Short version: Awesome race company, super hard corse, fun swag.
I hemmed and hawed on signing up for this race. Its known for its hills, I am not a small person and even when I was a skinny little thing in college I wasn’t great at hills. I road the course and said “That’s it I’m not going to do it this year.” That really didn’t last long. I really liked racing with Rev3 in Maine, and I was really excited they where back this year. There was also a lot of excitement in my tri club. There was also something about a free trucker cap and a club porta-poty. I signed up with 9 weeks to train. My swimming was in good shape since it was shortly after our big swim meet of the year where I got a best time by a pretty good margin in the 500 free (-00:21) and the 1650 free (-1:48) I was in OK shape from doing an indoor workout or two with Zwift every week and the mild winter meant I was also getting an outdoor ride in on the weekend. I switched to tri training mode. I road my bike up all the hills (including another training ride on the bike course followed by riding the run course too). I tried all three dirty duathlon races and even managed to finish one. (Mountain biking on a cross bike is interesting). I did cut back on swimming more then I intended to. I increased my running distance, but neglected to seek out hills. I think I did the best I could without a coach and with limited time to ramp up the training.
Friday I worked a half day then came home to get ready for bike checkin. My boyfriend’s friend came over to stay with us rather then paying for a hotel room, so the three of us headed over. We got stuck in the awful Waterbury traffic and worried about making it in time for the athlete meeting. We picked up our packets and got in line for our chips. We were lucky and the athlete meeting started late and we were able to listen to it while we waited in line. Nothing too exciting, but they didn’t weigh me in for the athena division, which they had done in Maine.
Got up at o’dark thirty on Saturday. I ate my oatmeal at home instead of in the car. I wish I had eaten in the car so that breakfast would have been closer to race start. We got there by 5:30 which means we got parking at Quassy. The downside is I was in the last wave at 7:35 am. It only takes me about 10 minutes to pump my tires and set up transition. I also squirreled away my nutrition: two Generation Ucan gels in my bento box, one Gu in my jersey pocket for the run, and skratch half way up my areo bottle (I knew the potholes were coming) and in my water bottle on the bike. Then I went down to the beach to try and relax.
I probably didn’t do enough of a warm up. I swam out to the first buoy and back before the first wave started. I like to actually see the buoys and get a feel for where the sun will hit on the course. I have to give Rev3 credit. Thoes waves went off exactly 5 minutes apart. I did get back in the water a couple of times to make sure I didn’t overheat in my wetsuit.
The swim was pretty good. Its my best event, but this is a big race that draws people from farther away then my normal races. That means stiffer competition. I managed to hang with most of my group. I found someone to draft off of for the second half of the first leg. I lost her at the turn. I started passing yellow caps (wave before mine) before the first turn. Just before the second turn I passed my first green cap. I managed to find someone to draft behind for a little bit of the last leg of the swim, but then lost them. I think I went too far to the left on that last leg. I get tired and my sighting suffers.
I cheesed it up for the triclub spectators. Mostly because our president aquired a megaphone just in time for the race. I was actually thinking deep thoughts about the bike and the hills to come.
My transition was OK. I haven’t been practicing so I’m sure it could have been faster.
On the stick part of the lolly pop course the pros were headed back as I was going out. I actually passed a lot of people on the downhills. I’m heavy and possibly more confident on the bike? I’m sure if I was in an earlier wave this might have been a different story. Not as many people passed me on the uphills as I thought. Plenty of people still passed, but it wasn’t a steady flow of people flying by like I was expecting. On one of the first really steep sections (I think it was on Platt Road) I spent a while contemplating what exactly I had gotten myself into. On the first really steep uphill kick I am ashamed to admit I briefly thought about how nice it would be to get off and walk. Then I saw someone actually get off their bike and start walking. I decided to switch to a more positive line of thinking after that. I did go back and forth with a couple of people along most of the course. After that first uphill I felt tired but OK for the loop part of the course. The stick is mostly uphill back towards the park. I was watching the clock at that point trying to make it in under 1:50. I just made it.
I did drop my first Ucan gel which was a bummer. My hands where soft from the swim and it just slipped out while I was trying to unscrew the top with my teeth. Next time I’ll unscrew the cap while its still in my bento box so I don’t have to fumble as much. I pushed eatting my other one out until I hit the halfway point on the bike. My original plan was one at the start and one at the end. In retrospect I should have eaten my second one then and gone for my caffeinated Gu right before the run start.
T2 was interesting. Someone took my spot on the rack which had me flustered and I took too long deciding what to do. I got my shoes on and then tried to run out the bike in. A volunteer stopped me before I made it too far.
I greatly underestimated the run. The hills where long. The downhills hurt almost as much as the up, and my knee started bothering me from the bad roads. I should have eaten something in transition or at one of the first aid stations. Instead I pounded flat cokes and hoped the sugar and caffeine would work their rocket fuel magic. Someone from the swim team was out on their bike along the course, and another was manning the aid station at the bottom of the steepest uphill. I walked a lot more of the course then I wanted to, but its my fault for under training the run. When I got to the last uphill I knew the tri-club president would be there with his megaphone, so I ran past him. He caught me walking when I thought I was out of his line of sight.
I was very happy to be finished and I felt pretty awful. I really need to work on my nutrition, especially making sure I have enough in my tank for the run. For whatever reason I don’t do a good job of fueling once I get off the bike, and with my slow run times, thats not a good plan.