Long Course Race report
I had trained over the end of 06’ and start of 07’ to make Vineman 70.3 07’my first long course tri.
Tearing my meniscus in February 07’ and not getting it diagnosed and operated on until June 07’ made me ask Vineman for half of my entrance fee back.
I then asked myself, when is the next 70.3 in California? And that’s when I signed up for Wildflower 70.3 08’
After a lot of fun training over the end of 07’ and start of 08’ I was physically ready and looking for a good time. I also decided that if I did Wildflower in May, Vineman in July would also be reasonable and so I signed on to that one as well.
And then, like clockwork, two of my kids and I get sick two and a half weeks before Wildflower. That was right at the end of what should have been the hardest work leading into my taper.
It also left me on race day with some residual fluid in my lungs.
I then decided to change Wildflower from my A race to my C race and change my focus to having a fun time. An email from Roman Mica then gave me the idea to attempt the B-Fit B-day that had alluded me because of being time impaired from family and work. (who has five contiguous hours on a weekend that will work with SF Bay high tide tables?) I would already be at Wildflower with a few hours on my hands after the event waiting for the roads to open.
My parents rented a house in Paso Robles and we decided to make it a mini family vacation and I’d have a support crew that was twice the size of my normal crew. My dad would come with me in the morning and then drive home. He would also take digital pics and draw analog ones like this:
Which then became this:
Which looks strangely like this:
Except where it’s different. I’m the one in the purple cap. This is the start of the 35-39 male wave 3. Otherwise known as the dark purple wave.
The Swim started out pretty good. Even before it started I had some great camaraderie with my rack mates who became my new friends on the course. We all ended with similar times. Big shout out to the 990’s!
We shared stories about training and water temperatures. After explaining how 65 degrees is hot to me as I train in the SF Bay, I got to explain how I found out that peeing in your wetsuit is okay, as long as you are actually in the water.
Otherwise, people will notice as wetsuits, unlike dry suits, will allow water to pass through their neoprene, if you know what I mean.
The next funny thing that happened to me was also before the swim started. About three minutes before our launch, a guy in a purple cap and wetsuit walked up to me and said “How much do you weigh?”
“Uh, 225.” I think I was too shocked to ask why he was asking about that beer bulge sticking out of my wetsuit until I turned and saw who I was talking to.
“Yea, this sport wasn’t invented for Clydesdales like us.”
“No it wasn’t.”
“Heh, good luck, let’s take it too em!”
The swim is the easiest for me. I have an efficient stroke I worked out over fifteen years of competitive swimming. I don’t really have to train for it and I can cruise through it at a slightly higher than resting heart rate.
That was my plan.
The only funny thing about it was my tracking.
I purposely hung to the left and went a bit wide on the first right turn to avoid the pack of non-swimmers kicking and hitting each other.
After that I picked a straight line to the turnaround floatie while 95% of the other racers hugged the buoys. I had to swim off my straight line a few times to avoid surfers and kayakers who wanted me closer to the herd.
I think I swam an extra 50 yards from three such corrections.
I didn’t let it bother me too much though. Whenever I started to get frazzled, I’d say to myself, “Floating in this cool water has got to feel a million times nicer than I will in the hot sun later going up some stupid hill.”
When I got out of the water I was pleased to be able to jog to my rack breathing normally and be the first in my area to get there. I was joined shortly after by the German whose name I can’t remember.
I enjoyed most of the bike ride.
I was riding at a similar speed with the guys who got onto the bike about the same time I did.
Climbing away from the lake and on Nasty Grade were climbs, but nothing like Palomares or the Oakland/Berkeley hills I trained on in preparation.
At one of the first aid stations while still on G14 I saw my first calamity.
I’d grabbed a water bottle to douse myself and was in the process of throwing it into the recycle bin as a bottle that had been dropped on the road found its way under my back wheel, which bounced me almost into a guy who had one of those twin bottle holders on the back of his seat, which I bring up because two miles later he hit a bump or something and both his bottles flew off at me like depth charges. Luckily I was twenty feet back from him and the bottles headed to the sides.
Most of the ride is flat and straight.
It was near the end, after turning back onto G14 from G19 when my bike ride stopped being fun.
