Monday, May 21, 2012

Bluff Creek Triathlon Race Recap

Alright, this is going to be a lengthy post as I recap my first triathlon. Most of this is for me to remember what I did and how I operated along with some good stories mixed in.

To start things off we headed out for Ogden, Iowa which is basically in the middle of nowhere Saturday afternoon around 3:00. As I left for the race that day, Ava was once again sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease. It was getting worse as I was leaving. It is never good to leave your spouse behind with three kids with one sick. Great thing Amanda is a trooper and one tough mamma. Jeff, Josiah, Chad and myself met up and we took off. Jeff was battling a cold, Josiah just lost his grandfather, and so we were heading out with many things on our minds.

Our drive to the packet pick-up was interesting. Two times along they way we about left a turd in our pants due to some terrible drivers. One lady decided to come to a complete stop in the left lane of the highway so she could pull an illegal U-Turn. I don't know how we avoided her as well as Jeff and Josiah behind us not ending up in the back of the truck.

On the way, Boris was able to bond and make some connections with some higher class bikes.


We made it to pick up, checked out a few rules as Chad, Josiah, and myself were competing in our first triathlon ever. We decided to hit up our pre race dinner while in town and decided to hit up a Pizza Ranch. You would have been amazed at the amount of food we consumed. It was a feat in itself.

Here is a picture of one of about three rounds of food we ate. Jeff being the smallest of the three put on a miracle display of eating. It was absurd how much food and ice cream we put away. I walked out of there knowing I would be regretting that 3rd and 4th round of food.


From here we headed to the hotel. A good old dandy Super 8 and when we pulled up we realized we were right across the street from a dirt race track. The video below does not do the sound volume justice, but you get the idea.

We also had the great opportunity of seeing this old black Crown Victoria car with a crazy decal job open up the trunk and show a pretty sweet high end bike. We found out she was a pro cyclist. It made for some interesting talk. Even better was when Chad helped her friend get the bike into the hotel doorway and he caused her to completely wipe out and fall over her bike. It was awesome! It was just another event to our day.

Our room was tight. Four of us in one room with our bikes and gear. We made it work. Chad, Jeff, and I went out for a 20 minute run around 9 or so. My gut was ready to explode. All that food and about 15 ounces of water I chugged right before did not sit well. It felt good to shake the legs out, but I was not really able to talk much as I had to focus on my stomach and war raging inside.

We met up with Brian that night as well. He talked about the course and let me know the swim was intimidating to look at. It was also at that point that Jeff told me about the nasty hill on the course. I was nervous at this point.

IMG_3065I slept alright. I was dead tired. Staying up past 10 pm is late for me so as soon as the lights went out I was out. I did wake up many times through the night due to nerves. I was up at 4 am and found my way to the breakfast area and helped myself to some breakfast. I tried to keep things to my ritual at home. I searched the internet on my phone, drank coffee, and ate some waffles.

After breakfast my stomach took a turn for the worse. It was killing me. I almost felt like I was sick and not just nerves. I was struggling. As we packed up I was able to get things under control and started to feel better. I was worried I was going to poop my pants(not that anybody would actually do such a thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but a few Tums and bathroom breaks and I was good to go.

We got to the park and we made our way to the transitions. Josiah and Chad were on one side for Sprint and Jeff and I were on the other. I just kind of stood around and figured out what I needed to do. I decided to organize my transition. It went from this


to this. I know pretty amazing stuff


I did not do any warm ups. I was too nervous to really move. I was freezing cold. The wind was strong, there was a slight mist, and I brought no longsleeves or pants. I just floated around and finally decided to put on my wetsuit. Thanks to TriSlide that I bought last week for helping with my suit. This stuff was like magic. It did not feel like I have anything on my skin, but it helped my wetsuit slide right off. I put my suit on and that helped to warm me up. We made our way to the bus and headed to the beach for the swim. Right before I took my Pineapple GU and felt set to go.

We got to the beach and I became nervous. Actually, I won't lie. I went from nervous to being flat out scared. I felt like you do when in line for a roller coaster. At first you are excited and ready to go. As you get closer you start to doubt the decision. I was scared. The course was weird in that you could not see the turnaround. It was unknown and you knew it was around the bend somewhere.

We all headed in the water. I swam just a short bit. We listened to the rules and it was not long before we had to get out for the race to begin. There was some interesting things that went on. You will have check the blog of Jeff to read more about it if he discusses it.

Chad, Josiah, and Brian were in the first wave. It was cool to watch them head out. Watching them swim I just became more nervous with each wave. Finally, wave 5 was up and it was time to go. I headed out and tried to gain some momentum and pace. It was not happening. I freaked a little bit in the water. This one guy kept hitting me. I bet he hit me at least 10 times. Each time I was hit I felt the urge to look up out of the water and check things out. The first few minutes I was a mess. I was breathing heavy, looking up all the time, not liking being hit.

So I just stopped.

