City of Lakes triathlon 2013 race report

We spent the night before the race camping at a state park about 20 minutes from the race start. There were three problems with that brilliant plan. 1. Sleeping in our 3 man tent with 2 dogs is never particularly restful unless the dogs have been totally exhausted by a good long hike. 2. While the air cooled off the the upper 70s, the ground we were sleeping on never did. 3. The heat from #2 necessitated sleeping with the door unzipped, which make for a very buggy night. We forget about mosquitos because it’s generally to dry for them, but it’s been raining a lot (hooray!) so they were out in force. Well, for NM anyway. We didn’t have any bug spray along. We’re still scratching.

It’s a miracle that anybody got any sleep whatsoever.

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After a long night, we got up at 5:30, packed up the tent, and headed to the race. I got all set up, body marked, then went to get in line for the porta potties about 40 minutes before the race started. And stayed there for half an hour. They needed more.

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I was in the third wave, we did 2 laps around a diamond shaped course in a somewhat stinky little lake. Not as stinky as Findley Lake in Ohio was though… I didn’t push hard at all on the swim, probably should have. I came out 45th overall (out of 67) at 28:35. Not as good of a rank as usual, but a minute faster than last year’s mile time at the XTERRA 4 Corners race. I think the distance from the water to the timing sensor was similar in both races, so I’m going to say I swam faster this year. Is that because I didn’t have a wetsuit, or because I’m in better shape? We’ll never know. I was very glad I didn’t wear my wetsuit, although most people were wearing them. I would have been seriously overheated!

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T1 went fine, I wasn’t the fastest person, but it was not too ridiculously slow either: 2:13 Last year at the XTERRA race it was over 4 minutes… Good improvement! Perhaps I can chalk it up to not struggling out of a wetsuit. Ken got flattering pictures of my rear…

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The bike was slower than it should have been. I kinda held back on the first time out (it was twice over an out and back course) because I knew it was hilly and didn’t want to kill myself. Everyone passed me. It was really a beautiful course over some hills, along a river, and by some farms. There was a bit of a headwind on the second time out that slowed me down a bit, but nothing grueling. My only mishaps were related to my finicky front gears. I had to shift down with my foot to nudge the chain over every time, and once the chain got jammed between the front two gears and I had to stop and yank it out by hand. If those gears ever get worn down I think I might get a more modern system to replace them. With a new derailleur. And maybe 3 gears? Guess I better ride more to wear down those gears. I’ve already had to replace the gears on both mountain bikes, and I don’t ride them nearly as much. I’ve put at least 1200 miles on this bike in the past year and a half, probably at least 500 miles more than that since I got the bike, and those dang gears are still nearly good as new. Guess they used to make gears sturdier than they do these days.

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Right, I was writing about a race, not vintage equipment. I finished the bike at 1:38:31, an embarrassing 61st place and 15.8 mph average. Oops. Guess I should ride some more next year…

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T2 went nice and quick (1:19), but I made a big mistake. I didn’t bring my water bottle on the run with me. I wasn’t feeling overly hot, I’d consumed 2 water bottles of liquid on the bike, and thought that getting water at the aid stations would be enough. I was ok for the first mile, then I realized I was going to have trouble. The digital readout on the high school I trotted past said 94 degrees, and I was HOT.

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I felt awful when I got to the 2nd aid station and needed to pour some water on me to cool off, but all the had left for us slowpokes was gatorade! I settled for drinking some, and trudged off up hill. At this point I had probably close to 4 miles to go and I was mentally ticking off the signs of heat stroke. I decided that walking for a minute would be better than having to quit, so I walked. Many of the people around me were walking. By the time I finished the next half mile my body must have managed to absorb some of the gatorade I’d thrown at it, because I was feeling considerably better. There were of a lot of people suffering those last 3.5 miles. They did finally get more water at the aid station by the 3rd time (out of 4) that I passed it, and man did it feel and taste good.

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Eventually I managed to drag my overheated carcass across the finish line after 1:10 of running/walking (11:21 pace, yikes!) for at total time of 3:21:02 and 52nd place overall. Not fast, but I finished and I wasn’t last.

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So here’s the crazy thing. Even despite my walking, I was 47th on the run. That’s almost the same place I had after the swim! I am NEVER the same rank in swimming as in running. My only explanation is that I was not the only one with hydration and heat management issues.

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Special thanks to Ken, who did all the things he hates (sleeping in the heat, getting bitten by bugs, getting up early, waiting for his slowpoke wife for 3 1/2 hours while wrangling the dogs, and driving my slowpoke underpowered car) without a single complaint. And he took all these great pictures! What a guy!

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