So I did this race last weekend and you know what it actually went pretty well!
My partner, TriBeccaTO, (wait you knew that right? Oh well buy me a beer and I will tell you all about it one day) had signed up for this way back in February. It’s a new race put on by the group that organizes the Vineman 70.3 and if you signed up early enough it gave you a guaranteed spot to the 70.3 race in 2014, this is a real bonus as that race usually sells out within 10 minutes on line, and as we are both thinking about doing another Ironman next year this is a perfect work up race, any way I digress.
I will spare you all the pre-race and travel details but suffice to say much fun was had during the 600miles, find my Facebook or Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean!
Anyway race day morning came and thanks to our VIP enrollment when we signed up we got a primo parking spot right next to the start, so it was just a case of final bike prep which always takes longer than you think, a quick, well actually a lot of wriggling into the wetsuit (an additional 10lbs or so has crept on since IMAZ last year and no real training this year hasn’t helped any!) and we were off to the start!
Our plan was for me to be passed by Becca on the swim (she’s a much better swimmer than me) , I would catch her on the bike and then we would run it in together...that was the plan!
Anyway my swim wave went and she was 5 minutes behind me, I splashed my way up the Russian River lamenting that my previously bad swim was now worse! As planned I was passed and finally I exited the water in around 45 minutes, I wasn’t too unhappy as my best Olympic swim time is just over 40 minutes. The run up to T1 was a little challenging, through a parking lot and up a rough road made it a ginger and long run, but finally I was there, wet suit off etc and off on the bike.
We had driven the bike and run course the day before so we knew that the section from M2 to M8 was a pretty rough road and it was. It was here also that I had to stop and adjust my brakes as they were not properly seated on my race wheels and were rubbing, not really a “mechanical” but something that cost me a couple of minutes and evident in my bike splits. Better to stop and fix it rather than lament breaking my wheels etc further in. After this I settled in to the ride and despite a lack of any real aero training it was all very familiar. I saw Becca heading back the other way and she was about 3 miles ahead of me as I approached the 13 mile mark so it was going to be a challenge to catch her at this point. I managed to escape off the bike only being passed by three riders and passing many more although . A reasonable T2 and I was out on the run.
The run was a simple out and back and was along a very shady lane. Despite any real running of late (are you detecting a theme?) I stuck to a pace that was comfortable and just ran, my Garmin 910 was suffering from technical issues and was not displaying any data and so all I had to go with was RPE which turned out to be just fine. At my 2.5 mile mark I saw Becca at her 3.5 mile point so it was unlikely that I would catch her and as my goal was simply to run the entire run section I was happy to stick at my pace and keep going. Again I was picking off people although that thinned out towards the final mile and I was only passed once on the run. With a kick at the end I finished and was done. Of course one advantage of having a faster than you girlfriend is that you stand a good chance of an awesome finishers photo!
So despite any real training I was pleased with my overall performance and now I have a slot for next years 70.3 if I want it.
A few words on the race itself. It’s very well organized as you would expect from folks that put on one of the most popular 70.3s in the country, you get a nice tech shirt and medal. There is a hot breakfast post race which is so welcome! It’s a pretty laid back vibe and while they are very professional they don’t take themselves to seriously. The volunteers are great and there is pretty good sponsorship with Cliff laying on the “on course” goodies. The Russian River is at best shallow. If you are weak or wary swimmer it’s perfect and there are lots of places where you can touch the bottom, in fact some of it is so shallow you have to walk. The ride is pretty with some rolls but no real hills, it’s a bit bumpy in places, but the bulk of it is on freshly laid blacktop and the run is shady and pretty the former, in my mind, is much more important than the latter!
So here are all my details;
As you can see, the swim was meh, the bike better and the run pretty good! Overall from the swim exit to the end of the race I passed over 150 people…it’s not a real surprise but it’s given me food for thought for the next time; duathlon!?!