Friday, June 26, 2015

Charleston doesn't have any noseless saddles

Besides being a great place with good food, beaches, sun, and long flat roads...Charleston is a place full of something very odd when it comes to the triathletes that call it their homes. The reason for this phenomena is not clear other than to say that it's likely rooted in the fact that there is no strong triathlon retail presence in Charleston or the surrounding areas.   Well, to be honest, there may be some retail presence but the possibility that the fitting services provided by the various retail locations is sub-par.

Nobody in Charleston is riding a noseless saddle. Well, almost no one. It might as well be no one, honestly. Go to a triathlon in Charlotte and you're very likely to see what may almost be a majority of noseless saddles at this point. I haven't taken a survey and I don't have the desire to do such a thing but I would be willing to bet that I am right.

This stood out to me in no small part due to the fact that on Sunday at the sprint race I saw a great many people in what I would consider to be "sub-optimal" triathlon positions on their tri bikes.  Many were quite upright, they looked uncomfortable, many weren't in their aero bars even early on in the race (flat/safe roadway), lots of steerer tube spacers, etc.

Now, there is nothing "wrong" with this exactly. As I tell many people, there are many different ways to get from T1 to T2. I do very strongly believe, however, that if you are purchasing a bike that is expensive (of course, "expensive" is relative) then the REASON you are doing that is because you want to be more competitive.

A road bike is kind of like a swiss army knife.  It's got a bunch of really great tools and knives that will accomplish just about any task you set for it. A triathlon bike is like a samurai sword; it is good for one very specific thing.

Or maybe: a road bike is like a pickup truck. A triathlon bike is like an F1 car. Sure, you can race the pickup truck on the track but...well, it's not going to be as fast. But that F1 car can't do anything else but blister that track.

From a general purpose standpoint I VASTLY prefer riding my road bike. It's more comfortable in many ways (at least, insofar as it concerns general purpose riding), it's more dynamic, it's very nice, etc. But I purchased a tri bike to go fast between T1 and T2.

Here is the problem that I have with Chaaaahhhlestun triathlon positions:

They could be sooo much better. The first person who brings in a great position on a noseless saddle to their little circle of friends is going to be a trendsetter for the whole community.

This is John Howard; he used to be the man. In the second picture he is riding the bike in what I would deem a "triathlon appropriate" position. His body is steeper "over" the BB, his shoulders are more forward, etc. I think in the second picture he has become reach-limited to an extent but the point of his picture was a demonstration of the different posture one "should" hold on the bike.

Now, in the olden days, you were supposed to ride like this (the second picture) on a "traditional" or "nosed" saddle. Guys could get away with "picking a side" and rolling their hips forward to achieve the desired pelvic angle and overall body position.  Ladies, however, do not have the luxury of "picking a side." In their world there are NO sides. So they were left either suffering through it or sitting back on their saddle with flat hips...

You can see in this picture above that somehow I am riding the most forward 2-3" of my saddle. I am likely selecting my right seat bone as the main support mechanism but unfortunately I am also 100% sure that much of the "middle" soft tissue is also sustaining a lot of pressure.

As I have mentioned previously, the goal of a good triathlon fit centers around SUSTAINABILITY. So in the picture above I am

1) aerodynamic
2) powerful

But that is NOT sustainable. It has nothing to do with any of the "normal" issues associated with "bad" triathlon fitting is revolves completely around the fact that the saddle is putting a ton of pressure on soft tissue. On guys this leads to numbness (which is not a comfortable feeling in that and the more frontal area...), on girls this leads to not sitting like that anymore due to potentially extraordinary discomfort.

So what do most people do that are new to triathlon and new to triathlon fitting when they encounter a saddle like that with aero bars?

They sit like this guy is: backwards on the saddle (because that's the only position that's sustainable from a "comfort" standpoint), hips rolled "under" them, lots of torque/tension in their middle and upper back, etc.

