Spring Break, Ice cold water, and many unexpected challenges, looks like the 2011 race season has begun…Saturday March 19, 2011 I had my first race of the season an Olympic distance race in Lake Havasu, Arizona. The Lake Havasu Triathlon is a VERY early season race thus my personal expectations are fairly low. This is the third time I have completed this race and for me this race has one main purpose: It is a benchmark for me and helps to determine my training focus for the year. In other words, helps me better determine my strengths and weakness.
Lake Havasu is a great place for the first tri of the season because it takes place during spring break and there is plenty of great scenery, if you know what I mean :).
Race day: This is an early season tri which typically means cold water and Lake Havasu did not disappoint. The water temp on race morning was a cool 62 degrees. Awesome! Why can’t I find those stupid swim sock things and are they even legal? Nobody seems to know if you can wear them but it does not matter because I don’t have them anyway. As the swim started I get a headache from the cold water on my forehead…I guess I need to buy a neoprene hat. Anyway despite being cold I post a PR for an Olympic swim 27.44 minutes.
While running on the beach to the transition area I realize I can’t feel my feet, which probably worked out in my favor at first because we had to traverse about 100 yards through dirt and rocks before we could mount our bikes. The last two years there had been carpet to help the athletes make this transition but NOT THIS YEAR! I like to leave my shoes on the pedals and slide my feet into my shoes as I rolling. However my feet were so cold that I could not get my feet into my shoes, I had to stop and pop my shoes off by hand and then put them on, so basically I wasted more time trying to be cool.
The bike portion of the race started out good. I had moments of blazing speed but I quickly realized that I need to do a little more speed work as I was not able to maintain my “top end” speed. There are two really big hills on the bike course and even though I knew they were coming I made a shifting error…I stayed in the big ring. What was I thinking? I started to struggle, pushing with all my might and then my left calf cramped up and I tipped over! Rookie mistake I know, and also very embarrassing. My cleats did not pop off so I had to get my feet out of my shoes run up to the top of the hill then hop on my bike.
Something does not feel right! It is my seat, it somehow managed to bend back (see picture) during my “crash”. I hop of my bike again and try to bend it back. No luck. I ride another mile standing up because it is impossible to sit-down without being violated and then hop off again because I am still 12 miles away from transition and this is miserable. I can’t fix it or bend it back so I ride the final 12 miles standing-up with a head wind so I am not exactly the most aerodynamic person on the course and it seems like I am getting passed by everybody. I also realized that their are seats on a bike for a reason, you think your bike seat is uncomfortable try riding 13 miles standing up. My wrist were killing me because they were supporting most of my weight and my back was getting sore from being hunched over. I finally make it back to transition feeling defeated after being on the bike for 1-hr 23-min which was about 10-min off my goal.
Just 6.2 more miles and I will put this “disaster” of a triathlon behind me. For the most part the run went well. I was much more tired from the bike ride (standing for 13 miles) then I had planned so my run definitely suffered. But at the end of the day I am still very grateful for the opportunity to compete and finish the race. Total race time was 2-hr 50-min which is still respectable considering what I went through.
The race did not go as planned but other than my pride I was not hurt and anytime you can cross the finish line is still a great day!