This weekend was to be one of fun times, and had little to do with fast times. I figured Ashley, Melissa and myself (only ones who ponied up the race entry fee as most others backed out, LAME!) would be up front so there was no need to concern myself with actually going fast.
All that being said, I wanted to swim hard, bike somewhat fast, and trot the run. I LOVE ocean swims, so swimming hard was a no brainer. I wanted to race in the speedo, so figured I'd have to bike somewhat fast just to stay warm. I needed to wear a costume for the run and so would not (nor did I want to) be able to run hard.
Just to give the reader a little taste of the awesome that is the Holden Beach Shipwreck Sprinternational, here's a little taste of some of the 2011 edition. To set the stage: it was about 45 degrees, incredibly windy, and most (all) of the future ICE Racing participants had a pretty solid hangover.
What more can one say to influence someone in their choice of races?!?! Sorry the links above are to facebook videos, if I had to do over I would've gone with Youtube first. They're worth the click, I promise.
Well race day dawned and no one had too bad of a hangover and we meandered casually to the race site, less than 30 minutes away. Setting up our area was remarkably easy, the weather looked fantastic (50-60 degrees with a light breeze and TONS of sunshine!), and we donned our wetsuits to make our way over to the start "line." Since the race was so small (~70 participants) the director just told us to mass start. Very cool. Not many races get a mass start, but it's neat for sure. I knew that I wanted to take the swim out hard, so I pranced around in place to warm myself up and get JACKED UP!!! w00000t
Swim 1000m - 15:31 (1st)
As you can see in the video, at the sound of the horn I bolted out into the light surf. I wanted to set the tone early and I even kicked a good bit!! It was so awesome. The water was ~67 degrees and so my face felt quite cold at first but shortly it warmed up nicely. I got to the first buoy and it appeared as though there was still a large group pretty close so I kept the pace high. After about halfway I did a backstroke-look-behind to see if anyone was there and only one guy in a green cap was with me. I knew Ashley had on a light blue cap so I was curious as to who this might be. I kept the pace high, getting more uncomfortable, to the last buoy where green cap was still with me but we had a pretty sizable lead on the next racer. As we climbed out of the surf I was happy with the swim performance. I am positive that we swam faster than 1:3X/100m pace as our time indicates. Running up off the beach I dropped my goggles, a foreshadowing of things to come...
T1 - 01:17
I made my way through T1 pretty quickly. I took the time to put on socks as I was worried my feet would get a little cold. Considering I've never worn a speedo in a race before, I was curious as to how the lack of padding would feel on the bike ride...
Bike 30k - 44:27 (1st)
Headed out onto the bike and just tried to ride steady. I had next to nothing in my legs after an entire week off and so just wanted to limit my damage. Luckily, I still had on my race wheels and entire race setup when I knew Ashley was on training wheels with his TT bike. So I counted on my aero-ness to save my hide. The winds were a little swirly in between the houses and while not a big deal, I can't imagine what it was like last year! I've done a lot of crazy windy races this year and last and was uninterested in more of that.
The course was basically a double out and back so I had ample opportunities to see my pursuers and yell at Ashley and Melissa. Shortly after the first turn I saw the first chasers and had some good fun yelling at Ashley and soon enough Melissa. All the way back nearly to transition then another turn. Unfortunately, coach Brian's disc wheel had run out of them there batteries and so I no longer had my power numbers! Oh the horror.
Back out again to see everyone and pass some people (yes, there was a wide range of abilities at this race...). It was pretty uneventful. The most fun part of the bike course (besides yelling "ARRRgggHHH" at Ashley and Melissa) was seeing the facial expressions of the spectators at the turns. Needless to say, I probably stood out.
Back into T2 for quick change of costume.
T2 - 01:15
Put on race flats, grab number and sunglesses... yea that's normal. Put on skull and crossbones bandana, put on pirate hat...yea that's unusual.
Run 8k - 29:42 (2nd)
I headed out onto the run course for a two loop (sort of) run of 5ish miles. I would bet the course is a little short as I'm fairly sure I wasn't running 6 minute/mi pace...
I ran for a while before seeing any other racers. It was apparent that I had a pretty sizable lead, which was good because that darn hat fell off my head about 3 times. I'd stop and pick it up and run with it in my hand for a while before regaining the confidence to put it back on my head. Then it would fall off again. Oh well. I was really worried about my run so this was a HUGE DEAL! Not.
I finally got my hat back on for the run through the finish chute (please start spelling that correctly all you triathletes that write race reports!!!!!) to the applause of the legions of fans that our group has attracted at this race. Either that or they were clapping because I'd be putting on real clothes again... who knows.
Ashley finished shortly thereafter to take second place and Melissa crossed the line as first female (but she probably had the most complete and pirate-y costume!).
Full Results Here
Needless to say, we all had a great time. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It's a wonder to me that this race isn't more popular. It's possible that people have heard that we show up in speedos and pirate costumes and that deters them, but realistically there's no reason why more people shouldn't do this race. It's a great venue, the course is flat and fast, and the weather is usually spectacular this time of year on the NC coast!
It was also my last real race of the year and now I move into the official off-season. I am going to do my best to enjoy it while it lasts...because soon enough I'll be waxing about how much I miss the days of very little to no training...