|Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2016 at 5:00 PM|
The wind was howling, it was raining buckets, sticks and leaves were flying everywhere, bikes were jumping off the racks and the water looked like an oceanic storm had just swept across it. That was the environment I dropped my bike off in the evening before the race. It was kind of unnerving putting my bike on the rack and watching the wind carry it down to the end. I was hoping the people whose bikes were to be lined up next to mine would hurry up and get theirs in place to help secure mine. As the night wore on the thunder and lightning came and a tornado, yes a stinking tornado, actually touched down in the state park! I kept checking the Facebook group to see if there were any reports of bikes that had been sucked up or destroy or if the race is even still happening. Sometime around 8 PM it was declared that all the bikes were OK and the race to be happening as scheduled… What a relief.
I woke up at 4:30 to get the last of my goods into the car, grab some food and then meet my dad who took me into the state park. Rather than dealing with the shuttles or trying to park across the street or coordinate otherwise, we figured it be just as easy if my dad went into the state park with me and while waiting for the park to reopen he would walk around, ride his bike and do things like that. I was shocked by how clean and put together the park actually was. Not a stick was on the ground in transition or on the road way out of the park. After the normal hustle and bustle of checking the tires, taping nutrition down and slapping hands with friends I went back to the car and waited until 0810.
My time finally rolled around I was ready to go. My plan for this race, as the title indicates, was just to nail my pacing for my "A" race which is SavageMan. That lack of pressure allowed me to go into this fully relaxed and ready to enjoy the day. Not wanting to get the scrum which tends to happen during swim starts like this, I started towards the back of my heat. As always there was a mad dash at the front, but the line started to thin out and by the time I rounded the first buoy I had passed three quarters of my heat...but was then greeted by a face full of sun. I opted to go with my clear goggles because of how overcast it was…big mistake! The sun decided to come out and it was so bright I couldn't see a thing, so I came to a dead stop and tried to get my bearings. I decided it was best if I just kind-of stuck to a guy who was beside me, but had tented googles on and I was hoping that he could see where he was going. After a couple minutes I realize he was watching me and we both swam way off course! After a kayaker got us to turned back around, we managed to hustle to the second turn and then got straightened out from there. On my way in to the exit, a swimmer from the heat after me came barreling in elbowed me square in the face and swam over top like I wasn't even there… Got a love health physical aspect of these non-contact sports Upon reaching the swim exit I did a light jog up the grass and through the mud but did a slow walk once I got onto the pavement over to my bike.
Once there I grabbed my bike helmet, and race belt then briskly walked out. With my new rear hydration system I was a little nervous about my flying mount which I had only practiced a few times the day before but decided to go forward anyway. I did it and it worked out just fine. I decided to wait until I was out of the park to slide my feet into my shoes and fasten them. Once on route 23, I decided to open up and try to put as much distance between myself and everyone else there as quickly as possible. My goal was to ride with my heart rate at 130 bpm for the duration of the ride. During the early miles of the ride I allowed it to spike just over that to clear the early traffic. All was going well until around mile 21. The road started to turn rough and then all at once at mile 22 I heard the sound of something breaking. Due to a stiff neck I was unable to actually turn my head around so I decided to feel around as best as possible. At mile 22 all of my flat replacement stuff fell out of my water bottle cage. My tube, two CO2's, the inflator, the tire irons -EVERYTHING- and I wasn't even halfway through the ride! Because of the storms and having previously ridden this course I was worried about what the road head would be like. Fortunately there were no incidents and I didn't need any of that stuff anyway. The rest of the ride went pretty well and I was amazed by how much fan support there was out on the course. The aid stations were great but just random individuals up-to large groups at every corner; it was really cool to see.
There were a couple of times when a breeze picked up but otherwise riding conditions were ideal it was cool, the sun was shining and there was no humidity. It made a really enjoyable ride. There were a few flat sections where I was just clipping along and I happened to glance at my heart rate monitor and realized my heart rate had dropped down to 120, which was well below where I wanted to be. Looking back on it, I definitely could've ridden way harder, for way longer and probably still would have hit my target average goal of 130bpm. My only complaint with the bike course was right at the end when we got off the road and onto the bike path. It was less than a mile and probably should have been neutralized. There was barely enough room for two bikes to be side-by-side and yet they were people still trying to make passes just prior to the dismount line. ..
Running into T2 I was feeling good. my conservative riding left me feeling incredibly fresh and I speed-walked my bike to the spot quickly, put on my socks and shoes and was ready to go on the run. This course is an out and back lollipop with the pop being the loop and the stick being the out and back. My heart rate goal for this was to run the outer portion and the first loop at 150 bpm, regardless of how I felt. For part of the second loop I was going to increase my heart rate but keep it below 160. In doing so that would leave me approximately 3 miles to finish out, at which point I would take it up to about 170. Just like with the ride it was tough watching people blow past me knowing that I could go faster. That being said I kept telling myself "there is still a lot of race ahead and I'll probably pass most of them." The run itself was great and fairly uneventful. Every other mile I would take a lick of my salt and just a little hit of water and or Gatorade at the aid stations. The first loop went by and I was averaging right around 8:36 miles and then for the second loop that dropped down to about 8:15-8:20. I was feeling so fresh and so strong by mile 10 and my confidence was growing as I was passing several people who passed me on both the bike and the early miles of the run. With 3 miles to go I let loose and took off on all out sprint averaging 6:30 miles... it was awesome! There's a lot to be said about having a pace plan and sticking to it.
I'm really glad I was able to do this race in it's initial offering and to see the town of Delaware and the surrounding counties rise to the occasion. The environment was electric, the course was solid and all-in-all, I think everybody had a great experience. Without the ongoing support of my family, especially Kate and Henry for dealing with my training time and my dad for driving me there and wasting most of his day waiting for the park to reopen this day could not have been a success. Also a big thanks to Jimmy Fryer of the Human Form Fitness and Lauren Valley of Base Tri Fitness for getting my body back up and running after my early-season injury and illness situations. Building from the success here, I am totally stoked for Rev3 Cedar point and then SavageMan the weekend after!
Categories: Race Report