Report the Good AND the Bad
Today was the tri season opener for me. To say I was a little rusty would be an understatement. But, as my high school soccer coach said, if I’m going to report the wins and successes, I need to be ready to report the losses and misses.
Last year, I raced JerseyMan to open the season but the only similar aspect to the race was the name. New course, different distance, and different competitors. Not to mention, the water was definitely cool but more on that later.
Setup and pre-race warmup was good. As a follow up to the last post about race day nutrition, Nicci and I dialed in the pre and during race needs. This race served to shake off the rust as much as it did to strategize about in-race nutrition.
In-race: 2 scoops UCAN on bike, electrolytes
No issues with the nutrition. I didn’t hold up my end of the plan and take as many electrolytes as I should have but all told, energy was great.
Now, onto the actual racing. I took off in the elite field during the first wave. The gun went off and I simply couldn’t move. I had warmed up and floated around in the water before the start, but evidently that was not enough to get used to the water. I couldn’t get a deep breath and every time I stuck my head in the water, I just froze. I tried anything and everything to get comfortable but it just wasn’t working. Finally I rolled over and just started doing backstroke so I could keep moving forward. I was able to swim and move fine. Each time this happened, I would flip back over and try to swim free again and the same thing would come back. Finally, with about 200 yds left to go I was able to just swim calmly again. In short, it was a terrible terrible swim. This was my first time back in the open water since last September and it showed. That, coupled with the cold water, was apparently too much on race day. My mind and body simply would not agree and the race was stuck in the middle. I did make it through the swim but competing for a top place was pretty much done.
Transition was only marginally better. It took me forever to get my wetsuit off. I forgot to tuck my watch under my sleeve and the organizers were adamant about the timing chip being on the outside of the suit. So, naturally my suit got stuck on both of those spots.
All that said, the rest of the race wasn’t bad. I was PUMPED to finally get out on the roads and race my new Ventum One. Each ride on it is just awesome. It’s a fantastic build and great feel. I rolled through the bike and rode at a normalized power of 97% of my FTP. That was higher than planned but I was trying to pull people back. The run, which turned out to be about 6.5 miles, went by steadily as well. I averaged 6 minute miles on a surprisingly hilly course with a couple in the 5:40 range. On the positive end, it was great to see that I could run well and strong after pushing close to 100% on the bike for 90 minutes. Both bike and run legs are coming along.
Takeaways from the race are pretty simple and straightforward – get comfortable in the water. Comfort means people, temperature, and just overall feel. Also, keep working on overall conditioning and reinforcing the strong run base.