Â Last week I went on and on about my dismay in “aging up” at USAT sanctioned races. Yesterday was my first foray back into competition. I did Johan’s Trifest, an Olympic length triathlonÂ (.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run…or for you that conformed to the metric conversion in the 70s and 80s…1.5 k swim, 40 k bike, 10 k run). It was my first race since Ironman Wisconsin 2004 and it wasn’t pretty.
I made at least 4 trips from my car to the transition area to get things I forgot. Usually you take everything at once and everything is there. Not me. I took my bike pump to top off the air in my tires before the race. Everyone else takes their bike out of the car, pumps the tires, then wheels it over to the bike racks. I wheeled my bike over, then went back to the car to get the pump.
As far as the race went I didn’t have a good one. I thrashed around in the swim and had my worst elapsedÂ time ever. Between not getting into a good rhythm and body position, I zig zagged up and down the course and turned it from a .93 mile swim to at least a 1.2 mile delayed drowning.
When I exited the swim I got to my bike and couldn’t get my wetsuit off my feet. The Xterra sleeveless just doesn’t come off like my Ironman Stealth did. I finally got it off and proceeded to put on my bike shoes. I had rolled up my socks to make them easier to slip on over wet feet. I put the right one on, had a mild brain attack andÂ unrolled the left one before I put it on. What was I thinking?
I got on the bike and didn’t feel like I could get in a good pace. Maybe riding 83 miles of hills isn’t the best preparation for a race three days later. Anyway, half way up one of the hills I thought the chain was making a strange noise and may not have gone solidly onto the small ring in front. So I nudged the lever over and the chainÂ popped off. I thought I was in the small ring and I wasn’t. I was cross chained in the big ring (53) and the Big Cog (25) on the back. I had to get off the bike, grab the chain with my right index finger and put it back on. I hope I didn’t pick my nose because my finger was black with chain oil. Then I had to start back up on the hill. I couldn’t get my cleats to seat in and weaved around the road trying to get them snapped in while blocking two riders whoÂ I had just passed.
By the time I got to the run, my race was over, but I felt comfortable and ran well for me considering the time off and the hot, humid day. A guy in my age group passed me at about 2 1/2 miles and stayed about 100 yards ahead. He would walk every little while, I would almost catch up with him, and he would start back up and get another 100 yards ahead. At 4 miles he walked through an aid station and we ran out shoulder to shoulder. We stayed together for a half mile, I ducked in front of him to run through a sprinkler, took a hit of Hammer Gel and, as Emeril LaGasse would say, I “kicked it up a notch”. I expected him to run after me, take me within a hundred yards, and that would be that. He couldn’t come and I never saw him again.
So back to the aging up issue. I ended up 4th in my age group out of 8. If I hadn’t aged up I would have been in the 55-59 age group and would have ended up 6th out of 9. So as it often happens, when you whine about something it can come back to bite you in the behind later. So I admit it. I’m happy to have aged up even if Jim Dyke is in my age group and, yes, he did win the 60-64 age group handily.
By the way. As I wheeled my bike back to the car I noticed the front tire was flat. It was only pumped to 115 lbs so I don’t think it expanded and blew from the heat. I’d like to say that it probably started to lose air out on the course, I probablyÂ rode in on a soft tire and that’s why I had a crappy bike time.Â Chances areÂ it picked up something on the course, developed a slowÂ leakÂ and just went flat while it sat there for two hours.
Larry, Jean and I had a good ride over at Verona,Â Wisconsin this last Wednesday. We all made peace with the hills, are comfortable with the course and know what we have to work on in the next 12 weeks. I found as I thought that the 42-25 gear combination isn’t quite enough for the three major climbs. I got up them all OK, but it took a lot out of my legs andÂ I slowed way down the second half of the second loop.
Other than traffic around Chicago and Jean wetting the bed (she says she went to take a drink in the middle of the night from her water bottle and the top came off…yeah, right) it was a good trip. We are all looking forward to the race…at least I am.
Better go. The Father’s Day presents are all piled up under the Father’s Day tree and I’m anxious to open them.
Just (Missing My Dad) Jack