Thursday, October 4, 2012

Augusta 70.3 Race Report

The last time I raced a half ironman this close to an full ironman was in 2009, when a month after my first Ironman at Couer 'd Alene, I raced Vineman 70.3. I felt alright at Vineman, but remember that my legs just seemed to lack any real life on the bike.

Going into Augusta 70.3 only 3 weeks after Rev3 Cedar Pt., this uncharted territory left me a little uncertain. A blog post by good friend and former squad mate Trevor Wurtele, in which he noted the dangers/pains of racing a half 3 weeks after a full rab through my head, and I had my concerns. While I didn't have the best race, I can say it certainly was better than I feared it could have been.

The weeks between Cedar Pt. and Augusta were predominantly focused on recovery, with only a few hard efforts. As a result I came to Augusta feeling a little sluggish, but fully recovered, which is much better than feeling peppy but less than fully recovered.

I got to South Carolina, a state I had never been and didn't even realize I was flying to, in the wee hours of Friday morning and to my incredible homestays' beautiful home in North Augusta, South Carolina (say it 5 times fast) later that afternoon. Due in no small part to my homestays' generosity and hospitality, all went smoothly and it was race morning before I knew it. So onto the race.

Swim: 19:56 but I cheated.

I say I cheated for several reasons: 1. the swim was down river. 2. Although the water was "magically" one tenth of a degree shy of the ridiculous WTC wetsuit cutoff, I was warmly ensconced within my Zoot Prophet wetsuit. and 3. Good friend and fast swimmer Guy Crawford was kind enough to tow me the for what was probably a mile of the 1.2 mile swim.

All that said, the swim was rather uneventful. A few minutes in Guy came around me and I got on his feet. We swam in the middle of the river with a group of guys ten meters or so to our right. In the end I came out a few seconds behind Guy in 2nd. The would set the theme for the day. Aside from that the only notable parts of the swim were "losing" my cap, and getting to swim under this:

Bike: 4:10: 22
Coming out of the water I was boiling and ended up losing some time in T1, getting out onto the bike in 5th or so. Going into the race, I was determined to show that my 2nd fastest bike split at Cedar Pt. was no fluke, and thought I may be able to go one spot better than that in this race. In the first few miles however, the power just wasn't really coming. After trying to settle in and cool off a bit, I took the lead around mile ten but it would only last a few miles. We were a group of 6 or 7 and it took a while for us to thin that number. Most of the group took solid turns on the front setting the pace. I made an attempt at mile 30 to get away, but six miles later I saw it hadn't worked. 

I went again with roughly five miles to go, but Guy was having none of it. He passed me in the final mile and comedy ensued. Doing our peers no favors with regard to our bike handling reputation, we arrived at the dismount line in rather surprised fashion.  I hadn't taken my feet out of my shoes and Guy only had one out. Queu the "America's Funniest Home Videos" scene of drunk women in high heels chasing a wedding bouquet. That was Guy and I scrambling on our plasticized soles, fumbling for the line. It was awesome. 

Despite my efforts and determination to take the fastest bike split, the Pizza Pizza man beat me to it and I ended up 2nd off the bike, with the 2nd fastest bike split, for the 2nd race in a row. (see the theme?)

Run: 1:22
Out of T2 I was running in 2nd behind Maxim who blazed through transition. I knew Maxim would run well. I was determined to do so in kind. Sadly however, just shy of the four mile mark, it became clear this would not happen. As many people have experienced, and due solely to my own stupidity, I "Suddenly" found myself in a rather dark cave. I would run this way for four miles or so, dropping to 5th place, before I was able to take in some calories and clamber my way out. In the end it was too little, too late and I would remain 5th. 
Dancing with the Dancing Girls

Glad to be done

Whoooo! Not an easy day
  As always I owe a huge thanks to my sponsors: 

BH Bikes: Thanks for providing great support and an awesome MACHINE! Its great to have a bike under me that I know is capable and can be relied upon to deliver me to T2 up front. 

ZOOT: While warm in the steamy waters of the Savannah River, the Prophet worked like a charm and the Kiawe were game for some fast miles when the body was able. Best Half IM shoe ever! Maybe even IM too. 

Reynolds: A bike doesn't get you too far if it doesn't have some good hoops to roll on. Reynolds makes some of the fastest, strongest and lightest wheels on the market. Stoked to finally be putting them to good use!

SPY+: We all need to shield our scopes. Spy makes some of the best looking and performing shades out there. The Screw is flat out Tops! 

PowerBar: Fuel... Ahh I just needed a little more. My fault. 

TRIBE: Keeping oneself stocked up on all the gear we need for training and racing can seem like a full time job in and of itself. Thankfully the competent and knowledgable staff at TRIBE has my back. Much less to worry about. 

Mikelson & Mikelson, LLP: Great lawyers. Great support. Great fans of the sport. Couldn't do it without you!

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