This is very long overdue, and for that I apologize. I’m trying to crank this out in the 30′ window I have between having finished my run (and eating breakfast) and heading to the pool for a long swim.
Wildman came about because I was looking for an excuse to not leave Florida as early as I had planned, and Steve Houston had said he might be racing. Looked it up – cheap entry, not too far away from Disney, sold. The week leading up to the race was busy as I had to pack all of my stuff into bags and into my car, and do it in an organized manner so that when I got to Orlando I could quickly unpack everything, since I’d need the space in my car to put my bike in the back (never drive with a bike on a bike rack if it has deep dish wheels and/or a disk on!).
The Day Before & Pre-Race
Started with a quick swim, than threw the last of my stuff in the car and drove the 3 hours north to Orlando. Steve got in an hour after I did, and while he was unpacking, I went out for a quick spin on my bike then on my legs just to make sure everything was working right. We drove the bike course that evening, then stopped and got some dinner at an Italian place. All I remember about it is that their bread was amazing. It must have been baked in a secret concoction of butter, garlic, and oil. Got home, passed out.
The following morning was fairly uneventful. Loaded up cars, ate some bagels and peanut butter, and drove out to the course where we got setup and checked in. The biggest concern of the day was the water condition, which Steve said was going to be 59*. Horrifying. Fortunately, it was more like 65-67… still cold, but manageable. We met up with Chris Stock, and we all racked our bikes next to each other and discussed some cold weather game plans. Eventually, it was time for my Monster and to throw on the wetsuit, and we made our way down to the lake.
After a quick splash around in the water to acclimate to the temperature (note: a quick splash around is a poor attempt at warming up), we said good luck, lined up in the front row, and were off. The swim was a counter clockwise triangle that we swam twice, and the first (and 4th) leg was swam directly into the sun, making sighting impossible. A couple of bumps were exchanged, and I specifically recall thinking on that first leg that I was about to have a heart attack. I knew I was mostly away from the main pack, and by the time I had gotten to the first buoy, I felt better and calmed down. I spent the majority of the swim next to/behind two swimmers, one in a sleeveless wetsuit, the other I believe was Steve. In the second lap, Steve fell slightly back as the sleeveless guy pushed a bit and I made sure to go with him. Due to a shitty job of sighting the exit, I came out of the water just ahead of him, with Steve a couple seconds back and Chris a couple minutes back. As I was approaching the exit, I discovered that there had been another swim ahead of us the whole time, so I was actually in 2nd, and not 1st like I thought.
Swim (1500m?): 20:47, tied for 2nd OA, gamin data
After a cold and long T1, I jumped on my bike without taking the time to throw any extra clothes on. I had toe covers on my shoes and hoped that would be enough. I had an awful mount, and while fiddling with getting my feet in my shoes, Steve went flying past, into 2nd place. I figured he was just doing it to get ahead and would then sit, and for the most part he did. I minded the advice of Brian that I shouldn’t jack my power in the first 5 minutes only to fizzle out, so I settled right into my mid-threshold power (~300w), and rode. For the amount of power I was putting out, I didn’t feel like I was flying, but part of that could have been due to the course being fairly technical. After the first lap, I was still sitting in 3rd behind the fast swimmer and Steve, and Steve hadn’t made a ton of movement beyond that first push. Behind me, the sleeveless wetsuit kid was falling back, and another guy and Chris were definitely pushing up. The second lap was more of the same, with “other guy” at one point passing “sleeveless wetsuit kid” (there were a lot of out and backs for me to observe what was happening. Steve also pushed out on my and expanded the gap by another 30″ or so. Looking back, I should have bridged that gap right from the start, and then I would have been able to go with him any time he tried to push.
Bike (40k?): 57:54, 23.7mph, 300/303 (AP/NP), 3rd OA. gamin data
As I racked my bike “other guy” came into transition right behind me and came out right with me and quickly moved away. I focused on just settling into a rhythm and having a good race. Brian’s advice was after the first 10′ or so, make an honest assessment of the pace I was running, and decide if I could hold it for ~30′ more minutes. Somewhere in that time, Chris came flying by, but I knew that he’s a monster runner and there was nothing to be done about it. After 10′, my HR was high, but I felt comfortable – not the way you should feel during a 10k, but I also felt like I was actually holding a pace I could maintain. The run was pretty lonely beyond that, I just kept cranking out ~6:45 miles, and was quite pleased to discover that lap 2 came a lot sooner than expected. Ran the last full mile in 6:18, which is mind blowingly fast for me, and came across the line pretty tanked, but happy with my performance.
Run (not a full 10k): 35:23, 6:41/mi, 5th OA garmin data
Overall: 1:57:18, 5th OA, 1st AG 25-29.
“Other guy” won in a time of 1:52:xx. He holds an elite card still and is the triathlon coach at Navy. Steve hung on for 2nd, Chris was 3rd and only 15″ back, swimmer kid fell back to 4th, and I was 5th. I was pretty stoked about my run, as I don’t think I’ve ever even run a 5k at that pace (I suck at running, and I don’t ever do road running races). So that was good. Hung around, got our medals, got some food and got stretched, and then went and ate a lot of food and drank some beer. The afternoon was spent relaxing at Chris’s family’s hotel pool, where more beer was drank, and we met up with Andrew and Allison, who had raced the draft legal race in Clermont.
For a first season race, there were no major fuckups, and everything went smoothly. Will continue to focus on building the run and swim, which should continue to help the bike as well. The guys I lost to are all very legit, so being able to hang with them is a good start to the season, but what will be most important is being able to replicate the work I did today over 2x the distance (and 4x, for IMFL). All in all, a great start to the year of rocking the W (even though our kits hadn’t arrived yet, we rocked the W internally). I’m really excited about this season and making big leaps in progress, and I hope to keep making all of my sponsors and supporters happy: Wattie Ink, Greater > Than, Accelerate3, and Breakaway Bikes. Time to Rock!
Lastly (but not least importantly), a big thank you to Erica, who came as race support and photographer and got all the photos in this blog, plus all those I posted on facebook. Her skills as a ghost-tweeter leave something to be improved on, but it’s always awesome to hear people cheering you on and embrace big, sweaty hugs at the end of a race!