As I destroy some of Emma's Halloween candy, I thought it would be a good time to hammer out a post on my most recent race...ahem, cough...2 weeks ago.
I have had my eyes on a 5150 race all season. I planned on racing Las Vegas in early Oct, but it was canceled. Booo (no the scary booo either). So we, Ken Collins, rescheduled for Galveston. I really do not know too much about Galveston other than it is in Texas. I don't know too much about Texas other than it defines flat and you should shake out your shoes before slipping them on to avoid large bugs.
Ken and I arrived in Houston a couple days before the race and immediately started wheeling and dealing on getting an upgrade for a rental car. We did. We had a economy car and wound up walking away with a Tahoe. Not too bad. Ken is quite the wordsmith. We also immediately noticed that it was hot...hot and humid. Blech.
Ken and I found some great places to eat and enjoyed some phenomenal fresh Mex restaurants. Since the World Series was going on, all we could watch was baseball. And don't ever mention the word Cardinal in Texas for about 1 year if you don't want someone to spit in your food.
We rode the bike course the day before, and I have to be honest, I have NEVER seen roads this flat in my life. I swear, if I hopped on someone's back, I could see across the entire state. But, though flat, the wind was rippin.' The bike had a unique cross/tail wind going out, and a cross tail coming back. Since the road was literally right along the Gulf of Mexico, there was no shelter. Bring it.
Fast forward to race morning, we arrived in plenty early, and since we had to check in our bikes the day before, there really wasn't much to do. We got kicked out of transition 1 hour before the swim start (not a fan of that) and wondered over to the swim start.
I used the bathroom a couple times and next thing I knew, I was clearing my TIMEX Race Trainer to zero. Here we go. The horn sounded and off we went. First breath I was reminded that this was salt water, mmmm so good. We were the 6th wave and quickly started swimming through other groups. I think I swam relatively straight, but who knows. I knew there was one guy in my wave that was just ahead. Beyond that, I think I was swimming well. I exited the clam bed (or oyster bed, can't remember) and quickly headed to T1. My Orca 3.8 wetsuit came off easily and I was quickly pushing my Orbea (last race on this steed) out of transition.
The first 1 mile of the bike has a series of 90 degree turns and rough(er) road. I used this time to get my feet in and situated. Before I knew it, I was on Seawall Road. I felt the cross wind an quickly locked into my pace, which was 'go hard.' I went past a few guys from another age group and quickly found myself somewhat alone on a highway. It was so boring. I cannot imagine IM Florida. I hit the turnaround and was headed for home. On the way back I actually had to get out of the saddle and stretch a little...at 30 mph. That is how flat it was, I actually felt the need to stretch even when going that fast. I rolled into the technical 90 degree turns and saw a couple of the pros and elites on the ground. They looked okay, but did not navigate the corners well. They sure are not helping the bad reputation the triathletes have on thier poor bike handling skills.
I hit T2 and was off running in my Kwiss Kruuz racing flats. The run was pretty flat and was a 2 loop course (5k each loop). The first loop I just did not feel well. I tried to push a little but just felt out of sync. I decided to settle in to what I had and then as I started lap 2, for some reason I felt a ton better. I am not too sure what was going on, I am assuming I was too hot from the bike. Once I was able to cool off through the aid stations on the first lap (I was taking about 4 cups of water and tossing 3 on me and drinking some of the 4th) I was cooling down. I ended up running the second 5k 30 seconds faster and felt like I could have run another 10k at that pace. Cool. It might also have had something to do with the Extreme Endurance regimen I have been taking the last 4 months too. Legs felt amazing.
I was happy with the day. I knew I stretched it a bit. Nothing felt good, it all felt tough and I was struggling a bit. Don't know why. But as a result I won my age group, the overall amateur divisions, and beat all the elite amateurs. Now I will hopefully be able to race HyVee 5150 in early September for the Championship. That would be cool.
Ken ended up 2nd in the age group (we are in the same age group) so he qualified for the championship too. He had a great race and represented Spokane well.
Big thanks to Ken for making this trip so much fun. He is an easy travel companion. It's never easy to travel to races so it's nice to have someone there that is not a stress case.
This concluded my race season for 2011. Racing for the TIMEX Multisport Team for another season has been phenomenal. I cannot thank Tristan, Keith, Tom, and Doug enough. They really see to it that the team is ready and on the start line with the best and looking svelte. The support is unmatched.
Also, locally, thank to Robin and all her staff at Fitness Fanatics. They really help me throughout the season and are such a HUGE part of the cycling and triathlon community here in Spokane.
Finally, and ultimately, thank you to my wife Jessi for holding down the fort while I was gone. I know me being gone, and with 2 kids to take care of, can be tough. I totally appreciate your support and encouragement in seeing that I get to some big races and ready to race. I love you and cannot thank you enough for all your support.
Sorry for the lack of photos, when I don't have any "support" at the race, there is no one clicking the camera. But thanks to the company shooting the race, I have a couple.