Here's another example:

Once you provide someone with a proper support system and instruct them on how best to utilize it, however, you can take someone that is COMPLETELY new to triathlon bikes and the position and get them more like:

It all starts at the saddle. Everything good and bad that is fit related likely has its roots somewhere in and around the saddle area. I cannot overstate that.

Chaahhhhlestun needs some noseless saddles injected into its triathlon community, STAT.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More racing with more placing

I always like to include a clever tag-line in my blogs. Something to draw you in and maybe say "Wow, that guy - he is a clever one!" Just enough (but probably said to yourself, quietly) to get you to click and read.

Sometimes, in an even more devious fashion, I like to put something in at the end that makes you remark and potentially comment so I know people ARE actually reading the whole thing! It's very secretive of me but, in the end, it works quite well.

So as you read this blog, ask yourself: "I wonder what he's going to do this time...?"

Then BAM, it hits you, right in the face. And you comment.

Williamsburg was a bit of a letdown. The sense of "I could have done much better than this" was strong in my mind after the race. That's ok though, it can definitely make a positive influence on your overall motivation.

Like seeing someone brag about their overall win when you know you got off the bike almost 10 minutes ahead of them... (but admittedly failed to execute on the run). Oh well.

I will say, not that you asked me, that one of the BIGGEST differences I've noticed in my "approach" to age-group vs elite racing is that for the most part I assume that racing AG there is always a "weakness" in my competitors.

This is obviously not always true, but for the most part athletes competing in their age-group have a weakness. There are a LOT of good bikers, but a relatively few good bikers AND runners. There are a great many "weak" swimmers.

(by the way, I realize this isn't completely fair, but bear with me as it is simply a generalization)

In the elite field, there are NO weaknesses.  Even someone that is a weak swimmer...wait, I am actually a weak swimmer. Dammit. But you get my point, right? It is very, very rare to encounter someone (in the male professional field) who has a glaring weakness and is still "good."

Luckily, I am "good" at all 3 sports. I am not especially far above average in any of the three (over any of the others) and I am not weak in any of the three, relative to my age group peers.  It is interesting to feel that way after three years of racing at the back of some pro fields. In those races I always just assumed (after the swim) that I wouldn't catch anybody. Now I assume that I will catch anybody that was ahead of me out of the swim, if anyone is ahead of me out of the swim.

Before you go thinking that I'm all elitist or something, just realize that this is a pretty realistic assessment of my thinking. I am not saying it's right or that it's wrong, just that

So now that brings us to this past weekend. Andrew Lerner, Jenny, and myself got all loaded up in a pimpin' minivan and headed down to Charleston for the weekend. There were two events on our dance card:

CCA Time Trial (this was a combined NC/SC State Championship) on Saturday and race #2 of the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series.

Jenny and I both won the overall race at the SC State TT back in 2013 (though neither of us are SC residents so we didn't get to call ourselves "state champs") so we were hoping to come in near the top again this time.  Andrew had never done a TT that wasn't multiple laps so he was hoping to find a reprieve from having to remember how many he had done...

Fast machines
Well, it was warm. Very warm. Relatively windless, flat course mostly exposed to sunlight. I suffered. I had a good ride, but not a perfect one. My time of 53:18 for the 23.4 mile course was good, but not great and netted me 3rd place Cat 3 (top 10ish OA).

I got my butt kicked but got in a good workout. Can't complain about that too much, eh?

I don't have a good picture of myself so I'll post this good picture I took instead:

The rest of the day was spent doing beach-y things: paddleboarding and going to the beach. I once again proved my prowess on the paddle and only fell off once, but it totally wasn't my fault.

We ate some delicious food courtesy of Jenny's memories of  Charleston and consumed a giant adult beverage, which - in this picture - appears to be larger than my face.

Early on Sunday morning we headed over to James Island (fitting, no?) to race the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series.  This weekend marked the second race in the extremely long-running series (25 years?) and would be a perfect cap to a solid weekend.

