Ironman 70.3 Raleigh Recap + life

It is simply incredible how a portion of your life can just fly by. The days, weeks, and hours are all the same standard sets of time but one day you finally sit down to write a blog post and you shake your head wondering where all the time has gone. Well I’ll tell you where it has gone… into the fun bin. Ok, I have no clue what that means but I have been having such a whirlwind of a good time the past few months it’s incredible. My whole life has changed right before my eyes and I haven’t wasted a second so far. My Raleigh race… was more of a waste of time unfortunately. So I guess I’ve had 4.5 hours of disappointment in the past month, ha.

The pre-race

All smiles before RaleighMy lead up to Raleigh was anything but optimal. In reality, my training as a whole has been anything but optimal since April. With bi-weekly trips out of town with Christa leading up to this race it was hard to get any consistent training in. THEN, one week from the race we spent the day packing a moving truck only to drive it 9 hours on the following Tuesday from Buffalo, NY down to hot and humid (and amazing) Richmond, VA to set up our new homestead (and by homestead I mean apartment in a ginormous complex). We packed on Sunday, moved on Tuesday, ushered parents off on Wednesday, and drove to Raleigh on Saturday. Yeah… totally ideal for my second professional race. Originally I was supposed to race Rev3 Quassy this weekend which obviously had to change because the weekend could no longer be an ‘A’ race nor could I travel too far. We had to be back Sunday after the race because Christa started her new job the following Monday! Great Golly miss Molly! Yay Christa!!

So the week of the race was filled with box opening training and a short ride or run. I swam… zero times. Boo hiss to that. The weekend of the race was pretty nice though; we had the car all packed up, made it to Raleigh with no issue and got to spend some time vegging at the expo before the pro briefing. I must say the pre-race meeting for pros is ALWAYS more colorful than any age group briefing I’ve ever been to. I love going to these briefings… actually I always did, you never know what good tidbits you will learn about the course that can help come race day.

Post briefing Christa and I made our way to the T2 (T1 and T2 were split for this race about 35 MINUTES drive from each other: BE PREPARED) to rack my bike and take in the sights of the swim. Transition was the long, narrow type on pavement which means a good deal of barefoot-pavement enjoyment. The swim was a triangle out from shore and everything looked very straight forward.

The evening before the race consisted of eating at this fantastic Italian place (that I can’t remember the name of), hanging with Christa’s aunt and uncle and going to bed! Done and done.

Race morning

Easy Peazy. Wake up at 4ish AM, eat some oatmeal with Chia seeds, honey, and a cut up nanner (my every day breakfast) plus a granola bar and a few fist fulls of Christa’s homemade rice krispie treats!! Although I love a breakfast like this I’m deciding to add more protein next race. Next was the drive downtown and park in one of the many parking ramps. Toss Zoot shoes/FreeSpeed Visor/Smith Optics Sunglasses/Bottle full of Powerbar Gels all down at my transition 2 spot and hop a bus to T1. If you want to make it to T1 early you have to leave your support crew behind, athletes only on the buses for the first 30-45 mins. The bus ride to T1 was uneventful if you don’t count the 4 times our bus driver attempted to make a wrong turn while all the locals on the bus started screaming directions at him. Not sure where the driver man came from but he sure and sh*t wasn’t awake!!

At T1 I pumped up my tires and lent my pump to TJ Tollakson (OMG!!!) amongst many others… until it broke, lol. Sweet! Christa made it on a later bus just in time to chill with me while I warmed up and got in my Profile Design Marlin wetsuit.

Swim

I can’t open water swim any more. The swim was a triangle, as previously stated, and for the first leg I was sitting pretty in a huge pack. Then I kept my head down too long and veered right. ANDDDDdddd I lost half the pack. Then I did it again. And again. And again. I can swim with the pack until I don’t sight often enough and then I steer away from them like a very slow thinking swimmer and end up all by myself. Very frustrating. I have the fitness to swim with the field I just can’t swim well in open water right now. Swimming in open water prior to your race really has its advantages.

The water was… gross and dense and thick with terrible color. Most triathlon swims seem to be this way though, rarely are we given swim locations with nice, clean water, lol. Such is life! The water was a bit choppy but nothing unmanageable. Swim exit was pretty easy to sight from the water, especially with lots of guys getting out of the water ahead of me! I used the last leg of the swim to catch back up to a long line of pros and came out of the water second last pro. Terrible, terrible, bad. I must work on this.

T1

Running the length of transition was fine. Got the wetsuit off quickly and then realized I had taken my T1 bag out of T1 that morning… I didn’t have anywhere to put my wetsuit so it would get back to me. Quick thinking had me running over to a volunteer with my wetsuit asking if I could toss it in the barrel pros could toss there T1 bags in to. He was cool enough with it and Christa ended up showing up just in time to grab it from him anyway. Good mental error resulting in a solid waste of time in T1.  That is, honestly, the first time I’ve ever done anything like that in a race. Bone head move on my part. OK lets ride! Giddy up!!!

Bike… or flat

Less than 1 mile into the bike portion of the race I flatted. I should rephrase that. Less than 1 mile into the bike portion of this race my tubular tire let go of all it’s pressurized air because it had a MASSIVE gash in it. WTF!? Where in holy helicopters did that come from? FER CEREAL!?!?!?!?! Yes, fer cereal. OK, let’s eat some cereal and think about this. I didn’t have any cereal but I could have used some at that moment. To my utter disbelief I did not freak out. I was actually much calmer than I was before the race even started. My day had essentially ended and I was totally OK with figuring it out to get back in the thick of things.

