Monday, May 12, 2014

Gulf Coast Triathlon 2014

I have two main goals for 2014 and rocking the Gulf Coast Triathlon was the first of them.   Last year, I finished GCT feeling like I hadn't spent all my ammo.  This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to bury myself and finish on an empty tank.

It was a pretty slack morning for me.  I sauntered up to transition with barely 10 minutes to spare.  I did what little chores I had, got into my wetsuit, and headed to the gulf.  Once my toes were wet, I noticed things were progressing a little differently all around me.  Rumor was we were switching to a clockwise swim instead of the typical CCW but the swim was still on despite the spirited waves rolling in.  I told all my buddies to hold off on getting wet until there were actually racers in the water.  Sure enough, the "no swim" fire spread through the crowd like a blaze shortly after 6am. Lots of relief and lots of pouting. I had mixed emotions. 

Kenny Marsh and Glen
Rudolph waiting to warm up
I have spent way more time in the pool this winter, and I was excited to see just how much "way more" translates into faster swim splits.  Brian says it never hurts to be closer to the front of the race, so I can't complain too much about the swim getting ditched.  It is, after all, the closest I have ever been to the swimmers in T1!

Ultimately, we were corralled into our age group waves and sent off individually across the T1 timing mat for a short beach run into transition.  Keeping with tradition, I trotted through the sand.  My logic says its the least productive place to spend my go juice, and its just so very precious at the end of the day.

Coming into transition, my toosh hit the asphalt as I had planned to strip my wetsuit.  I had, of course, no wet suit to strip.  But, at least I sat down to put on my helmet.

I figured there were 3 real players in my age group, and I knew two were just up the road.  The third, Austin Hardy, had dropped me in the commute to transition, but I assumed he was only seconds ahead of me on the bike course.  I put my noggin down and gave chase. 

I'm happy to be aboard #9. The chassis is amazing,
I just need to do some more engine work.  
Pointing the Dimond north felt like I was aboard Pegasus.  That bad boy was a rocket in the southern winds.  I kept reminding myself to keep the reins tight, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to let her eat.  Finally, somewhere around halfway, Austin flew by me.  He had wisely been letting me pace us and then proceeded to give a solid effort to discourage me from chasing him. 

Austin and I have been within a few seconds of each other the last few finishes at GCT.  He has a swim advantage, we match up relatively well on the bike, and I get a few minutes back on the run. 

I knew Austin was my biggest threat so I decided to go with him and roll the dice a little.  He made me work for a few minutes, no doubt.  But we settled into a steady effort that fell perfectly along my wattage strategy.  From my view, just when I thought he was going to check out on me, he would come back to me.  Every so often we would swap places when one of us entered the draft zone, but otherwise, we just used each other for a pace setter.  It really is less of a mental burden having someone else to pace off.  I was able to focus on getting small in the wind and saving my magic for the run course. 

Time: 2:16:35   AP-243 NP-245 VI-1.01 IF-0.75 
The rare few times the blue line dips, I'm off the gas. 
I'll take my first step off the bike, on the gas, please.
We arrived back into T2 with another M35-39'er and 3 bikes racked in our section.  We hit the run course and began hunting. 

Look babe, its Austin!
Austin kept me company for the first two miles.  I planned to give my legs a bit of time to come around and then get into the mad string of 6:30s I knew I had in me.  Turns out, I only had one.  I managed to work my way to the front of our age group.  From there, I knew I had squat for Andrew Hodges, but I wanted to do my best. 

I kept trying for those 6:30s and was consistently surprised to be ticking off 7 flats.  By the last 5k, I decided to pick it up and really put in a solid finish.  Again, 7 flats followed. 

Coming back in, life isn't so sweet right now.
 By the last 1.5 miles, my lungs were searing.  I have no idea what was happening, but I began to imagine what those guys you see seized up on the edge of the course might feel like just before they shut down.  I quit pushing and set the cruise. 

Busted this kitted out Newton'er rocking Zoots!

You can see steady 7s, short walk breaks the
first half, and a wee taper off the last 2 miles.
By the time I was clean, hydrated, and full of stuff I shouldn't eat, I found out that I managed to work up to 3rd Overall.  That's by far my best multisport performance, and I can't see a way to whine too much about it.  I knew Hodges would take it out, but I totally underestimated Jeffery Shelley.  Both of those dudes had great races on a day when most of us were struggling.  I really wonder why I didn't get the same run performance I have seen in the past, but I am happily satisfied with the result.  When I am a big boy, I am going to be faster than Hodges, and I am growing just as hard as I can.
Bringing it on home.

Never gets old.
More faster for me, please.

A cup of energy chews is NOT gels!

a late stab at trying to nab some ice

yeah, point at medical. that works.  I'm out on my feet.

Thanks for the save, Dad. 

I was seeing lots of shiny spots and the world got real, real small.
Emily was telling me that I finally may have raced like I should. 
She usually says I am too much of a dandy out there and play it safe all day.

3 TeamZoot'ers, 2 team Zoot race suits. 
Rumor is, it's coming. Eventually. 

This was the pass into the age group lead. 
That little ball of muscle at the back had a MONSTEROUS bike split. 

My man, Jared Moore, had a tremendous race crushing the M30-34 age group by just over 14 minutes. 
We have been chasing each other for a few years now, and he absolutely crushed it today.
If I would've had a stutter, he'd have gotten me.   

Austin felt fine, really.
Gotta capitalize on those photobomb opportunities.

Chuck Rose had a heck of a race on his way to the 40-44 Age Group win.  We ended up cot'ed together in medical for a while.

Glenn came off the bike 2nd in his age group.
Everyone wanted to get their picture made with the winner.
Congrats, Andrew!
Lots of fun to do in PCB the night after the race!

Kenny Marsh shows us he hasn't been riding enough to even keep the spider webs off his bike.  Somehow, he had a great race. Kenny actually put together a great day for the minimal training he put in. Congrats, man. 

PRepping #9 for race day. Sometimes I take things too seriously.

The gang noodling-up before the race.

and the cheer'ers getting ready to celebrate with a quick Brew Thru