Location: G-town, Galveston, Texas. Hometown of Mike Jones, and other fine rap artists.
Class (yours): Male 25-29
Results: Time: 4:48:18. Place: 8th age group. Due to WC Roll Down. Fortunate to have qualifying spot to Clearwater in November!
Local Knowledge and Conditions: G-town was my home for 4 years. I lived for 2 years 100 yards from race site. I knew the whole island. Conditions were windy, but tolerable. Bright and sunny. Water temp was low 70's. Air temp. was in the 70's, maybe 80's.
Pre-Race Strategy & Warm Up: Pin it for 200 yards in swim before settling into tempo pace. Get out front and find feet quickly. Have solid pace/effort on the bike with smooth relaxed body. Let the legs do the work. Run, start steady and pick it up after 0.5 mile. Warm up was short and sweet. Didn't get in the water. Just combination of light stretching and loosening arms.
Psychology: The psychology of the event was everything for me. This was it... the big A race for me. The entire year's plans would depend on it. Dawdy helped me quite a bit in trusting the work that I had done. Katie was instrumental in supporting me and keeping me together mentally. She reminded me to keep it fun and enjoy myself out there. I really could not have done it without her & all the meal planning, recovery activities, and understanding of hours spent working out during the week.
It was a weird feeling 10 minutes before my gun. I wasn't nervous. Very calm. I stared off the pier at the sun glazing over the water that I sailed on for 4 years during college. Interesting to be back at the exact same spot but different sport. I was ready to give the event everything I had.
About my race:
The swim was a triangle counter clockwise course. 1st leg had the sun blasting into my goggles just to the right. So every breath was bright. My group got off track after the 1 buoy and had to be redirected by a jet ski. I figure I lost a good minute plus due to that mistake. Took me until the next buoy to calm down and continue in a painful (good kind) tempo pace. The 2nd leg was into the wind and waves were not in a rhythm that I could recognize. I never found any feet that I could sit on. I passed a lot of people from earlier waves, but no one around was at the same pace as me. The fast swimmers in my AG were ahead and couldn't catch after my 1st leg mistake. 3rd leg was non eventful and cruised into exit gate. Total time for swim was 32:26. I was expecting in the 27's... but my 1st leg mistake, plus rough waters probably accounted for that. Some say the current was a factor against as well.
The bike was windy, but different than expected. It was head/cross wind going out and tail/cross wind coming back. I felt pretty good dialing my effort into a 21ish going out. The first leg ended up at 21.4 mph average. The 2nd leg coming back I "thought" was going to be much better. The first 7 miles coming back my average was 24+ mph, sometimes climbing to 25 & 26 mph. The wind helped a lot with that. After that, I think I settled into closer 23 mph. Fatigue set in with 15 miles to go on the bike. My arms got tired of being in aero position for so long and my legs just stopped turning over as fast. I had to coast a few moment to regain composure. Which I did, and got back at it trying to stay relaxed. The average for the 2nd leg was 23.01 mph. Total time for the bike was 2:31:19. 22.21 mph average. Not satisfied with that at all.
The run....ahh.. the run.... It took me an extra moment or two to put on my socks in T2. But I jogged over to the run T2 exit and slowly got into a comfortable pace. I quickly saw Chandler SCREAMING to get down to my goal pace (thanks Chandler) and Katie taking pictures. They motivated me. I felt pretty good in the first moments. No cramping in the calves. Somehow the fatigue from the latter part of the bike was gone. I just leaned forward and pressed on. 4 laps, 13.1 miles total. First lap was 7:04 pace. I thought, "Only got to do that 3 more times!" Second lap was slower (but I didn't feel slower) at 7:36 pace. dang it. 3rd lap was at 7:59 pace and I was starting to get really tired. More leaning and more digging deep. 4th lap, 8:05 pace, I'm officially digging for more and more to keep going. I never had to stop, but it was tough. Total time for run was 1:40, 7:41 pace. Wanted that to be faster.
Lessons Learned (Or Re-Learned): Swim: needed better sighting on first leg, even though so many swimmers were around. Bike: need to be faster and more relaxed in the upper body. Run: Need to know when to push it and hold back.
Future Goals (include skills executed well and skills needing improvement): Future goals include 27ish swim time. Higher cadence on the bike. Run.... get faster.
Fitness (endurance, nutrition, hydration): Nutrition was good, even with last second change on run nutrition (see below). Hydration was spot on... NO doubt that I was hydrated for this race. I think my endurance was good. I did not stop on the run... but I wish I had held a faster pace. I screamed when I crossed the finish line because I felt like I left 100% out there. Well, I had the energy to scream. But I was happy with the effort.
Something funny that happened: (also goes under learned) I forgot my GU packets at the house before leaving for Galveston. But I remembered before leaving Rockwall... So I stopped into Rockwall Cycling to grab some more GU and 80mm tubes (I just realized I only had 60mm tubes). I walk in to the shop, grab 5 gu packets very quickly, pay the nice man behind the counter... Say my goodbyes and we're on the road!!
Fast Forward>>>>>> to Billy walking from T1/T2 to the swim start (7 minute walk). Got 1 GU packet in my hand. Planned on eating 20 minutes prior to start. I get my wet suit on and then open my GU packet and squeeze real hard.>>>> HUGE GAG reflex and almost puked right THERE!!
I look down at the label.... CHOCOLATE OUTRAGE!!!!!!
At this moment, I realize that all the packets at T1 were of the same flavor. Thank God above I had Infinite nutrition for the bike, and was only counting on the GU for the run. I used Gatorade on the run as my calorie intake. That worked out okay, but it was not the original plan.
Moral of the story: It sucks to hate chocolate, be color blind (red/green), and be in hurry.
Many of you know that it was my goal to qualify for the World Championships in Clearwater, FL. I was fortunate enough to grab a qualifying spot. I could not have come close without Katie, my beautiful & supportive wife, and my Coach, Michael Dawdy. Both of them provided the tools and support that I needed to have a great race. I owe them a great deal and a beer.
I also want to thank Rockwall Cycling for their support. Those guys have done so much to help me with my bikes. I appreciate them more than they know.