Well, this was interesting.
After Timberman, as I was scheduling the remainder of my season, I had marked Bassman as a “B” race, and Miami Man an “A” race. However, as I was going through my training leading up to Bassman, I could feel my body getting hit with a wave of exhaustion, so backing off ultimately led to a taper for Bassman. That’s fine, I’ll go balls out anyway, and we’ll see who’s left standing at the end of the day.
Leading up to the race, my biggest concern was the weather. While September was a beautiful month – in the 70s and low 80s for most of the month, October rolled around and BOOM, fall is here. The nights started dropping into the 50s, and the days were in the 60s, however, Sunday’s forecast loomed ahead with rain and high of 51. I wasn’t sure how to plan, so despite not having to travel, this is what my packing ended up looking like:
Up and at’em at 4:50a, breakfast of a PB sandwich, a Honey Stinger waffle, and out the door. Drove 45′ to get there, got parked, swapped my race wheels onto my bike – difficult because a. it was pitch black and b. my fingers were frozen. Went and got checked in, set up my transition area, and then made my best efforts to guess what the weather was going to do, and left out clothes accordingly. Stood around, drank a Monster, tried to not get too cold, and finally it was time to race.
I wade into the water at the front of the group and waited for the horn go off. Why is everyone not clawing at my back to be ahead of me? I sprinted to the first bouy as fast and straight as I could go (the course was a 2 lap swim on a rectangle going counter-clockwise). By the time I got to the first bouy, I had found the only set of feet in front of me. Decided this would be my best practice at drafting ever, since he seemed to be going at a pace that was clearly faster than everyone else (besides me), I latched on and enjoyed the ride. For 1/2 of the first lap there was someone on my feet, but we soon dropped him too. Other than some small steering issues by my comrade, this was the easiest, and most enjoyable race-swim I’ve ever had. As we approached the beach, I did a few dolphin dives to bridge the gap between us, and we came out 2 abreast.
29:18, 1st OA
Just kidding, before we get on the bike we have to run into Transition, strip the wetsuit, arm warmers on my wet arms (impossible), pull on a vest, pull on leg warmers (near impossible), put on my helmet (who tightened the head-width crank on it??), and put my sunglasses on. Okay, now we go. Within four miles I caught the swim co-leader who had sneaked out of T1 ahead of me. For the next 6 miles, I rode by myself, out in front (no motorcycle, wah wah). Around mile 10, 2 cyclists came up to me, and we rode from mile 10-30 as a group of 3, being mindful to not draft off each other. Around mile 30, one of the guys dropped back, so it was me and the other guy riding a Trek Equinox. In those 20 miles that were riding as a group, I had concluded that these were seasoned triathletes that had their pacing down pat, and I’d be riding with them the rest of the day. So I was surprised when guy #1 fell back. At that time, I decided I was going to do my best to drop the second guy and give myself a cushion going into T2. At mile 40, the route turned off the main road and went through a denser forest, with a fair amount of turns. I used this time to really push and create some separation, because I knew there were lots of places where I could break his line of sight on me, and hopefully with that, his spirit. From mile 42-57 I rode solo, and rarely ever saw him behind me. First one into T2!
2:31:04, 1st OA
Ahh, damnit. That’s about how I’d describe my run. I came out of T2 running mid 7s’ (promptly passed by rider #2 from the bike, running ~6:xx pace), but by mile 2 I had gotten lost. The run was in the park, so it was on dirt paths and side roads and through the woods… and because of the cold/rain, there were less volunteers there normal. As a result, the first 5 athletes that came off the bike all ended up having different run courses (and all got DQ’s). It’s best explained if you watch my run on the Garmin site (click the link, hit play):
You can see me get to the end of the road, not know where to go, go back to the last marker, stand around some more, and finally wait for someone to catch up, and finally follow them (only to go off course again). I ran around a bit, ran ~11 miles, and ended up at the finish line. I never pushed myself because I had no clue what was going on, but my moving pace was a very comfortable 7:5x, my best ever for ~HM distance, and I felt for sure that I could have cranked out 2 more miles at that pace, and probably even faster, based on how I felt at the end of the race. I felt, simply put, awesome. I don’t know if it is from: nailing my nutrition, nailing my recovery (ice bath, lots of food, no alcohol), not pushing had because I knew a DQ was pending, running on hard packed sand, my unexpected taper, being in awesome shape, or a combination of some/all of the above, but regardless, I felt awesome. After talking to the RD about what happened (they were awesome about it, and offered all 5 of us free entry for the spring), I collected my stuff and went home. Oh well. You can’t win them all (but I will in the spring!)
Data is below.