After picking we picked up our packets I headed over on a little detour to the ol' porto. I had seen one kind of nestled in the trees that wasn't very crowded and although it was still dark outside I hoped to be able to see while inside.  Unfortunately, when I opened the door I discovered that I could not, in fact, see. At that precise moment - realizing I was helpless and blind, obviously - I felt an object land on my arm.  It was a slimy, wet object. It grasped my arm. It felt to have four appendages and was kind of sticky.

I freaked the *** out, let out a little "yeeoooooOOOWWWw" and ran away from that porto. Obviously, it was merely a frog. But WHO KNOWS where that frog had been while inside the porto. It was obviously a "disgust" scream that I emitted and not an "I'm scared s*itless by a little froggie" scream.  Obviously.

Anyway, I made sure that nobody heard me and scooted off to set up my stuff for the race.  I had a small long-shot goal of holding onto Jenny's feet for the 600 yard swim so I needed to get amped up.  Luckily, the frog surprising me (note: not "scaring" me) had my adrenaline pumping through me like...

Well, I couldn't think of anything funny and/or witty.

Now here's where I tie in what I said above about weaknesses. My general assumption is that most age group triathletes are "weak" in the swim (relatively speaking). I had noticed the guy that won the Cat 5 TT on Saturday was racing so I figured he'd be a threat on the bike and, probably, on the run (since someone that's quite good at one aerobic sport is usually quite good at another aerobic sport).  BUT, until I'm proven otherwise, I figure I'll be the one being chased after the swim.

Swim - 7:54 (5th)

The swim was a very simple rectangle and we started out with a bang. Or as much of a bang as one can have when the water feels like it's ABOUT 90 degrees. I think this might take the cake as the warmest swim I've experienced.  Others in my memory are the Tuesday night JJF race last year at Cane Creek, Latta back in maybe 2011ish, and Stumpy Creek in 2012 I think.  Absolutely miserable.

Luckily, this swim was only 600 yards.  I lost the shot at Jenny's feet (plus one other guy was swimming "with" her) around the first buoy but found some feet to sit on most of the rest of the swim. The guy in front of me was not swimming a particularly straight line which made sitting on his feet pretty difficult and I lost them a bit towards the end of the swim. The swim was uneventful and I had a pretty big gap on anyone who I thought might be a contender (although to be honest I didn't know anybody at this race from a competitive standpoint).

Easily the best swim exit picture I've ever gotten (Brian Fancher Photography)

T1 - :54

Had a pretty quick transition to and came out in 3rd (after having gone in 4th) with just Jenny and one gentleman hot on her heels ahead of me.

Bike - 27:42 (1st)

The first part of the bike was pretty...interesting.  I'll call it sketchy because it kind of was. It's not a negative comment it is merely an observation on the array of stuff we could potentially encounter in the park itself. Sweeping turns and/or surprise turns, potentially debris in the road, and I myself encountered a car stopped in front of me in a median area which prompted me to swing to the left of the median.

Great photos from Brian Fancher (at a reasonable price even!)

I passed Jenny and the other guy during the park exit sequence and put my head down for the rest of the ride. There was a very short out and back  sort of triangle thingy at the other end of the course which allowed me to gauge my lead and Jenny was actually the first next athlete I saw so I figured I was doing alright against the male competition.

I held decent enough power (about in the middle of the range of what I was targeting last week at Williamsburg Half...) and maintained good miles per hour and got off the bike with a pretty strong lead on second place (who was still Jenny).

T2 - :25

I had a fast and efficient transition. Nothing to see here folks. Although I did not anticipate the bike dismount line and consequently only got one of my shoes off prior to bike dismount. D'oh!

Run - 19:23 (5th)

I headed out on the run feeling pretty smooth but ultimately slowed down pretty quickly for a few reasons:

1) I wasn't worried about being caught
2) It was stupid warm

That's pretty much all there is to say about the run. There was a brief out and back at the very end where I saw the second place guy was about 40-50 seconds behind me but I was not worried about him catching me and cruised into the finish comfortably in first.

