While I should probably have signed-up for the Olympic distance race on Saturday as I prepare for Rev.3 Anderson, SC 70.3 in a few weeks, I instead decided to compete in the sprint distance on Sunday as a colleague and friend from the UK, Crawford Brown, was visiting the US on business last week and chose this event as his first ever triathlon.
|Crawford taking it all in....|
Early Saturday saw us watching the sun rise over the Atlantic and heading over to the Old Swimming Hole in Manteo to watch the swim legs of the 70.3 and Olympic distance events and to cheer on Brian and lots of "tri buddies" from the OBX Tri Group including Nemo Branch, Rachel Johnson, Terry Donahue, Laura Cortez, Laurie Graham, Jessica Lehman and others too numerous to mention. This was also an oppotunity to meet another TriStacey athlete, Cindy Bohlin, who I have communicated with via email dozens of times but never actually met face-to-face!
|Nemo, Laura and Terry with scenic Porta Potty backdrop!|
|Rachel "hamming it"|
|Crawford testing the water temperature and contemplating tomorrow's race.....|
|The second 70.3 swim wave waiting to start. the thing that looks a bit like a large mosquito hovering over the pilings is a cool multi-rotored remote controlled flying camera platform that was shooting video!|
|...and they're off!|
|Brian leaving the water as an Olympic start wave waits in the background to start their race|
|Rachel - wet, but moving quickly!|
As the athletes headed out from their first transition for their 56 mile or 25 mile bike rides, Crawford and I headed into Manteo for a quick breakfast at Poor Richard's and a quick stroll along the waterfornt before heading back to watch Brian come in on the bike. He seemed to be in good shape (I had lent him my race wheels and was relieved to see that he hadn't flatted!) and was soon heading out for his half marathon run.
|Brian, literally "flying" into T2 with the Slut's Sister|
|In transition (and proving that I don't only take pictures of female rear ends!). The Zipp 808s are looking good!|
|Looking pretty damned happy considering that he still has 13.1 miles to go!|
Soon the winner of the 70.3 mile Half Ironman came home in an impressive time of around 04:37. Not so very long after Brian came home to take third in his age group in 05:24, including a rocking swim of just 34.5 minutes for the 1.2 miles (and in choppy conditions!). Congrats buddy! Hopefully this was a great warm-up for Brian's full 140.6 Ironman in Florida in a few weeks.
|Brian still looking strong as he approaches the finish line after 70.3 miles.|
Sunday morning saw the alarm go off at 05:00 and we were soon tucking into breakfast of coffee, English muffins, bannanas and Ensure. The bikes were already loaded, so we were soon on our way over to Roanoke Island, with Brian coming along to support us and Crawford, understandably, showing his first signs of apprehension!
After going to body marking to have our race numbers and advanced ages tattooed all over our bodies we picked-up our timing chips (with neoprene straps - nice touch!) and went back to prepare our transition areas and head out for a short warm-up. It felt pretty humid, and pretty soon the wind was very obviously starting to pick-up.
Start time for the first wave was 07:30 am. We were in the fourth wave (orange caps) and so had time for a swim warm-up. The water temp. was somewhere around 73 F, so wetsuits were legal, but not really needed. I decided to wear mine as practice for my upcoming 70.3 race in October.
|Dr. Brown and Dr. Lias discussing swim tactics after their warm-up!|
|We're in there somewhere....|
|Crawford "bringing it home" in front of his legions of adoring fans!|
|.....and crossing the line. He can fly!|
|Angie's a triathlete!|
Swim (750M): 00:15:27. Hmmm.... This short swim in the sound has to go down as one of the strangest I have ever done and, frankly, I was surprised to see that I had finished in 15 minutes! The first leg of the triangular course is very shallow, so it is possible to stand-up all the way to the first turn buoy. Much to my surprise, many people did and essentially walked/ran all the way to the turn! I had positioned myself to the right of the relatively large wave start based on the fact that there was a clear southerly drift in the earlier waves. It was a relatively chaotic start (which I don't particularly enjoy - see White Lake Sprint report from 2011) but what really threw me was swimming and being able to see people walking right next to me when I breathed both to my left and to my right - weird! Somehow it just threw me off my stroke and rhythm. The first turn was chaotic (again with people standing up!) but thankfully things got deeper right after the turn and people were forced to actually swim! At this point, to add insult to injury, I had my goggles kicked off my face and took a nice mouthful of sound water - it wasn't a huge deal and I was soon underway again, but for a while I felt that now familiar "constricted feeling" in my wetsuit and side stroked for a while as the waves were directly in our faces on the second leg until I got things back under control. Thankfully the waves were somewhat behind us on the third leg and I managed a half-decent freestyle to the beach. Overall not particularly pleased with this one. I need more open water wet suit practice before Rev.3 SC 70.3!
|Leaving the water and not feeling too happy!|
|My best Hulk impression|
Bike: The official results list my bike time as twenty one hours and one minute and I'm pretty sure that I wasn't that slow! :-) My Garmin shows around 45 minutes. Overall I was happy with the bike. The out and back course goes over the long Umstead Bridge connecting the north end of Roanoke Island to Manns Harbor on the main land. I have experienced strong winds on this bridge many times (see my "Wrestling with theSlut" post) and knew that today would not be easy on the return leg. I had wisely decided no to use race wheels which can act as a sail! After hitting a pot hole and almost biting the dust as I turned onto Rt. 64 from Airport Road, sure enough I flew over the bridge with a strong tail wind on the way out. Of course this equates to a strong head wind on the way back and, sure enough, after the turn at Mashoes Road, things got much tougher. Nothing to do but to keep it in aero and use the gears effectively. At times I was struggling to hold 13 mph but I was still managing to overtake a large number of folks from earlier waves and enjoyed the ride. As always a few speed demons flew past me too, but overall I was satisfied. Annoyingly one of these guys was blatantly drafting me for about 5 minutes coming back over the bridge and I couldn't shake him until he exploded past me once we reached the cover of the trees back on the island. Where's a referree when you need one? At least he wasn't in my age group!
Transition 2: 00:00:49 Completely uneventful. Took a quick drink; put on my race belt exiting and was on my way.
Run: 5K 00:26:49 Windy through the part trail and part paved run. I actually felt pretty good. Not super fast, but I'm OK with this at the back end of a race.
Overall I was happy and I certainly very much enjoyed the weekend! Highlights for me of course were seeing Crawford (and Angie) complete their first races with big smiles on their faces and seeing Brian rock a comfortably sub 05:30 Half Ironman. And I also finally met the very famous Cindy Bohlin! :-)
|Time for a beer!|