|not a bad setting for a race!|
As the AFA is only a few miles from my home and I need to be logging in lots of miles on my bike, it made sense to just ride there. So I got up at 6am (yes! finally a race that isn't a 4am wake-up call!) and finished up my race morning preparations. A breakfast smoothie of plain Generation UCAN, 16oz water, 1/2 scoop whey protein, cocoa, a banana, and some peanut butter - all that blended up gave me plenty of energy for the race. I double checked my bags, put on my jacket, strapped on my transition backpack and headed out. I left the house around 7:00 and was at the race site by 7:30. Riding there also allowed me to preview some of the hills that I would experience on the course.
I got my packet, set up my bike, and headed inside the natatorium. It was a pool swim in their newly remodeled facility. The first wave was to go off at 8:30 and it was going to be the women and relays. They had 16 25yd lanes with two per lane. Before the start I was just chilling by the pool side, feeling a bit tired from my last week of training and the 12ish miles I ran Friday night. But they called us up and I hopped in the pool. My lane-mate was Colleen, and I would see her later.
When the horn went off, I had resigned to not push too hard, but rather to keep my form as solid as possible. Colleen got a bit ahead of me, and ended up about a lap and a half ahead. But I felt good with my swim (no real warm-up) and after the first 500 yards (haha) I was settled into a comfortable pace. It was 825yd (750m) swim, so 16.5 laps of the pool. The race had lap counters (but I counted myself as well) and when I did expect it, the kickboard was in the pool, indicating I just had 25yds to go. So I pushed to the other end of the poll and climbed out as best I could. I had left my flip-flops, a small towel and my jacket on the side of the pool, grabbed them and dried off a little with the towel.
T1: 1:24 I walked quickly to transition and got ready to hop on my bike. It was a windy, windy day, but warm enough to not need a jacket. So all I really did was put on my helmet, shoes, and head out.
|glad I used this bike!|
Winds coming out of the west, and it seemed all the uphills were west. Here's my bike GPS data. Yeah, about 1300ft of gain in 12 miles. It started with a nice little climb before we screamed downhill. Then some more climbs. As I passed a couple people heading out onto the course, I noticed a girl in her big chain ring. This race does get a few cadets doing their first race, and I felt bad if she was going to grind the whole way, so I suggested she shift into a smaller one. She thanked me as I passed her by (I do hope she knew how to shift!) I am certainly glad I used my road bike with compact gearing, as the TT bike would have been a bit useless going 7mph up a hill. Half-way through the first lap I eyed a guy ahead of me in an Army kit and I wasn't too far behind. My plan was to catch him, and I did just as we started the second lap. I screamed down the hill a second time and started the climb back up. A couple guys passed me at this point, but I think those were the only people to pass me on the bike. On the second lap I passed a lot more people out there, but they were most likely on their first lap. A couple folks were walking up the steep hills, and I offered them words of encouragement, and always as I passed folks. The cadet volunteers were at every turn clearly indicating which way to go and giving positive words. When I came to the turn to head back to transition, I was glad to be done with the bike, but I knew the run wouldn't be easy, either. I misjudged the distance back to transition and slowed down to take my feet out of my pedals way too soon. So the Army Guy caught back up to me. Phooey! :)
The grass was still soggy as I ran barefoot back to my transition spot. I had to wipe my feet off before putting on my socks and shoes. I grabbed my garmin wrist strap, pulled the unit off my bike (thank goodness for quick release), hat, race belt, gels...it was a bit of a juggling act making my way out and I almost went the wrong way (but the volunteers were there to get me in the right direction!)
GPS data. Another hilly course. As I started on the run, I saw a woman a bit in front of me. She looked familiar and it turned out to be Colleen, the woman I shared a lane with for the swim. She was in my sights and my plan was to just slowly reel her in. I made ground and by the 2nd aid station around mile 2, she was closer. But she realized I was chasing her down so she pushed the pace a bit. My strategy here was a little off...I should have tried to catch her sooner and not at the end. When we hit the track, the last time I did this race we had a lap of the track and then the straight-away to finish. This time the finish was just the straight-away...so I didn't turn it on until it was too late. 17s was all that she was ahead. I should have tried to catch her by mile 2 and then pushed to stay ahead and gain a lead. Oh well -next time!
|Finish line on the blue track|
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I was pretty exhausted, but still had an endurance ride to do. So I changed, ate a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and headed out on the TT bike for 3 hours...