Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chicago Triathlon

A good time was had by all. Here it is Tuesday and we are still exhausted, but only because of the driving - today and Monday we logged over 1200 miles getting home from the Windy City, thankfully without incident! We really couldn't wait to get home to get online and read about IMKY finishers. Congrats go to all of you, Di and I are really very proud of you!

Ok - pre-race. That was one huge expo! Biggest I've ever seen - indoors, loads of vendors and every kind of bike, wetsuit, and gadget you could imagine. Even saw one of my favorite bikes - the Roarke Custom Titanium - on display for the first time. Thump-thump, thump-thump. For some reason I thought we had to have our bikes racked on Saturday, but that wasn't true. After getting registered and meeting up with friends and Sherpas Andy and Brittany, we walked down to the swim course and transition - this was an unexpected few city blocks from the Expo - we didn't quite make it to Transition, and head back, pretty tired from driving and walking, to follow Andy home. That evening I put the bike together, made up my hydration and hit the sackat around 10pm, beat from nearly 3 days of driving. Note to self: don't put yourself through all that ever again...wow, that was a hard way to get to a race and then try to expect to do well...

Race Morning: Had to leave Andy's at 3:45 since transition closed at 5:45 and he lives about an hour away from the race. Good thing he's not shy about his driving speed...They dropped me off to go find parking, and I walked the bike in...right there next to me walking in to transition was Roman and his buddy Dr. Dave from Omaha. Good timing. In the sea of 8,500 competitors and 52 bike racks, we get there at the exact same time. We all set up our equipment and head out of a closing transition with nary a care in the world - our wave doesn't leave until 9:41am. Accenture made the Clydes all go last. Oh well.

We meet up with Di and Andy and Brittany, drop our stuff and watch for a while. We watch Dave kick off and then go get ready ourselves. There we finally get to meet Mike and J-wimm, who've braved Chicago traffic to come and see us race (Mike's got NASCAR-like driving skills, btw, but that's a story for another time). The whole time, the waterfront is a complete zoo, with competitors and spectators coming and going. No chance for a warm-up swim, btw - this will be a rolling easy start.

Swim: We big guys all pile in the pretty cold water - it's around 60 degrees; not quite as cold as Alcatraz - actually, not even close...but it was still cold. It's a "in-water" start, and Roman and I seed ourselves at the front (he's in front...I'm right behind him, with a dastardly plan to swat his feet for as long as I can). It was a good seed - I didn't get trampled and only had some mild jostling at the start. It was pretty pleasant actually. I was just touching Roman's toes when some big dude body slammed me from the left side a good 200 or 300 yards into the swim, and that broke Roman free of me, never to be seen or heard from again except in passing on the bike and run course. Shoot!

The water was very clear - and only twice did I notice the "taste" of diesel fuel. With the swim along the concrete walkway, I hardly lifted my head up to sight, and since I'm bilateral, I got a really good line, right up until I slammed headlong into an anchored safety-guy in a rowboat. I guess I was too far to the right after all, but really, I think they could have been out a little bit wider. I found the 1200 meter straight swim a bit much - I like having the swim broken up into shorter legs - it was difficult to judge how much more you had left to go. I pretty much just kept my head down and swam. I noticed something you don't see standing on the shoreline - along the sidewalk there were ropes and buoys that competitors were hanging on pretty much the whole way...poor folks. Finally the buoy marking the end was THERE and I was stumbling up the stairs with the help of some volunteers to make my way to T1. The LONG way to T1. My time including the run to T1 was 34:30. At this point, Roman was 29:51 - it was all over but the cryin'....my prior best OLY swim was 32:08 - but the timing mat was at the water exit - I'm really not sure how long the time was for this run to T1.

Speaking of T1 - my wetsuit won the wrestling match, but I didn't let it pin me. 3:15 vs. Roman's 2:24...it truly felt a LOT slower than that even.

It's all about...The Bike: I wish. The Chicago bike is insane. Period. It's a never-ending pound-fest of potholes, expansion joints, and ejected/discarded trash. It's flat, but not flat-flat. There are overpasses with a little elevation change just to make it easy. I really felt great, once I got clipped in - what a spazz I was after the mount line trying to clip in. NO, I didn't have my shoes in the clips first....still need more practice at that, and with a "steep" uphill start, I didn't want do do anything too different.

