How can something so familiar be so different?
I toed the line at this race for the first time 10 years ago… and I’ve done almost all of them (it’s a three race series) since.
For only the second time, however, I’d be racing age group. The previous time I’d raced age group was to race my (then) boss head to head… now… for the first time I *had* to race age group as opposed to Clydesdale because I no longer qualified…
“Well that’s totally cool” you might say and… I’d partially agree… fact is, however, I’d gotten used to getting or at least competing for hardware.
It’s an ocean swim, and that’s really my only strong suit in swimming… the ocean is my friend… and I’m normally pretty good at navigating the breakers, spotting the buoys, and swimming a straight line in a choppy surf.
Yeah… I said normally… you see… I’d not placed a pair of goggles on my head since July of last year… and when I dove into the first wave, my left (buoy sighting) goggle half filled with water. The swim course was open box shaped… quite frankly I’m not exactly sure how I got from point A to point B. I think ended up swimming something shaped more like a house…
I was happy to get to the beach:
As soon as I clipped in… it was, as my redneck friends say, “on like Donkey Kong”.
The racecourse is a kind of out and back with a bridge in the middle. You non-flatlanders might call this a small hill… We are looking for KOM points.
I’ve pitched shutouts (not been passed) in this race more times than not in years past… but that was not that big of an accomplishment when I started in the next to last wave (just ahead of the novices) and I was one of the slowest swimmers to boot. Going off in wave #2 would make this a bit harder. All the way out to the turnaround, I passed a steady stream of riders. I knew that I was pushing it but… well it’s a race, right?
A mile or so past the turnaround… just as I was going through a roundabout, it happened… a guy on a Cervelo… Zipp wheels and aero helmet passed me… hmmm.. I thought I might have to let him go… not two bike lengths later a lady sped past too… great… chicked to boot..
They did not zoom on by but I did back off all legal like… We leapfrogged a time or two… then we hit the bridge…
I figured the two skinnies would leave me on the uphill… and they were both ahead of me at the base… I just kept spinning and upshifting… I felt a little rub, so I touched the front shifter and “clink” into the small chainring… didn’t mean to do that… nothing to do but pedal faster… so that’s what I did… at about 110 RPMS the rest of the way up the bridge… I passed both of the skinnies and gapped them pretty well by the top.
I went screaming down the other side as fast as my 194# would propel me and never saw either of them again… I think Cervelo guy is in the distance in this picture:
So… I get of the bike and even have a (for me) excellent T2… I hit the run and…. Mo is gone…
I, once again, rode a little too hard and was feeling a bit crappy… but that wasn’t it… I was in tourist mode… just running along…
like it’s a long training run or something… I was not racing anything… trying to PR… racing anyone… or for any hardware… so I just ran… I even stopped to pick up a pair of sunglasses someone dropped and turned them in to the aid station… at the run turnaround I snapped out of it a bit and chased down a few runners on the way back in
Well… I guess I’ll be back next month to try and run the tourist version of me into the ground.