Just a little background on this race. The Duck Bill Thrill is the ONLY local triathlon in the immediate area. This is the second running of the event and is organized and run by the University of Oregon Triathlon Team. It IS a USAT sanctioned event AND a qualifier for nationals. Having said that... it was small. Only 99 individuals ran the Olympic distance event and there were 4 or 5 relay teams. My AG was the largest, with a field of 17 from all over the Northwest. Small, fun race.
The race location at Fall Creek was about an hour's drive from my house... and I was picking up Scott... so I got up at 4 am to eat and complete the three "S's". Transition opened at 6 am and I'm still rookie enough to want to be there WAY early. We actually got there early enough to preview the bike route one more time. This is the first time I've previewed a bike course before a race... and it was REALLY helpful! Got everything set up in transition, did a 10 min warm-up run then dawned the wetsuit 30 min before race start. The water was chilly... low 60s but I got used to it during warm-up in the water.
Two loops of 750m each. TINY buoys marking the course so sighting was an issue from the get-go. I lined up to the front left ready to go. Gun goes off and of course... the chaos of a mass-start! I sprinted the first 300m and then settled into my pace. The plan was to find my rhythm in the first loop then push hard in the second. Tried to find feet but to no avail... I just struck out on my own. Here's the lessons learned for me. My form drastically falters in open water. My breathing is erratic and one-sided every other stroke... unnecessarily so. I didn't feel comfortable until the beginning of the second loop. Here's the thing. I didn't push. I didn't step out of my comfort-zone and go hard. I'd attribute it to lack of experience... but that only gets me so far. Excuses are like assholes right?... except less stinky. I just didn't go hard enough. I'd even say that I went into the swim overconfident and not counting on the field being as strong as it was. It's ok. I learned a lot! Which is the point of the first race of the season. The swim was LONG too! Based on my time I was swimming a 1:52/100m. That's just plain SILLYNESS! Open-water or not... if I'm swimming a 1:17/100yds in the pool without a wetsuit AND crappy open turns... my pace should have been faster. Talking to people after the race, we're all convinced that the course was 300-400 m long. How that happened I dunno. BUT... it is what it is right Sarry?
Pretty quick. My bike fell over. ROOKIE! When it fell... my gel flask went flying and I couldn't find it... oh well... took off without it and decided to rely on what was in the one bottle on my downtube... CarboPro and Nuun. Yeah... mistake.
This was a hilly course... and my plan was to attack... everything... all of it. Tired of making excuses for my twigs... it was time to go. Hit my powertap and was off. The roads were still a bit wet from the previous night's rain, (more on that later), which made me somewhat apprehensive during a pretty technical 2 mile downhill... but it worked out just fine. After that section, the middle 12 miles or so were rolling hills with no wind! It was nice to be able to hammer and hold a steady pace throughout that section. At this point in the course I was battling it out with two young kids... yeah... kids. One from Stanford and the other from Oregon State University. I kept thinking, "How the HELL do these college kids afford bikes like THAT!?" Freakin bastards had PC3s and Zipp wheel-sets. Seriously. The Stanford kid couldn't hold the pace and dropped back. Then a fellow LifeCycle guy, Eric, came SCREAMING by on his new Specialized Transition. He gave me a couple of words of encouragement and took off. I went with him and held for a good... ohhhh... 2.4387421 miles... then he was gone. So was the kid from OSU. I mentally waved goodbye and settled in. I was completely alone and forcing myself to stay focused and not enjoy the absolutely gorJESUS scenery! Also at this point I was really really REALLY wanting some fuel. DAMNIT! I wish I had a gel! The last 8 miles or so consisted of some pretty long and intense climbs. The thing that was new to me? I was PASSING people going UPHILL! I couldn't freakin believe it! That has NEVER happened! Usually I only pass people going downhill... the weight of my bike carries me right past most people! Its great! It was GREAT! I just kept thinkin, "Is this really happening?". Pretty cool. Last couple of miles were downhill and I start spinning getting ready for the run!
This was a disaster! I slipped my feet out of my shoes... only I couldn't feel them. Seriously. Coming out of the water my hands and feet were numb... and getting on the bike in the chilly air didn't improve things. I literally got to transition and couldn't really feel my body. Getting my running shoes on... my right calf seized up, then my left quad, then my abs on my right side! It was comical! I had to stand up straight and put my arms over my head just to get my abs to quit contracting! I finally was able to get my shoes on... and as I did... I looked over at the crowd and asked if my feet were actually in my shoes! With that done, I grabbed my number belt, my visor, and the one gel I had! Off I went! I was hauling out of transition, took a sharp turn to the left... and FELL! ROOOOOOOKIE! Are you kidding me!? HUGE strawberry on the outside left of my calf! Got up and took off! Hilarious!
It was like running on blocks of wood. My feet were THAT numb! Cadence was good. Form was together. Still cramping a bit in my right calf. Threw down the only gel that I had and called it good. Around mile three I came up on a guy in my AG... I could tell he was hurtin... and I cruised by on the first hill. I felt like I was crawling though... it was really odd. After passing that guy... I didn't let up... but I definitely didn't descend the pace. Passed a few more people... but overall... I just felt sluggish. The only thing that I can attribute it to is the lack of nutrition on the bike. I really don't feel like I went TOO hard on the bike... I just didn't have enough calories to sustain a faster run. Lesson learned.
Came across the finish line happy to be done and overall pretty satisfied for the my first triathlon of the season. Turns out that the boys from LifeCycle put together a pretty good showing at the race. Eric took first in his AG, Scott took first in his, and I took second. Here's the funny thing... the guy that took first in my AG? Yeah... he beat my ass and called me his bitch! He took me by 13 minutes! CRAZY! Apparently he's from Bend but I'd never heard of him or seen him before. You can count on the fact that I'll be keeping my eyes out for him and hopefully... make his races a little more difficult in the future!
Here are the victors! Eric, Scott, and your's truly!
Here's the stats:
Swim: 28:02 (1:52/100m) Bah ha HA!
Bike: 01:08:35 (21.7 mph avg)
Run: 44:21 (7:09/mi)
Thanks for reading! Hope you're all healthy and happy!