Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gulf Coast Triathlon 2015

Edgewater is a welcome change for the host hotel at Gulf Coast Tri
The mistakes in Pontchartrain were still fresh in my mind three weeks later as I got ready to dive in to the Gulf of Mexico for the start of the 2015 Gulf Coast Tri.  Back in '11, this race was my first half-iron distance race, and I've steadily improved my time and standing each year.  To celebrate my five year anniversary, I wanted the win and the 4th amateur at NOLA 70.3 meant that I had some demons to exorcise.

This is how I left the bike. Queued up and ready to rock.
I just opened these goggles.
I am not happy.
If there is such a deity as Lady Luck, she was an evil mistress the morning of Gulf Coast.  I arrived to transition to find the prime real estate I had promptly claimed at transition opening the previous day had been re-purposed.  Someone decided to punt my bike into transition hell. In the middle of the rack, with a flea market of tri goodies, buckets, and towels scattered all around, hung my new challenge to negotiate.  I'll be honest and say that it was a significant effort to remain cool as I surveyed the damage and regrouped.

Watch your step, dude.
And dont dig in too deep.
Moving on, as I went to don my wet suit, I discovered my goggles had been snapped into.  Fortunately, I always carry a spare.  Two is one and one is none, right?  Regardless, things were beginning to feel wickedly ominous.

I managed to get my head right and settled by the cannon.  The new Edgewater venue for Gulf Coast Tri meant that the first 20-25 yards of the swim were too shallow to swim.  I elected to try a few dives to move through the break water and must've planted off the sea floor a little too assertively and felt one of my little piggies cry wee wee wee.  Fortunately, there was no way my luck could be worse than a broken toe.
My cheerleader is way more dedicated than yours.
only 70.29 miles to go

This is what transition hell looks like.  I cant pull the bike through easily because the cross bar is too low
and there's not enough room between bikes to lean mine over.
I cant back out because someone is having a yard sale behind my bike.

Getting small and staying lonely out there.
The bike course was sparse immediately, but being in a later wave meant that I at least had a few random marks on occasion.  The new bike course gave me another opportunity to get splits on the front of the field by adding a third out&back leg.  Although I was moving through the field, I wasn't making any progress on the front of the race.  Our race leader wasn't coming back to me.

The new Team Zoot suit is clearly Red, White, and Blue.
Bike Split : 2:12:18 -- 25.4mph
---Bike Data---

When I got off the bike, the bad news came; I was 5 minutes down to a guy that I was pretty sure could out run me. The right call was probably to bag the hunt and trot into a soft 2nd place.  First place was at least 3/4ths of a mile up the road already, its a stupid chase.

Still, winners win long after quitters quit.  I had to roll the dice and put myself in the position to win if I had the opportunity.  

Run Time: 1:23:15 -- 6:22 pace
 ---Run Data---  
The course was full of cheers.  The new venue meant no more death circle in the "park" voided of spectators.  I felt like, for the first time, the crowd wasn't just cheering, they were cheering for me.  I was the underdog and everyone was giving me splits, telling me I was closing, giving me their hope.  I kept getting time back, every corner, every section, the time was dropping.
2nd Over All -- 4:09:48

Ultimately, I ran straight out of real estate, 75 seconds too soon.   Granted, at a 6:20 mile pace, 75 seconds is a hike.  That means I never even got a look at the leader; I was never really a threat.  I had lost the race in the water 4 hours earlier and was just way too far back and way too ambitious to accept it.

It's one thing to miss the mark when you can find lost seconds laying all along the course.
It's so much more defeating when you do all you can and its just not enough.  

So yeah, its hard to be too sad.  I hit a new personal best at the race by 10 minutes along with setting new bests on the bike and run course too.  My run has been stagnated for the last few years, so it is a massive dose of encouragement to pluck out an 83 minute run split.

Given the choice between a soft win or a hard loss, I'll take the loss any day.  For now, looks like its back to the pool!

Cheering me up
Wining the shortest shorts challenge. 
and the hottest wife contest.
the aftermath,
when somebody wants your spot more.