|Best view in PCB!|
|Always remember to brush and floss!|
32oz of coffee
1x Ensure plus
Blueberry muffin from Cracker Barrel
Typically I have two ensures and a lot more coffee, but that left over blueberry muffin was just too tempting.
Transition should have been totally uneventful, but I arrived to find my ever-so-perfectly taped bike number had begun peeling up thanks to the overnight temperature drop. Now the morning dew on the frame kept it from adhering. Fortunately, Dragon Sports had a bike service setup and some extra tape that rescued me. It may seem petty, but bouncing around in my noodle is the faint memory of reading an Ivy League grad student's study finding the effect of poorly placed bike numbers causing more aerodynamic drag than a fancy new set of wheels saves.
|I'm the one in the black suit and blue cap.|
I had great expectations for the swim. My best was 37 minutes at GCT '11, and I was expecting a 35'. The swim was pretty uneventful. No cramps, no real contact, lots of open water, and a nice little push getting back to shore. I was shocked to hit the beach and hear Emily yell "33 minutes!"
|Ejected my swim cap with a few hundred meters to go. |
Em's favorite haircut was hanging over my goggles.
1.2 mile swim
Swim Split Time 00:34:06
85 overall out of the water
I've made it a rule to walk while in the deep sand, but as soon as my feet hit the wooden walkway, I started clicking through transition. I'm always a little surprised that I don't need more stuff in transition. I see other athletes' battle rattle scattered all about. It's just a helmet and a bike for me. I still get that uneasy feeling that I leaving something.
Time 00:02:13, 8th fastest T1
For the 3rd time in a row, I mounted my bike to find my quads were absolutely screaming. Its the oddest feeling. Almost as if my legs have gone numb and the sensation is returning. It starts as a distracting, painful stinging but fortunately wanes over the first hour. Aside from that, the majority of the bike was pretty boring.
My bike strategy was simple; I had 3 phases and three power targets. We had a nice little south wind going out, and I was pumped to see a 25mph average wrapping up the first 18 miles, the lowest power phase. From there, I got a little more slack in the reins and was able to crank away for ~75 minutes.
At this point, we started down the 2 out&backs along the course. These gave me a good opportunity to assess how far back I was from some of the competition. My fellow A3 athlete, Chad Williamson, has been antagonizing me for a rematch after beating the pre-A3 me last year at the RocketMan Olympic. I'm all for rivals; it makes for a much more interesting races. So the out&backs gave me a chance to gauge just how far back I was on him. I knew he'd out swim me, and I thought he'd out ride me. I was surprised to measure the same time difference on both sections. Chad wasn't getting away from me.
As we turned south for the final time on 79, I was passed by another guy that'd put a target on me, Austin Hardy. We've exchanged a few emails and compared training logs. I'm definitely winning the spreadsheet challenge with Austin, but he has a pretty impressive résumé including a TT and trail run win just the week before GCT. The other big kicker about Austin, being 35, he started 5' back. You can imagine my disappointment to find him so very excited to see me. Austin and I went on to play cat & mouse with each other right until the last few miles. The storm had began to roll in, and the roadway was ever so barely damp. As Austin began to bend it into a turn, he found some paint that sent him onto the asphalt with a spectacular explosion of his PitStop flat repair canister just in front of me. In a final attempt to deter me, he hurled a water bidon at me with exclamatory profanity (maybe he was frustratingly spiking the bottle, but as I tell the story he was using it as a RPG).
Then finally, as I approach transition and prepare to dismount, another athlete zooms by just before the line. I hadn't recognized him and still didn't at this point. I supposed that he was simply squeezing ahead of one more guy on the bike leg. I later find out, he was a ghost of Gulf Coast past. We had a very close race last year, and I am sure he had some cheerleaders out there pulling for him to absolutely crush me. More on that later.
Recognize the pink photographer on the left of the frame?
Bike Split time 02:19:59, 24mph average, 15th Fastest bike split
Into transition, all went well except I forgot my precious Gu espresso, and I had double back for it. This has been a necessary evil for me in the past. I love having the extra caffeine, and I'm a fan of Gu over the alternatives, but it's repeatedly cost me time. Well, Gu espresso, it's been a great journey, but I'm one-with-the-course from now on. I'll live off the land.
|Coming out of T2 so fast, the Moms missed me. |
You can spy her still looking down the chute on the right.
Time 00:00:59, 7th fastest
Onto the run course; I felt like death. Quickly, immediately, Austin trots up and is too comfortably chipper. He gave me a Mr. Rogers worthy friendly greeting and scampered away. Fortunately, I was getting updates from my cheer crew that I was 10' back on Chad.
|Kenny giving me updates, and showing me |
just how easy it is to run with good form
|Me barely hanging on to Austin early in the run.|
|I learned that shouting "GU!" at volunteers doesn't get any calories when the gel on course is Cliff Shots.|
It took me 3-4 aid stations to finally get a gel and realize why the volunteers hadn't been feeding me.
|Guess how I melt the ice?|
|I actually feel pretty dang rough at this point. |
It's good to know I can fake it for a while.
I crossed the line and met the fam'. I'm so lucky to have so much support. I waited at the finish to see Austin roll in with 23 seconds to spare locking him into 8th overall just ahead of me. I congratulated Big Yellow on a solid finish. Chad found me in the massage tent and offered a big congrats. He went on to rock Memphis in May the following weekend with some absolutely ridiculous splits. I have no intentions of matching up with him at short course.
13.1 Mile Run Course (FYI, the course is long. 13.5-8 miles. I wish it were longer!)
Run Split Time: 01:30:35, 5th fastest run, click for Garmin File
Run Calories: 300 (1 Gu, 2 gels on course)
|Official Time 4:27:48, 9th overall, 6th M30-34|
Tough year to be 30-34!
Over all, GCT is an amazing race. The event is cheap enough, you can register up to the day before, beach front lodging is cheap, and the local restaurants are amazing. They have free beer and grub at the awards ceremony at Spinnakers and trophies 10 deep in the age group! This is my third year to do GCT, and I have no intentions of missing it next year, but I know 3 dudes' races I'll be following closely this season.
|Chatting it up after the race with Austin and my friend Big Yellow (white suit)|
|Chad rocking a solid PR at the half distance. 4:31:10, officially|
|Can't say enough how much I love having a dedicated cheerleader!|
|Austin got me by 23" on his way to win the M35-39 age group with a very solid performance (04:27:25), |
especially considering he tossed his bike just before the run.
|uhoh, I've got him scratching his head!|
|Chad captured the win for the M25-29 category. And I got the very "Meet the Fockers" 6th place wood for the M30-34.|
|Glen Rickard heading on his way to his first tri ever! Very ambitious start in the sport!|
|Me, Glen, and Kenny Marsh at swim start|
|Chad at swim exit looking much better than I do out of the water.|
|Mom, me, and my aunt Dewonna. I'm so very blessed to have so many people that love me!|
|On my way to recovery with Salty Sea keeping me cool!|
And thanks to Ruster Sports for sending me some casual gear!