This year we had 3 teams participate:
Casey (Cousin-in-law) and John (cousin-in-law's boyfriend) and were J.C. MCLOVEBOAT
Dave (brother) kayaked
Molly (Sister-in-law) and I were the HOT TOMOLLYS
Meanwhile Meghan (spouse), Karen (Dave's girlfriend) and Annie (mother-in-law) were there as the ATHLETIC SUPPORTERS.
Canoeing ~6mi [59 min, +5 min from last SPRING]
It was a bit cool the morning of race day. It was about 47 degrees and overcast with a high of ~53 degrees during the triathlon. Molly and I started out fast as usual but ran into a little bit of a traffic jam. In fact this year more than any others rogue canoe teams were up in our business more than before and we were slowed a bit because of that.
Also this year we came the closest ever to dumping our canoe in the river. We hit a huge log head on and I basically thought we were going in so I just tried to steady myself, but Molly smartly jumped to the bottom of the canoe and lowered our center of gravity and we surprisingly survived. We didn't see too many teams in the river early on but the end of the course this year was pretty technical and we saw a bunch of teams dump towards the end.
All in all I was very happy with this canoe trip. In the Fall the river runs slower (and lower) and that hurts our time a bit - but we were faster from the last fall and 1 minute faster than my guesstimate before the race. We also enjoyed canoeing with J.C. McLoveBoat most of the way down so we had a good time! I brought a drink in the canoe and it helped versus last year where I forgot one.
1st Transition [2 min, +2 min from last SPRING]
Because it was so cool in the morning, we wore wind pants in the canoe which required us to bring a bag to leave on shore after the canoeing. Therefore I had a brief transition here. It was actually a bit confusing because a large group was racing the triathlon for a cause and somehow had a camp fire on shore and caused some confusion after canoeing. They were leaving their stuff in a pile as usual - but triathletes who were NOT part of their group had to find a different pile to leave bags of shoes or clothes so some time was lost tracking down the right pile for them to bring our stuff back to us at the end. Also my shoes got wet while getting out of the canoe but it didn't impact my race - thanks sports socks!
Speaking of... I introduce the HOT TOMOLLY sports socks that Molly and I wore:
6 mi Running [61 min to killer hill, -3 min from last SPRING]
I felt pretty good about the run, I usually do a combo run/walk and with the cool weather my heart rate stayed below 195 most of the time (I know..it's high) so I was able to run more than last time - which is why I was a little faster. I think I could have finished this section in under an hour except my left knee began to hurt for the last ~1.5 miles so I walked more than I wanted for that part. But overall I felt good about the run.
Killer Hill + 2nd Transition [11 min, -1 versus last SPRING]
|Doesn't This Look Like Fun?|
At the top of the hill I felt the best I ever had in previous triathlons and Meghan said I looked better so she wasn't worried about me as much. It also worked out well that even though I drank a LOT more this Fall than the spring on the canoe and run - I still only had to make one bathroom break and it was at the top of the hill before the bike which is ideal!
Biking 18mi [1:17, equal to last SPRING]
While the cool weather was welcomed for the canoeing and biking, it made for a rough bike ride. I drank a TON of fluids this time and still got a little bit of leg cramps. I also took potassium pills beforehand - and while my leg cramps were not as severe as the spring - it is still a pain. I either have to drink way more than I am anticipating OR i am developing a theory that cold weather with 20+ mph winds on sweaty legs has some cooling effect that can cause cramps. Who knows...
Speaking of windy - it was the perfect storm of being very windy and the direction was really bad - just like last fall. It was a little bit windy in the spring but the direction didn't make for the long stretches directly into the wind like we seem to have in the fall.
Because I was feeling really good still from a fatigue / energy standpoint - I knew I was making up time on the bike even if it wasn't my fastest ride by time. I saw a number of people walking their bike up hills because they were too tired fighting the wind, and I just put my head down - got low (thanks to my bike fit!) and kept pedaling. I think they key to the "wind tunnel" scenarios we experienced a few times this ride is tight clothing, get low (use the drops or aerobars), and find a comfortable cadence and don't worry about how slow you are going. I read in these scenarios 8 to 9 out of 10 pedal strokes is just to overcome the wind and the remaining 1-2 pedals is to move forward. You can't keep your speed into the wind without exponentially increasing your power output.
As if these conditions weren't bad enough... there was a ~2-3 mile stretch on loose gravel that was a change from a paved road last spring that we affectionately referred to as the "cobbles" (ala the Tour de France). While someone told me it is referred to as "tar and chip" it is safe to say these road and triathlon bikes are a rough ride on this stuff. My bike has NO shocks - you feel everything, the only "shocks" I have are my carbon fiber fork / seat post and my tired arms! Since I spent easily >20 minutes on this stupid surface I have a lot to say about it. It is surprising how much it slows you down. You have to work much harder to keep your speed - any attempt to coast and you'd be surprised how quickly you slow down.
Also the turn onto this surface provided no warning - so it was pretty dangerous. I thought someone could easily wipeout on that turn - and in fact Molly saw someone go down and have a nice bloody face and leg (we eventually saw him finish so he was OK). It is also a riot that those who have hybrid bikes like John didn't really notice the change in surface. The shocks and large, cushy, and treaded tires handles this surface like a champ - and probably the only time these bikes would be faster than a road or tri bike.
So NET - keeping my bike time equal to last Spring was a big improvement I think. Even where we bike around Meghan's parents house we are seeing paved roads turned into these tar and chip surfaces as I guess they are easier to maintain. But what a bummer - it is ruining good biking roads - and I hope the triathlon in the spring re-routes the bike portion to avoid this road - otherwise I'll have to get one of those Roubaix bikes which are road bikes but designed for the cobblestone stages.
Meghan's parents are always gracious and had us over to their house for dinner and a bon-fire (with smores).
I felt pretty good about my race - it was my best triathlon yet. I am really looking forward to next Spring to do it all again. It seems too far away - and I know that it will mean a lot of indoor miles on the bike and treadmill which I don't enjoy as much. I am planning to take some swimming lessons over the winter and focus a little more on weight training for my arms and legs. A small portion of me is glad to have my "A" priority races completed and take some time off now. I will probably do a 10K here and there (like the Turkey Trot).
Also next year I hope we enter Loveland's Amazing Race - it sells out fast because it looks AMAZING!