Always good when nobody else is in the picture with you (Brian Fancher Photography)

OA - 56:16 (1st)

It was only when the second place guy crossed that I actually knew who he was: Nathan Buttrick. I remember his name because - well - it stands out and because he was 6th OA at IM Lake Placid last year, just in front of the guy who received the check from The Real Starky (and he won TryCharleston half this year very comfortably).

I was definitely pleased to take the W after a hard day prior and was even more pleased that everyone in the car made it onto the podium. Jenny barely won, coming in 8 minutes ahead, and Andrew narrowly missed edging out my run time to come in 2nd place in his AG.

A good trip all around!

5th, 2nd, 1st

Friday, June 19, 2015

Another thought or two

Alright, now I'm on a roll. Like I said before, I don't really blog/write too much about fitting. It's a service for which I am paid (through Inside Out Sports) and I don't really make it a habit of giving away advice for "free." Actually, I do. One of the greatest things about walking into IOS if you are a triathlete is that there is SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE housed within its walls. I'm not really even talking about me (which I usually AM doing, harr harr). So, take that for what it's worth (which is a lot, actually).

So yesterday I mentioned juggling three things when it comes to triathlon bike fitting:

1) Aerodynamics of the position (i.e. system efficiency)
2) Comfort of the position (i.e. sustainability of #1)
3) Power output

One of the more common questions I hear is "will this affect my power?"

The answer is, almost certainly, "yes."

Now, before you get all scared about it let me tell you WHY it's "yes."

First of all, your power output will most probably be lower in your aero position. How much lower is a function of a couple of things:

1) Time spent in that position doing intervals
2) How low you are in that position (and various other angle/limitations/etc, basically the fit itself)

Generally it seems like - with practice - you can get that discrepancy to at or under 5%. Using a purely personal example if I ride as hard as I can for an hour on my road bike I am likely to put out somewhere around 300 watts (give or take).  If I ride my tri position/bike as hard as I can for an hour, I am likely to put out somewhere around 280-290 watts, give or take.

I am not a shining example of practicing my tri position. Practice what I preach, not do as I do. Or something like that. In the reference above, I am averaging about 27ish mph on the tri bike. On the road bike, I'd be lucky to be much above 23-24 (on the same course with the same wheels).

So, it simply takes practice. Should you be willing to sacrifice a bit of power for the sake of a more efficient tri position? I say "yes."

Very, very rarely are you having to put out FTP+ power on your tri bike in triathlon racing. In fact, the only time I ever do that is when I am doing a sub 40k TT which essentially simply means I am doing the CMS 10 mile TT up in Concord...

See if you can tell what the difference is between these two POSITIONS (not the apparel/equipment).

In picture number 1 that is maybe mile 10 or so of the Rev3 Florida half from 2013 I believe. The second picture is somewhere in the middle of a 10 mi TT. In the first picture I am probably outputting somewhere around 80% of my FTP.  In the second picture I am probably outputting 110% of my FTP.

It is very apparent what that does to my position.  For the most part, both of these pictures have the same contact points. Or at least, within a few millimeters of being the same (slightly different aerobar extensions).

When trying to ouput that much power my upper body is completely engaged in the generation of that power. My hips have rolled "flatter," my lower back is torqued, my arms are locked and tense, my hands are gripping the extensions like they are on a roller coaster ride. My ENTIRE body is trying to put out more power.

In the first picture my hips are rolled forward a bit better, my back profile is far more relaxed (not quite as curved), my hands are resting lightly atop the extensions, my neck is a bit more relaxed, etc.

Again, nothing (much) has changed on the bike itself between those two pictures, what's changed is what my body has to do to affect power output.  Number 2 becomes unsustainable after about 20-30 minutes (I don't know exactly as I've never tried to put out 110% for more than 20 minutes...). Number 1 should - in theory - be sustainable for...ever. Now, obviously that's not completely true but it really just depends on you - the rider.

