I'm training through this race, preferring not to taper. This event is a great one here in town, with over a thousand competitors over the weekend. At the same time, my focus is the Portland Marathon on 7 October, and I don't want to lose time by concentrating on a mid-season race.
But that doesn't mean I don't want to shave as much as possible off my time. Or my body.
The Riot and I make a great team; I do the mile river swim, he hauls his bike toward the mountain and back for 25 miles, and I run a 10k along the river.
He's bringing his custom Greg LeMond vintage bike, just a gorgeous ride.
I warned everyone ahead of time: if they come out to watch, be sure to wear protective gear. The Riot will be driving the train uphill with a bayonet in his teeth and malice in his heart. The meek are hereby advised to take cover.
The Riot is also the host of the fabulous annual Crayfish Boil.
Naturally, our team name became The CrawDads.
Day before: we're prepping his bike and going over the game plan. Then we notice a car stopped in the road near a traffic circle. No shoulder; not a good place to stop. We push her out of the way, turns out she's out of gas.
Technology and expensive Mercedes SUVs will do a lot, like tell you when you're running low. What they won't do is actually steer you to the gas station.
Darwin, people. Read Darwin.
A quick run to the bank drive-thru; as I'm filling out the deposit slip, the teller notices my race bag on the car seat and asks about the triathlon. Then, as she enters the deposit, she tells me I made a mistake on the entry. "I'm not good at math either," she laughs. Then she turns red when I tell her I'm an engineer.
"Wow," she replies. "You must have the race on your mind."
Yeah, something like that. LMAO.
Later, I help set up my triathlon club's tent at the transition area.
We'll be selling race kits, so we got some helpers to model them:
I would have volunteered for this job, but I'm not anatomically correct enough.
|The Riot, Hase, and NBC pre-race|
Then it was time to saddle up and head out.
Our wave starts at 0820; I'm in the water at 0745, swimming upstream to warm up. No one else joins me; they know the water will be cold, so they huddle on the shore looking at each other. Look, folks, I know that this river is mountain run-off (as in snow melt). It's not that bad. Besides, I'm in a sleeveless suit, and most everyone else has full sleeves, parkas, long johns, etc...
I feel quite superior. Maybe not the fastest, but definitely hard core. "Tanned and fit and feral."
I position myself upstream about 50 yards, then start drifting downhill with 30 seconds to go. My version of a running start. Everyone else is stationary until the gun. Then it's off, with every fiber of my being.
Lots of jostling and contact, but nothing malicious. People are trying to be polite while digging hard.
Good swim, I think around 16 minutes for 1500m. Remember, it's downstream. Still, I'll take it. Felt very smooth, and I left it all out there.
|Done with the first shift, and onto the second...|
The Riot is off like a light, and I now have some down time. I change out of the wetsuit into my running clothes, then take it easy for an hour. It's time to get a gel and some water down. When The Riot is about 30 minutes out, I start warming up. I want to have a good sweat going before I start, so I won't have to spend any race time getting up to speed. But it's getting hot, so I curtail the warmup a bit.
Stretch goal is to break 48 minutes for the 10k, and I want to be destroying people in the last two miles. Without the swim, it shouldn't be a problem, but I'll be a bit tired today. However, I've got a lot of miles in my legs the last 6 weeks, and they are the right kind of miles. Long and slow to build stamina. Let's see what happens.
One last trip to the bathroom and then....
Banzai, baby. Here comes The Riot, lots of bugs in his teeth from the screaming descent. He killed the ride, cutting 5 minutes off his best time, and he said it was a lot easier than ever before. Guy's just an animal.
I take off, already feeling the heat. First mile a bit brisk, and I settle down.
Roadkill scorecard (runners passed):
Me passing others: about 40
Others passing me: 2
Most of the runners did the whole tri, whereas I skipped the bike. But most of them are younger, so it's almost a wash.
Regardless, keeping score isn't really healthy, right? Just do the best you can, Nick.
No one goes by in the last three miles, so I'll call that a victory. And my last mile had to be close to 7 minutes. Set my sights on a woman way off in the distance; she was looking like she was on a long distance run with no end in sight. Then I reeled in a couple within about a quarter mile of the finish; wasn't sure I'd reach them, but I had enough left.
Really nice sprint in the last 200m, driving the legs high. The finish line was a bit elusive, but it finally succumbed. As did I after crossing.
If anyone got a picture, they would have seen a guy completely spent, nothing left, but willing to put it all out there. Kinda like those would-be Olympians from several weeks ago.
Nick and The Riot, gladiators all. And an unexpected 3rd in the Relay Division! Every other team had 3 members; we had a guy brand new to cycling events, and an older/tired guy who nearly overdid it a week ago.
I vowed to make a good workout out of this, even if it was only a rehearsal.
Great day. I promise.