My lower back tightened up and I had to stand up every mile just to stretch it.
I was glad to get to transition and start the run because it wouldn’t hurt my back anymore.
And then I sat down in transition to change shoes which was fine and all, until I stood up.
My back had completely frozen.
The first two miles of the run were quite painful. Each mile after the Nasty Climb of mile four got better and better.
And then I was running by the third Clydesdale of the day to voice support for all our kind.
“Clydesdales are on the move, repeat, Clydesdales are on the move…”
The only thing I hated on the run was the out and back around mile 10. It was just deceptive, I thought it was shorter and then I was running downhill thinking about how once again I’d have to run back up hill.
At least I beat the red sox fan that I was stuck to for a few miles.
The last mile was just great. Just like short course, you get to fly effortlessly down lynch hill to the finish, zip up your short, tighten your hat and go for your photo op at the finish.
Yes, I am giving the guys yelling “IPA! IPA! IPA!” the hook’em horns sign.
And there were a lot of IPA and A’s fans, especially in the campsites yelling encouragement like that.
My crew watched me cross the finish line and then decided they’d never find me at the finish like we’d previously arranged.
I was then free to go to the transition area and not find them by there either.
I was about to flake on the additional B-Fit B-Day swim until I was picking up my stuff and another racer came by with a small cooler and offer me a beer because he had seen my jersey on the ride and thought it was really cool and wanted to offer me a beer.
I drank it and the German offered me something like Ben Gay to make my back and knees feel better.
It was set, I didn’t have to leave because the crew I’d found out later had gone back to our car to drink the beer we’d brought. (btw, I have not yet found out why they stopped selling beer the weekend of Wildflower at Lake San Antonio, maybe that’s what fueled naked aid station?)
(Not naked aid station)
I’d go down to the water and finish the swim.
I don’t know why, but I felt like I was banditting the swim. I wasn’t the only one to wade into the water, but as I passed the end of the dock thing on the right, I was sure that at any moment a boat would pull up and kick me out of the lake.
I stuck to the right side of the swim course close to the land to seem less conspicuous.
This time my tracking was all about looking around for those boats that wanted to kick me out.
After the first few hundred yards, as soon as I could, I started swimming faster like I do when I’m fearing shark attacks.
When I got to the end of the swim course I changed plans. Originally, I was going to head back and then eat lunch and then come back after to swim the additional .6 miles to complete the B-Fit B-Day requirements. Once out there, I decided, there was no way I was coming back out to get arrested later, I’d swim another .3 miles out and finish it now, and then immediately start drinking beer later. (Instead of lunch, that could wait.)
I’m pretty good at eyeballing distances, and picked a tree shorter than a half mile further up the lake. (At the time I thought it was almost insight of the co-ed volunteer beach with their sunbathing crew. Later calculations said that was an additional half mile or so further.)
After turning around my stroke was relaxed again and I was starting to seriously hope for that boat to come by and pick me up and kick me out of the lake.
I drifted off to other things like choking on bad breathes while looking up into the sun the wrong way and $20 seven way parlay bets.
And then the dock thing was in view which seemed to slow everything down as I started looking up to track every six feet.
Walking back up the ramp felt great. Besides not being arrested, my core temp was low and I really didn’t want a towel. (I’d left the wetsuit at transition)
Luckily there was just enough sharpie tattoo on my biceps to get me back into transition. (The borrowed champion chip had been cutoff at the race finish.)
Why is it that my wetsuit is the only wetsuit to erase all of those? I may never know the answer to that one.
Which lead me to my next challenge.
The Hardest Part of Wildflower
Pushing a bike and all your gear up the dirt walking trail that is parallel to Lynch Hill.
But I did make it.
I found my dad and thirteen year old relaxing at the car and asked the most important thing of the weekend.
“Are there any beers left?” (this is calbeers.com after all)
“Excellent!” I opened one and started drinking it while I moved my gear into the car.
“Let’s get out of here. “ I said, the roads had been open for hours.
I may have been delirious, but my memory and other evidence say that my dad let me drink my next beer(s) in the passenger seat of the car as we drove out.
Although that couldn’t be possible because that would surely be against the law...
Thanks again Girls Gone Wildflower!