Is your longest race of the year a half distance? Then you need to spend at LEAST your projected time in your aero position.  You need to practice at race intensity. You need uninterrupted stretches of aero bar time.  It's very difficult to completely replicate a race context in the "real world" in terms of course, distractions, output, fuel, etc... but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't give it a real whirl.

That is how you help optimize that triathlon position and the resultant bike split. It involves a lot of trial and error and it involves a lot of PRACTICE. There is no magic bullet.

Find the right saddle (EVERYthing starts there). LEARN how to ride the bike in that position.

(both of those two things should be accomplished with an effective and knowledgeable fitter and a little trial and error with the saddle choice).

Then...wait for it.

Practice the s*** out of that position.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A few thoughts

Are you ready for a little demonstration? I hope so. It's going to be great. Seriously, it really is.

When it comes to triathlon and bike-related purchases, I try to boil it down to one very simple question:

"Is this going to make me faster or not?"

It really is that simple. Well, actually that's not true. I also ask myself:

"If not, does it look REALLY FRIGGIN AWESOME?"

Head down, eyes up, that's the way I like to ___ 

So somewhere within those two parameters is where I try to establish a context for everything having to do with the bike insofar as triathlon is concerned.

Admittedly, most things seem to actually both be faster (probably) AND look pretty sweet.  Of course, sweet is a relative term, but I'm always right about what looks best. Probably.

Me myself and I make up about 90% of the system drag on a triathlon bike. That is true, generally speaking, of everybody on a bike. Your body is the main limiter in going fast. That is both true physiologically and physically.

Step 1 = train the engine
Step 2 = refine the position

Each position change (and I'm kind of including bike purchases in this because the bike itself is somewhat irrelevant in this post) must meet several criteria:

1) Efficiency (aerodynamic)
2) Comfort (sustainability)
3) Power

So let's say we've already got you well supported (you like your saddle and it allows you to do what you need to do to achieve the position you want) and all the contact points have been set. What next?

Well, you've got to learn how to HOLD your body.  You can adjust contact points (armpads + saddle basically) all day long and gather all kinds of data but at the end of the day if you don't know and aren't told how to hold your're up a creek without a paddle.

I'm going to use our favorite Nascar driver Landon Cassill as an example (and I don't think he'll mind, hopefully!).  Landon has been an extremely attentive student of the bike world. He quoted the "rules" at me one time, which makes him A-OK in my book.

He has made the realization that if you want to go fast[ER] (or you can think of it as making your life EASYer] on the bike) you have to subscribe to the law of marginal gains, so to speak.

So step

1) aero position that is sustainable
2) bike underneath you
3) apparel
4) equipment and accessories (i.e. helmet, hydration, fuel storage, etc)
5) components (wheels, tires, tubes, etc)

So he's made a lot of good choices. He gets good mph for his watts/weight. He's thinking to himself "Hey I'm pretty aero."

But, what Landon didn't realize was how his body position (the way he holds himself on the bike) was potentially affecting his overall aeroness.

On the left you'll see a "normal" position. That is how he got on the bike and just sort of "settled" into an everyday, no problem position. Overall it's quite good considering Landon's really only been riding the bike for a bit over a year. From a contact point standpoint we could maybe have a productive discussion about removing one or both of the Aduro spacers under his bar.

But the real noticeable thing is how different these two positions are in terms of their system efficiency. Nothing contact-point wise has changed between these two sets of pictures. Nada. The only thing that's changed is basically how he's holding himself from the mid-back and "up." He's thinking about "sinking" into the armpads, relaxing his shoulder blades together, tucking his head a little bit. And the difference is HUGE. From an aerodynamic standpoint that change is probably worth more than having a P5 vs. a P2. Almost certainly, in fact.

And nothing has really changed on his bike. The ONLY thing that's changed is how he's aware of what his body looks like when riding.

Admittedly, the right side of the picture will take some practice to get used to. To be aware that you're holding your head "correctly" and to be aware that you need to "sink" (I use those terms because they work for me but whatever promotes those types of feelings is the important part) into the bars. Let your little bitty support muscles stop working so hard and rely on the big stuff (BONY support) to hold you up. Train those neck muscles so that you can ride whatever the duration of your race may be.