I had poured about 3/4's of one water-bottle full of Gatorade into my Profile Design aero-bottle, knowing that if you fill those things, the fluid just shakes out before you can drink it anyway...well, I hit the first filled expansion joint and got a face full of lemon-lime Gatorade - it kinda stings in your eyes, btw. After the second big bump, I looked in the bottle...empty...so I reach back and grab the bottle that had just a little left and drank that from the water-bottle. That would be my only fluid intake since the start of the race. The other, nice and full water bottle, was the one that came up missing when I reached back to look for it - so while I remember an average speed of over 23 mph at one point - yes, probably a bit too fast anyway - my dehydration and fear of warming run temps dropped my average bike speed on the last bit officially to 21.6mph. Roman, on his shiny black and red BMC rocket, cranked the bike at 22.5mph. Awesome job, Roman! Making my way through the myriad of bikes and people cost me 3:26 in T2, vs Roman's speedy 2:24 - while not accounting for a minute, I really wish I had walked the route from the "bike-in" to my rack location instead of the casual, "you just come in up there" brush off. We all know this is what we are supposed to do, so why blow this stuff off? While not my projected 22mph PR, 21.6 for the full Oly bike is a PR - so we have a decent swim, and a good bike so far...

Run, Run, Run: My plan was to run 'till I puked, but that didn't happen. No cramps. Just a solid knowledge that I HAD to make up for some lost hydration, and fast. I was fading, and could really feel it. I was grabbing everything I could and still keep running though the aid stations. Gatorade in, water chaser, some luke-warm water over my head, run a mile, repeat. Imagine my surprise when I saw I was averaging under 9:30? Great, now just hold on to that and try to negative split. I finally saw Roman at one point running with Tim and made a mental note of the distance on my Garmin, just in case I had a fighting chance. I rounded a turn as saw runners stretched out for at least a mile and knew that the Everyman was well ahead of me, so all I could do was go for the best run I could do. So many times you race a Tri against yourself or just the clock, and while I started out with every intention of giving Roman a run for his money, the race turned into me vs. me. I turned up the effort at mile's 3, 4 and 5, and felt like I was full out sprinting at 5.75 miles (disregard the total lack of increased PACE on my Garmin chart - the extra effort just kept me there...). The course was open - very little shade and just a touch of hilliness between miles 4 and 5 I think. Great aid stations on the run - while the liquids were not cold, there was plenty of it. I finished with a 9:26 pace - a PR for the OLY distance, and an overall time of 2:50:07.

Post race: Accenture had a good table set up with drinks and fruit and bagels and two awesome water fans that were gifts from the heavens. Accenture bills the greatest post race party, but I found it lacking in that, while they claim it to include the competitors and their family and friends, there was nothing in the way of liquids or food for any of our Sherpa-kin. That was pretty disappointing. This race is difficult for the spectator as the segments are very spread out from each other - there was a ton of walking involved for Di and the Crew. Since we went off so late, by the time I got back to transition (which was blocks away from the race finish!) and got packed up, it was time for the awards ceremony. We baked and broiled in the sun with nothing to drink while they waited until last to announce the Clydesdale medal winners. After all that, "they" screwed up and totally dissed Roman's first place for the "40+ 200-225lb" Clydesdale category with his 2:36:29 finishing time. I managed to take second in the "40+ 250lb and over" category. 2:46:26 took first - I'd usually quickly say that I'll get him next year, but we all know that 2008 is the year of the Ironman...maybe in '09 - when Andy and Mike and J-wimm race it with us? We'll see...



Editor's note: Pictures are being downloaded from Di's apparatus and will be added eventually....

18 comments:

JohnnyTri said...

nice job on the race! and some Hardware.. not bad for an ol guy! HA..

glad you had a great safe time!

welcome back.

rockon`

Duane said...

Great job Bigun!

Fe-lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fe-lady said...

Great job on a fast race! I can't believe there were what...51 wave starts? That's a LOT of triathletes in one place!

Wendy said...

Great job out there Bigun -- and great race report.

We'll look forward to the pictures when they're available.

bigmike600 said...

Anyone doubting the Biguns skills-go and check him out. Never saw anything but 100% effort. Great job. Romans a beast and put up some sick times.

Dan Seifring said...

Awesome job Bigun. 2nd place is amazing. Can't wait to see the pictures from Di.

J-Wim said...

All systems are go for 09 (actually 08 works too ya know). I like to watch y'all don't get me wrong but I was itching to race it myself.
Had a blast, thanks for sharing your day with us and leading us to Egypt for supper!

Jenny Davidson said...

Thanks for a great report--congratulations on an excellent race, too!

Brent Buckner said...

Hardware!

Good job on bounce-back hydration tactics.

Too bad about the lack of refreshment for sherpas.

Tea said...

WOO HOOO! YEA! GREAT JOB!

supalinds said...

Awesome race, and even awesomer race report.

Spokane Al said...

I guess everything really is bigger in Chicago. Way to go - I'll be looking forward to the race pictures.

excel man said...

Hey Dude - Good job. I also am a big fan of the Profile Design Aerodrink Gatorade eye wash. It keeps me from losing focus.. :^)

Green Eyed Lady (aka GEL) said...

You da Clydesdale!

blink140pnt6 said...

put me down for "09"

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on another great race!!

I can't believe you guys actually drove to Chicago from Central FL though. That is insane!

tri-dogmom said...

Congrats on a GREAT race and PR!!!!!

You are going to ROCK CDA!