Running is impossible outdoors. The streets of Bangalore are at 600% capacity so I’ll have to do what I can on a treadmill at the hotel gym.
The forecast called for an excrutiatingly hot 105° but I knew my chances were still good for a PR at this event. Having just completed a half ironman two weeks ago, I was confident and prepared.
Water temp was 65° and Uvas Reservoir was 80% full, quite a difference from two years ago when it was nearly empty due to lack of rain. I was in wave 9 which forced me to wait 25 minutes after the pros started. This year, there were more bouys on the course, making siting and navigation easier. I managed to swim the entire course in a straight line and surprised myself when I stepped out of the water in 23:06, a full six minutes faster than my split two years ago. Nowhere near the 14-minute split for the pros, but I was really pleased with that result and made my way to T1 where I had found a good spot just a few paces from the bike exit.
I’m not terribly fast but I don’t waste a lot of time in transition, either. I’ve learned how to get out of my wetsuit, which generally causes the biggest delay. I could probably cut 50% of my T1 time if I learned how to leave my bike shoes clipped in, but I have never taken the time to practice it, so T1 was just average.
I still had the Reynolds racing wheels my local bike shop had loaned me a few weeks ago for the Napa Valley Vintage Half Ironman, so I knew I could easily beat my previous race pace of 18.5 mph on my Bontrager wheels. I was also in decent bike shape this year. The benefit of a morning ride is less wind, and it made a big difference. I knew I would pass lots of people on the bike but that is no indication of success when there are eight waves of people in front of you. My biggest advantage is that I know this course because I train here. I knew exactly which gear I wanted to be in at every point on the course and knew where I could make up time where others didn’t know how to take advantage of the course. I knew I had a good time going when I finished the bike averaging 20.2 mph, my fastest ever.
I got back to my bike rack to find the place littered with all kinds of gear and my stuff pushed around in all directions. That’s what happens with poor event planning and an over-crowded transition area. T2 takes longer than it should for me because I choose to run with my orthotics which means I need to wear socks. It was already 75° so I also took the time to gulp down a half a bottle of water and decided to take a water bottle with me so I wouldn’t have to slow down at the aid stations.
Upon exiting the transition area, I knew I had a PR going but I’m also not a heat runner. Last year, I really suffered in the heat. So I decided not to take it too hard. Keep a pace I could sustain and then run a negative split.
I was waiting to see how far behind I was from Kevin, my Transrockies Run partner. It never occurred to me that I had actually beat him out of the water and also on the bike, so I didn’t see him until I made the turn on the run. I have never even come close to beating Kevin in any kind of race over the years, so imagine my shock when I found myself ahead of him with two miles to go. Of course I had the advantage of having just completed a half ironman and Kevin had almost no training on his bike, having just run the Boston Marathon in April (I have yet to qualify for Boston).
But with less than 20 minutes to the finish, my entire focus suddenly changed to just beat Kevin. I knew he would try to catch me and I wasn’t sure how much distance I had put on him. I kept telling myself to not look back. I knew if I saw him I would panic. Somehow the inspiring pro race between Chris McCormack and Chris Lieto which had long since finished was not nearly as thrilling as the nailbiter I found myself engaged in with my own training partner. I finished a couple minutes ahead of Kevin, but he had a very good race considering he had not trained. I’m lucky to have him as my partner for Transrockies.
Finish :: 1:53:46
Swim :: 23:38
T1 :: 1:52
Bike :: 47:21
T2 :: 1:39
Run :: 39:14
Overall :: 190 / 782
Men :: 154 / 495
M45 – 49 :: 22 / 90
I love this event and it’s great to have a tri like this in my home town that now draws world champions. In fact, my little town of Morgan Hill is now home to numerous past Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. But there were a few things this year that caused me to wonder what’s going on at USA Productions.
I chalked up the lousy cotton t-shirt, no medal and no post race BBQ to the crummy economy, even though the medal and BBQ used to be the two best features of this event. The transition area was set up differently this year, and somehow they had not planned for all the bikes. There were nowhere near enough bike racks. I’m guessing it was because the event did not sell out and they allowed same day registration. The result was over-loaded bike racks and bikes leaning all over the fences in the transition area, crowding the people who were close to the fence, like me. Everyone had to get in one line for body marking and the marking was done with such a fine tip pen that you couldn’t read most numbers after the swim.
It also seemed like everyone who chose to do packet pick-up on race morning didn’t get a number for their bike and helmet. I’ve never seen that happen, especially when they require USAT membership or charge $10 for a one-day USAT pass. But it also meant there was no way to cross-check bib numbers with bikes when leaving the event. Someone could have easily walked away with my bike. And it didn’t help that the race started 10 minutes late on a very hot day.
Having said that, I was supremely pleased with my 1:53 finish, a PR by a good margin for this event. I thought 1:55 was a stretch, but with a surprisingly good swim and a better bike split than I expected, I’m eager to compete in more tris. Coupled with my good result at the recent half ironman, I feel like I have confirmed to myself that I no longer race in the middle of the pack. This event marked my transition to training for the Transrockies Run. I’m hoping to do a few more tris in Sept. – Oct. Until then, I have another adventure to conquer.