Anyway, food for thought.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Challenge Williamsburg

Challenge Williamsburg half distance triathlon was set to be my first long course race of the year. As such, I was nervous about it. There are several reasons for this:

1) 4+ hours of racing is a long time
2) Follow up of #1, the first time in a season has some unknowns
3) It was going to be really warm
4) I hadn't ridden my tri bike for 56 flat, straight miles since Miami last October

But, oh well. All of those plus 99 cents will get you a cup of coffee. Well actually they won't, coffee is too dang expensive these days.

Be that as it may, Jenny and I drove up to Williamsburg on Friday afternoon and arrived at our (exceptionally crowded) Comfort Inn hotel.

41mpg with 2 people, 2 bikes (1 on top), and gear. #Diesel

Saturday brings with it (as does any long course pre-race day) a bunch of stuff to get done that involves a lot of driving and walking. This race was no different. The hotel was about 10 minutes away from T2/Finish/Expo and about 20 minutes away from Swim/T1. This plus Challenge's somewhat strange timings of events on Saturday meant that most of the day was spent doing logistical stuff in very, very hot weather.

Race day brought with it a very early wake up alarm and a mistake I haven't made in all the years I've been competing, a lost contact. Anyone who wears contacts has probably experienced that moment of sheer panic when it goes from being on your finger to down in the u-trap of your sink's plumbing. I can't race with glasses (the swim would be...complicated) so that meant one contact all day. This would do three things:

1) Be exceptionally annoying
2) Alter my depth perception
3) Give me a sweet headache

Oh well, not really a whole lot you can do about it unless you carry spares on trips (which I actually normally do...).

As we arrived at T1 we completed all the pre-race normal stuff that one must do (we had set up T2 the night before so we wouldn't have to rely on the shuttles and wake up extra early that morning) and headed down to the swim. They announced the water temperature as 80ish so definitely not wetsuit legal. The swim course was actually reversed from last year but the water appeared to be pretty darn smooth so I was hopeful of an uneventful swim.  My goal was to get near the front and stay there by hopefully drafting some feet.

Swim - 29:46 (4th)

Our wave (all males 39 and under) walked out to the start line (this involved about a 100 meter walk to get to waist depth water) and I settled myself on the left of the crowd. At the sound of the horn I took it out pretty hard and quickly separated myself from those around me.  Our first turn was maybe 250m out and I got to it roughly in third position.

There was a guy directly to my right (face to face I mean) who I tried to swing wide a bit to avoid but somehow he stuck right with me (face to face) through the right hand turn.  We then had quite a long stretch (downriver or upriver I don't really know) and I got to know this guy's face intimately.

I have done a few pro swims I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a professional male swim pack is chaos.  That's not even an ITU draft legal swim pack which I am confident in assuming is much, much worse.  All that is to say I am well acquainted with guys that swim like aggressive a-holes.

This particular swimmer took the cake.

We made another right hand turn and the swimmer who had been on my feet started moving up on my left.  I realized it was Marcus when he breathed my way as he pulled up on my left hip.  The guy to my right must have seen Marcus moving up as well and proceeded to somehow move even closer to me and move ahead.  Marcus was giving me a fair distance but this guy acted like he wanted to be as intimate with me as our surroundings would allow. I finally gave up on being in the middle of a pincer attack and dropped back, basically swimming on the guy to my right before dropping back on his feet.

I'm not normally one to slap feet but I slapped the sheeit out of this guy's feet. He swam immediately to Marcus' right, just as he had been doing with me.  I did not understand this strategy.  I just sat back and enjoyed a ridiculously easy last 800 meters or so of the swim of this race.

