Last triathlon of the year, and not one I specifically trained for. Over the past month or so, I’ve been doing more speed and climbing work on the bike, very little swimming, and averaging 1.5 runs per week. It’s a short course, but a gnarly one.
Swim – Besides the .75 mile swim which is longer than a sprint and long enough to make you pay for poor form, you’re out of the water and then run about 400 yards up a lovely sandy incline to transition. Fortunately we had a couple of Mad Cows at the water’s edge who helped by having a spot to pull off the wetsuit to make the uphill jaunt a little easier. Thank you to Don and Susan.
Bike – Well, I wasn’t expecting this. 13 miles of twists, turns, hills, and general meandering at high speeds. I’ve never done a criterion, and this is the reason why. Not a fan of the big sharp turns and mixing very experienced riders with newbies. Pretty clear that all parts of the triathlon spectrum were represented based on the $5k Looks and the mountain bikers stopping at the top of the hills to rest. I definitely passed more than I was passed, and memorably was passed on an downhill/uphill left turn while passing two others to my right. Gets a little pissy out there. There’s one straightaway that you hit four times (mostly an out and back two loop course). I hammered these to pull away from hangers on and to catch a couple of spots ahead.
Run – After burning lots of gas on the bike with pushing hard up hills and a consistently high heart rate, I realized – “Oh yeah, there’s this little 5 mile run to go…” 5 tough miles. Sun, then trail, then a couple/few/enough-already hills. I “ran” up the shorter ones but walked quickly up the long steep ones. Little know fact – you can walk up a steep hill about the same speed as you can run, while burning less energy. Even the crazy insane 50-mile ultra-marathoners walk up the steep ones.
Made up some more ground on the run. About a mile to go, got passed by a Chico tri-dude with a “35” on his calf. I passed him back then pushed and pulled away, sprinting to the finish thinking he was on my heels all the while. Turns out, only the ghosts of races past were there. Maybe I hallucinated the whole thing.
Awesome race. About 20 other Mad Cow Racers out there. Took 8th out of 25 in my age group. I’m just fast enough to beat the slower crowd, but plenty slow enough that I can’t quite catch the fast ones… Oh well. A finish is a finish and in the company of Mad Cows, all is well.
Huge mega thank you to my truly awesome wife for her 6am roll call, helping with the post-race meal, and all around support for my lust for such events as these.
Next up – Tough Mudder!