First idea. I shoved my can of ‘fix-a-flat’ into the valve stem and gave that a whirl. The next part was comical. As all the pro women were flying by me I had a rear wheel spewing fun-fetty out of it. The ‘flat preventing junk’ I ride with in my wheels didn’t help nor did ‘fix a flat’ (Note: I’m not saying the brand names because I still like the products but don’t feel like giving them bad press and whatnot). Blast! I don’t bother carrying a spare tubular because it takes me too damn long to take my tubies off PLUS I’m not really interested in riding a tubular that is not properly glued to a tubular wheel. No thanks. Tubulars really do offer better flat protection and ride-ability under most flat situations but not this time. Second idea time. Walk back to T1 and find the SAG vehicle for a new rear wheel. I started my backward walk to T1 and waved to all the women offering me CO2 and tubes. THANK YOU to every pro women who offered help, I really appreciated it. Somewhere in the ballpark of 15 minutes after I flatted I received a new rear wheel from a SAG tech. Thank you INSIDE OUT SPORTS for supporting the race and letting me use a wheel.

OFF TO THE RACES! I tried to ride as hard as a damn could from there on out without totally killing myself. I wanted to see if I could find anyone….anyone….Bueller…..Bueller…. no. I passed a good deal of the pro women but no men to be found. I rode watts way out of my mind and actually biked a really solid split on my watch but I was a good 2-3 miles behind anyone when I got to T2. Sad face. Obviously I biked the slowest pro male bike split and came into T2 dead last in my race.

As far as the course goes. Beautiful! The on course support from all these random neighborhoods we rode through was incredible too. Folks were everywhere with cowbells and noise makers. I’ve been to very few races where the community made me feel so welcome. Thank you Raleigh and surrounding areas peeps.

Runnin runnin and runnin runnin

I took off like a bat out of hell, again. This would not be such a good choice on the run as it was on the bike. Essentially it went like this, I ran hard until my HR said I was going to explode then I would walk a little until the HR dropped again and begin to run. I wasn’t a factor in the race, I wasn’t even catching anyone so I took the opportunity to do a fartlek run of sorts so I didn’t crush myself for training moving forward. I walked most aid stations, enjoy the surroundings, and was able to say thank you to all sorts of wonderful volunteers. Mind you this was no cake walk, it was plenty hot out and I was hurting but I made sure not to bury myself because I wasn’t getting anything out of the race at this point besides more fitness. I didn’t bike with a plan after my flat so I couldn’t run with a consistent plan due to pushing so hard. Whatever, it was a beautiful day and I was in a triathlon, life could have been much worse at this moment in time. I finished my run pushing the last 5k and negative splitting a slow 1:35 run split. A great training run off the bike though.

Finish

The slow finish!Dead last pro male. I really hope I don’t see too many more of these. I’d like to be able to give an honest effort in some races this year. BUT I was probably due for a good flat on the bike. I hadn’t flatted in a race in 4 years and no flats so far this year in training. I can live with that. The finish line was nice with a giant street-wide finishing chute with lots of cheering spectators. I was pretty dehydrated afterward and medical was very helpful and accommodating too. Post race food was good, they actually had gluten-free pizza which blows my mind.

Other thoughts

No shade downtown. Christa was baking waiting for me. That seemed very rough. T1 and T2 were so far away the bus ride back for spectators took a solid hour. Yes, 1 hour. That’s insane and a giant waste of time and gas in my opinion. The logistics of the race really sucked that way.

My race was not what I was hoping or looking for based on my training. The swim could have been good if I could sight better. Must work on that. I had a great ride after the flat. Obviously that isn’t reflected in the race results but I’m happy about how I rode. My run was moot, I didn’t care about the time I just wanted a good workout at that point. I placed last and still had a good time. I’m happy with my day considering the circumstances. It is what it is. Roll with those punches.

Thank you!!!

Christa. Thank you for everything, always and forever :)

Mom, Bobby, Amanda, Ted, Carol, Niki, Lisa, Greg, Stacy, Andy, you, her, him, them, and all the names I’m too slow to remember right now. I appreciate everyone’s messages, emails, and texts. Every single word helps the whole way. Thank you for everything and all the support everyone. It nice to know even when I’m dead last everyone is still super pumped for me. It’s a good feeling that helps me keep going every day.

Ryan Bates and USProTri! None of this is possible with out an amazing team with amazing sponsors. It’s a pleasure to race and train with all the team sponsors: Zoot, Profile Design, Kurt Kinetic, Smith Optics, Champion Systems, Kenda, Limar and Selle SMP, and Powerbar!!

Jeff and FreeSpeed Sports. Having hometown guys in your corner is always the best. Thank you for always pulling for me, getting me all the stuff I need, and being awesome!!

Next up in Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 this coming Sunday. Looks to be sunny, hot, and full of rollers….and history! ;)

Today is a good day!!

One response

  1. Daaammnnnnnn son. I need to write down your revised race schedule so I can at least cheer you on from a distance. I can’t believe you’re in VA, still boggling the mind. Not to mention that OTHER THING!!! Is it a secret? haha! I don’t know why it would be but I don’t want to blow it up if it is…. I’m so happy for you! (:

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