Well I must admit that although I was much less nervous for this race than I was the REV3, never having done a double sprint before had me a bit concerned about how to pace myself. I knew I could handle each leg of the race, but I was worried about how I’d do on the bike considering the muscle spasms I had several weeks ago. The final swim was also a concern, but overall I felt good going into the race.
I woke up early, about 4 AM, and had a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I had a glass of Heed also just to be sure I wouldn’t be dehydrated. When we arrived at the packet pickup, I was pretty excited to see the beach and some beautiful scenery nearby. The race site was picture perfect. The only problem was that the waves were HUGE!
Here’s me getting ready to head to packet pickup and then drop my bike off:
Once I got my packet (#170), I dropped off the bike and the run gear at the separate transition areas and started warming up. Next time I’ll bring an extra towel for the run/bike transition and a bucket or tray to place in the swim/run transition to keep sand off my gear.
Like I said, the waves were huge, but the water was nice and warm. I thought about not swimming with the jersey, but in the end I decided to keep it on to cool me down during the run and bike portion.
The race start was rather anti-climactic and although they forgot to bring a bullhorn or air horn, there were people giving us signals to start. During the first swim, I focused on staying next to someone so that I wouldn’t get off course and so that I could pace myself. Considering the surf, I actually felt great. I didn’t have any goggle or nausea problems, which is another positive change from the REV3. I hit the first buoy pretty quickly and just kept swimming. This time, rather than feel people on my heels, I was on the heels of others. I finished the first swim around 10 minutes and had a total time of 10:28 for the leg, including the swim to run transition.
I felt pretty strong during the first run, but I have to admit that my legs were slightly trashed from the swim. Kicking through the surf was rougher than I expected, but I managed to pass a few guys during this stage and hit the bike transition area feeling pretty good.
This transition was a bit tricky because you can get turned around if you aren’t paying attention, but I was able to get out of my running shoes and into my bike shoes pretty quickly. I ran with the bike and mounted on the fly…the only issue was that the cones marking the lanes were too close together and I had a pretty close call. Still, I got on the move and went immediately into my big ring, where I felt pretty strong.
For the first time in a race, I actually felt like I was competing, which was a huge rush of adrenaline. I went through a few gears on the third ring, but was able to keep a high cadence and my speed average was in the mid 20′s. The course was flat at worst, and downhill at best, so it was a great way to test my legs. I actually surprised myself with a split of 33:50, which was 100 overall. I passed a lot of guys and only saw a few sneak by me. I was very happy with the bike result.
Going into the 3rd transition, I was getting stiff, but my legs loosened up eventually. I took quick and short strides to try and keep up with the pack ahead of me. I managed to catch a few, but there were a few quick runners that did the same to me. I’d say I came out better, but not as good as I wanted to. Still, the run was so short that it wasn’t painful for long. I finished that and the transition in 11:58.
When I finally got back to the beach, I was ready to get in the water to cool down. However, the waves were even WORSE this time and they beat me up quite a bit on the way to the first buoy. I couldn’t get in a groove and lost probably 5-7 minutes during this stage. The transition was fine, but I started having some sighting and nausea issues here…mostly due to the fact that every time I took a breath I took a wave in the face. I tried to beat the guy in front of me, but he snuck by before I could get my legs moving out of the water. Still, I finally made it in and was greeted by a great crowd and my supportive family. My split for the final transition and swim was 15:09.
I finished with a total time of 1:24:31, which was about 20 minutes of the top 3 times. Although I could have shaved a few minutes off overall, I felt pretty good with my effort. I had a much better showing than I did at the REV3 and I was able to keep a good pace for most of the race. I also had a blast and will definitely do this one again.
The winner was a 16 year old and he finished in 59 minutes…insane!