Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Austin 70.3 Race Report

I raced Austin 70.3 in 2010 and had pretty good memories of the race. It was warm, the course was fun, and I had to dodge a HUGE bull that had gotten loose on the race course.

This year things were much different. Yet much the same.

1. It was Frigid! 43f (6c) at the start and didn't get much warmer all to fast.
2. The run course. Out went the cross country section and in came another loop.

1. We started in near dark.
2. I had to dodge an animal on course. Granted a dog this go round, but same difference.

All in all, Austin was not a very good race for me. I knew going in that with Ironman having been the focus in training, that I shouldn't expect to be all too sharp for this race. But my dullness surpassed my expectations. Only some of that was due to the conditions on the day. The rest was simply a lacking in the physical and mental department.

Swim: 25:49
I lined up for the swim with some guys I thought I could hang onto. From the gun I knew things were going to be tough. For reasons I am still unaware, I swam hard left while the rest of the field swam right. For the remainder of the "out leg" my internal navigator was steering the ship left. I fought it for what seemed like an eternity and while swimming like a drunken sailor, the lead groups swam away. Unfortunately we were swimming directly into the sunrise which, while beautiful for the spectators, made the task of sighting the course buoys that much more difficult.

 Once I had charted and locked onto proper course, I was alone for the rest of the swim.

I ran in to T2, stopped to pick some very pleasant thorns out of my feet, ran past my bike, ran past my bike in the other direction, looked around frantically, located said bike, donned a long sleeve jersey and FINALLY was on my way.

Bike: 2:18:51
Getting onto the bike I got a split of 1:10 to a group up the road. Not Good. But possible. On I went. Given the early (relative to sunrise) start, it was still mighty brisk when I began my BH piloting duties and my legs were having none of it. My upper body was reasonably warm thanks to a long sleeve jersey and a pair of gloves that TJ Tollakson had kindly lent me that morning. My legs were a different story. No socks, not toe warmers, no "go." For the first 20 or so miles I rode totally alone. I never saw anyone up ahead, and getting power out of my legs was not happening. When I got company, it came from behind and was not the kind I wanted. Somewhere before the mile 40 mark I began to feel a bit better (warmer) and finally felt I could start putting down some decent power. Too little. Too late. I entered T2 without being passed, but not having caught anyone either. Not a very good ride.

Run: 1:20:07
Heading out on the run I was determined not to make the same mistake I made in Augusta and put myself into the mid miles bad patch I ran through in that race. So I took the first lap very conservative, trying to get my legs under me and focusing on getting in some nutrition and fluids. Due to the low temps I didn't drink much at all on the course. I started the race with a single bottle with 10 Green Apple PowerGels in a bottle, and one bottle of water. I took one bottle of PowerBar Perform at an aid station but only took one long pull off it before tossing it within the same aid station. After the race, I still had about an 1/8 of the original bottle of water I started with, and about half the gel bottle. I was thirsty when I started the run and knew getting on top of that was priority #1.

I managed to make up a couple spots in the first lap, and starting my second, I concentrated on picking up the turnover in my feet I could now actually feel. I moved up a few more spots on the second lap and kept my focus on turnover going into the third and final loop. I managed to up the pace slightly more in the 3rd loop and distanced myself from some unwanted company in the final three miles or so. I didn't however shake loose fellow Zooter Beth Walsh, who went on to record the day's fastest run split in the pro women's race. To be honest I actually felt a little bad peeling off to the finish when Beth had another lap to go.

Finish: 8th, 4:08:44

While I did not head into this race with grand expectations, particularly with a field containing the likes of Andy Potts, TJ Tollakson and Chris McCormack, this performance was still a bit of a slap in the face.

There are a few takeaways however:
1. Once I had warmed a bit, I rode halfway decent;
2. I managed to pull some motivation from beneath my frozen exterior and finish the day strong; and
3. I negative split the run and executed my pacing plan thereby avoiding the mid mile hole I found in Augusta.

A hefty congrats to all those who raced with integrity and class, most notably Andy Potts and TJ Tollakson who both put on stellar performances on the day.

Thanks as always to my incredible sponsors:

Zoot: Once pointed in the right direction the Prophet wetsuit was fast and warm. And the Kiawe... I just can't say enough. That shoe is Radical!

BH Bikes:  When my legs came to life the machine responded. Reliable, easy and fast.

Reynolds: Much like the bike, when the power came, my wheels were ready to roll.

TRIBE: I wouldn't get to and through race day without the gear and support I need and you provide.

SPY+: if only you guys made goggles!! Great sunglasses for training, racing, or just casually cruising around. They dress up pretty nice too.

PowerBar: From alarm clock to finish line, my day was fueled almost exclusively by PowerBar products. Bars, Gel blasts, Perform, and Gels. All delicious.

Mikelson & Mikelson, LLP: Great support, from wonderful people. On the race course for me, in the court room for you.

ONWARD!  To Ironman Arizona and the TRIBE Slowtwitch Party

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