a watch:
don’t stress over your time. I don’t know if it was that I started off
*too* hard, or what. But, that first 1/4 of the swim was tough. I
was moving along with another girl, and then I had to say: okay. Let
her go. You are started to get a little panicy. There were probably
two times in that first 1/4, where I had to do a little breast stroke,
have a little rest, and say “Okay. Get your head around this. Relax,
and swim like you know how do. Don’t worry about time. Just swim.”
and, it was at that point, where I found a pair of feet. It was neat,
because, like my coach says, just off to the side, at about the calfs,
is perfect. For me, The biggest thing was that I didn’t have to fight
the bubbles, and not seeing. And, I liked that. Lost her for the
last 10th or so, because all of a sudden, she seemed to be taking a
bad course. So, I thought: screw it, I am in a good rhythm, I can go
faster if I just b-line to T1. Water temp was great, and water was
nice and clear.

T1: wetsuit strippers took longer than I would’ve liked to get my suit
off. My bike was racked at the very end of a rack. Very convenient.
So wet: arm warmers? Definitely. But, ridiculously hard to get them
on, when you are wet. Ran out, in the socks, through the mud. Is
this a cyclocross race?!

Bike: well, this, my friends, is when the proverbial shit hit the
fan. Started off good. Told myself to slow down. You have to climb
that thing twice. At this point, the rain started to fall. We were
told that there was going to be radar on the course, during the
downhill, so that people didn’t speed. “Take every turn like a
hairpin.” all I gotta say, is that I think I am really thankful that
I was riding my sweet-baby-blue-cyclocross bike which happens to have
disc brakes. Which happen to be way better than normal brakes in wet
and grimy weather. But.... I also gotta say that it was amazing how
many curse words can be muttered (or, in fact) stated loudly, by
triathletes on that hill. Mary said “don’t stand up, if you don’t
have too.” oh, I had too. First time around, I knew this was going
to be amuzing. It became an exercise in watching how many people
would be going too slow that they just fall over. Or how many people
where on the side of the road for one mechanical or another. In
addition, my beloved downhills couldn’t be as rocking as desired, due
to the radar. And the rain. And the fact that I didn’t want to kill
myself and fall around slick corners. But, after the up, and the
down, the “flat came.” the first time ‘round, well, let me tell you
about the woman who turned out of a gas station and almost killed me.
Yeah. That was fun. Didn’t expect to be slamming on my brakes for
that reason. Continue along, trying to shift between my large and
small ring in the front. nothing. Its trying. But nothing. Try
again, when peddaling faster. nothing. shit. well. At least I am
stuck in the small ring, and not the large one, to climb that hill...
Then hill the second time. Down hill second time, same as the first.
Then, whamo. I think “gee, that is a weird sound coming from my front
wheel.” (as I look down and check it...) nothing. Sound continues.
Look down again. Flat. Ughghghgh. First time in my life that I have
gotten a flat while riding. Lucky I brought my flat kit, and some
CO2. I inflated the tube a bit to get it aligned in the tire... OH.
Too much! Dang it. I better not have blown my canister. and. Due
to the wetness, my fingers get freeze burnt while filling the tire.
But. Fairly fast change. Watch girls in my age group ride away, and
others ride by.

I realized far before my flat, that I was not going to make my
projected time. But, I was feeling okay. I was feeling that my
pacing was good, despite the fact that I was way behind time wise.
There was so much that happened that I couldn’t have helped (but,
mental note. get my shift cables changed), and it was pretty hard to
maintain a positive attitude on the bike (which is wierd for me,
because I *love* the bike. It is sexy to me). The bike was hard. It
was technical, and that hill was from hell (including an individual at
the top, dressed like satan, dancing to top 40 hits).

T2: damn fast. That is all I gotta say about that.

Run: well. La dee da. Look what I did, coach: I 85% nailed a run off
my bike. It took me 2 miles to find my legs, and during those 2
miles, I did not feel light on my feet at all. But, after that, it
was great. The first 2/3’s at least. I felt strong. Good
technique. Nailing the splits set out for me. Even a little faster:
and maybe that “little faster” was not quite what I should’ve done.
But, it felt like I was going to be able to keep that. I didn’t start
feeling bad until about mile 9. My head started to remind me that I
was feeling a little dehydrated by a little creeping headache. But,
still okay. Mile 10 and 11 where hard. I walked a bit (like, up one
little 30 m ridiculously inclined hill), and at the start of mile 11
for 25 seconds. I tried to keep the pace up, but at this point,
seemed impossible. I would allow the down hills to carry me, but, the
up hills where hard. At mile 12, it was go time. (As if it had not
been go time all morning. But, if it had not been, it was now...) hit
that last mile fairly strong. And, glad I had a good run.

At least it made up for the bike. And... What the crap. Even with a
horrendous bike time... 8th out of fifty something in my age group.
That is a pretty good result. And, I am writing this in the car on
the way back to montreal right now. And, I wish I had the ability to
move my legs. Sitting in a car sucks right now.

Last point. When I entered this race, I said “if I make the top 10 in
my age group, I will spend the money to enter another 70.3 this year,
and see if I can get a roll down spot. If I don’t make it, I will
race in ottawa and save the 100$.” now that happened... Well... I
gotta makes some decisions. What does coach think. What does my tax
return think? Hmmm. To be determined!!!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Nice race! Even with the bike troubles. :)