I knew I could not continue with this mindset. I looked around and just went out by the shore away from everyone and just swam. I swam alone. This does not help me with being able to drag on someone, but I knew my mind needed peace. I gave it peace and I was fine. I was able to get a great routine going and just swam. I swam probably more than the rest, but it was a small price to pay for staying calm.

I left the water and jogged to transition. My calves and hamstrings were cramping and super tight. I got to my station took a GU with water, stripped the wetsuit, sat down and put on my shoes, helmet, and glasses. For some reason I decided to put on my running race belt. Not sure why I did, but I did. The problem was that I took the wrong race belt. I took Jeff's in my mindset of craziness. I grabbed Boris and away we went. After the race Jeff was telling me how he shredded his bag and everything looking for his belt and finally just took off. I cannot believe I grabbed his belt on accident. I think I cost him about 45 seconds in transition. I bet he does not set up by a newbie again! I am just glad it did not cost him his rewards for winning the race.

The bike course was brutal! I am not going to lie. This was the biggest mental hurdle of the race for me. I knew my bike was my weakest link going into the race. I was not predicting dealing with super strong headwinds and crosswinds. I bet they were 15-20 mph. I felt good at first making sure I was getting in fuel and water to alleviate my cramps in my legs. I had water and GU Roctane mix in my two water bottles. I felt good at first until we took a turn and the crosswinds kicked in. I was able to push and keep going and my body felt good. Around mile 8 I started to get back spasms in my lower back. Not bad at first, but they just kept getting worse. I forgot about them when we had to tackle Twister Hill. This hill is a hill that Boris and me should not be allowed to ride on. I was going 42 mph down the hill! That is insane. Me and Boris had to talk it out on the ride to make sure we did not end our lives. The worse was when you hit the valley and had to climb right back up. I bet I was going about 3-5 mph uphill. It was the hardest thing I have done on a bike ever. My quads were on fire. I finally made it up to the top and recovered fairly well. The back spasms kicked in harder and next thing you know we were turning back into more winds.

I reached the turnaround feeling like I had things in control. My split was way ahead of my goal time and I was excited until I finished the turnaround and had wind going right at me. It was a mental test. I had to really dig deep to GET IT DONE!. Turning back on the road to Twister Hill was slightly easier. I had a GU at the turnaround and it kicked in so I was good for a while. My racing plan was to have this GU be my last one. I returned to the hill and really had a hard time getting back up the hill the second time. Around mile 18 I about lost it mentally. I had to verbally talk to myself to keep going. I hit a wall. I was tired of the wind, my quads were burning and I started to worry about my legs for the run.

photo.JPGFinally, around mile 20 we took the last turn to the road that heads back to the park entrance. The wind was gone and I could pick up the pace. It was fantastic. The downside to my bike was that I am not aerodynamic at all. I was passed by 10 riders. All 10 riders were on Cervelo's. I started to curse the name after the 8th one. It is a sign I need a new bike. At mile 22 I took one more GU. I was wasted and thought I should take the GU while on the bike to give it time to settle before running. I think that it was too much on the bike because when I got to the run my stomach was killing me.

I made my way back to transition and luckily did not fall running with my bike. Boris can be a little unstable at times.

I sat down and switched shoes and dropped off the helmet. I started to get mad when I could not get my Garmin watch off my bike. I ended up breaking the strap, but I was still able to wear it for the run and I was off.

My legs felt like jelly for the first few miles. I felt like I was creeping on the run, but my first mile split was 7:06. I was dealing with a major stomachache. I did not take anything for the run. The course was an out and back in the park that we had to run twice. There was a little hill that was just enough to test you. Mentally you knew that you had to go and run it again and that was tough. Around mile 4 my stomach started to get under control. I was able to hold pace for the run which I was happy with.

I was able to finish strong. I was gassed and did not have much left. I crossed the line knowing I ran a great first triathlon. My goal was to beat 3 hours. My internal goal was 2:45.

I finished 2:32:40. I am very happy about this time.

Asides from talking about myself so much in the post I want to make sure I talk about the other amazing people. Chad, Josiah, and Jeff all did amazing. We all took away hardware.

Chad took 1st in the Clydesdale division for the sprint race. He crashed and burned and still took top honors. He had a great race time of 1:17. He crushed the bike and swam like a dolphin.


Hot on his trail was Josiah who ran 1:22 taking third place for the Clydesdale division


Jeff took top honors for the males running the Olympic distance in 2:08.
Poor Brian lost his timing chip in the water while swimming. The site says he was at 1:46, but I know for a fact that he was much faster than that.

 I took first in the Clydesdale division for the Olympic distance and finishing 20th place overall about of 120 who competed in this distance.


Here is the crew. We represented well. Live Uncommon was sited all over during the race and especially for the handing out of awards. Thanks to these guys for a great weekend. Many great stories to remember and some great things that I learned along the way. I will create another post about things I learned as this post is plenty long.

Very happy for my first triathlon. I know that I have some serious work to get ready for 70.3 Racine.

You can find all results here
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