With about 400m to go I started grabbing river bottom and after a couple of strokes of that I just stood up and started walking behind the two guys in front of me. I was going the same pace but expending a lot less energy so I kept walking for a bit.  A guy on a kayak gave me a kind of funny look but I assume many of the pros had done this as well. It felt a little ridiculous but hey, all's fair in love and triathlon.  After a bit the aggressive swimmer noticed me and started dolphin diving. He did that most of the rest of the way in and built up a 20-30 second gap on myself and I had a 20-30 second gap on Marcus.  We had a pretty big lead over anyone behind us and the top two swimmers had a decent lead on the three of us.

Work mode, engaged.

T1 - 2:14

I was pretty efficient in T1 and was just leaving my rack when Marcus got to his bike. I remarked on our lovely swimming partner as I departed. Apparently I was pretty annoyed to go to the length of chatting up Marcus about it ha!

Bike - 2:15:35 (1st)

I headed out onto the bike, which started on a little chunky path, with intent in my mind and savagery in my brain.  I got onto the main road and saw the annoying swimmer just ahead and moved past him expeditiously. I knew the first 15 miles or so were going to be dead flat on almost perfect roads so this would be a great chance to settle into the watts and position and motor onwards and upwards. More the former though...

Before too long I caught up to the lead two swimmers from my wave and passed them as well, moving into the "virtual" lead. I figured the rest of the bike would be pretty boring, steady, and full of rural coastal Virginia sights.

Needless to say I was not disappointed on any of those fronts..

There's not really a whole lot to say about the bike. Nothing really happened that was interesting until the last 15 miles or so and that's only because the course back on roads we used to frequent back in the ol' college days. I had passed a few of the female pros and seen how far ahead I was of the competition on the out and back but really enjoyed going past the dam, up and down reverse carwash hill, and back to Centerville on Jolly Pond Rd.  The half course is about 100,000x better than the olympic.

I came into T2 feeling pretty good but knowing it was quite warm outside...

T2 - :59

Nothing to say here, didn't really waste any time.

Run - 1:55:20 (crossed 9th)

I had a good feeling going into this run that limiting the damage was going to tbe the strategy of the day. I actually felt pretty good immediately off the bike and through the woods I managed my efforts well up the hills and back down again. I passed Jenny some time around mile 1 or so and we exchanged pleasantries on the general goings-on during our respective races (or something like that) before my pace carried me ahead. Once onto the asphalt section it became extremely and overpoweringly apparent how warm it was.

I carried through pretty well and had a lead biker at this time so it was motivating to go through the transition/finish area and carry on back into the wood.  At this point some 40+ guy rolled past me and my lead biker went with him. I was fairly confident that he was on his first lap and therefore a whole lap behind me (minus the start offset) but I'd let them figure it out as I didn't feel like speaking.

The strings were starting to come unraveled a little bit and I was just sweltering. I walked up a hill but then managed to run most of the second lap, albeit a little more slowly.

My lead biker had come back before the end of that lap and with over half done I still had thoughts of managing the damage for the W. Unfortunately before the turnaround a tall guy in blue passed me and asked the lead biker "Hey! Where is he?!" I pointed to myself and said "I'm right here, nice job."
As he passed me he let out a little yell and said "BOOYAH" and I immediately put him a lot lower on my respect list.

Good job and all, but cheering for yourself? Give me a break. I've NEVER passed someone and done something like that out loud. Maybe in my head to myself, but seriously?

This was likely exacerbated by the fact that I felt like s**t.

Jenny caught up to me as I was walking up the hill on the road and told me to run with her. I did once we got through the aid station but then I had to let her depart my glorious company at the start of the fourth lap.

Needless to say, the fourth lap was a little bit of the same, moving forward, up and down hills, in the shade, back out into the sun, and so forth and so on. I crossed the finish line, glad to be done.

4:43:56 - 9th OA - 2nd AG

Overall Results

I think it's somewhat funny that I didn't get passed until lap 3 but once I did get passed I moved all the way back to 9th! That doesn't happen to me very often as I definitely consider the run a strength of mine. The fitness is certainly there to run fast, which I hope to prove this weekend.