Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Raleigh 70.3 Race Report

This weekend I was in Raleigh, NC for my second start at the city's 70.3.  I really enjoy the course and the city, but coming three weeks after IMTX, I wasn't sure how it would go. Training has been relatively light and my body was not recovering as well as I would have hoped.  I drove down with a group from Richmond hoping that race day would bring a pleasant surprise.  Sadly, my day would involve more bad surprises than good.  

Pre-race was smooth and enjoyable as we went through the logistics of checking in to the 2 transition event.  I checked the Dimond into transition overnight and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with good company.  We were also trying to entertain/control Sidney, who was attending her first triathlon.  Race morning came early and I used a new First Endurance prototype for my breakfast I arrived early in transition to take care of last minute tire pumping... this would prove to be the biggest challenge of the race! The combination of slightly old tubes, heat, and supple Cotton Turbo sidewalls spelled disaster.  Alto wheels may be as fast as anything out there, but they are a only as good as the rubber... Here's how it went down:

Quite honestly I'm still shaking my head at my bad luck. First, the pump we brought broke.  After scavenging for a new one, my rear tire blew.  I changed it with my spare tube but had trouble with the tire bead slipping from the rim.  After finally getting it right, the front tire pumped with no issue and I headed to the swim.  I warmed up with stretch cords to avoid provoking my calves from cramping... until the stretch cords snapped!  They called us to the water, but also called my number to report to the announcer.  Apparently, my front tire had popped in transition.  I hit the water with a promise that the race organization would have it fixed by the time I get out of the water (it would take two tubes and a lot of work to get this accomplished.  Thank you to the race mechanics!).  I swam well and my body felt fantastic as I led the race out of the water with my blueseventy PZ4TX.  Finally my luck was changing!

When I arrived at the bike, everything was in order and I took off ready to ride hard and stay out of sight.  The legs were there and I was pleasantly surprised that IMTX fatigue was nowhere to be found.  Unfortunately, my optimism faded quickly as the front tire sidewall came loose from the rim and I had had to pull over to fix it.  Luckily, the tube didn't puncture so I deflated the tire, re-tucked the bead and inflated it with my last C02.  I lost the lead but was still in contention and feeling good.  The next 30 miles, I rode in and around the front group but knew that something wasn't right.  I had a slow leak that was making it tough to push the pace.  Finally, the front tire blew for final time.  I walked a mile or so to the nearest police-controlled intersection and radioed for help.

What happened?
After 30 minutes of so, I had a new front wheel and set out to finish the race.  Knowing my competitive day was over, I enjoyed the ride and arrived in T2 ready go for a solid training Run.  I took my time to say hello to Sidney (who was wondering what the heck was happening), put on sunscreen, and visit the port-a-potty.   My goal was to run a steady, negative split run in the heat to not only finish but get a bit of training in for the second half of the season.  I was now mixed up with the age group field and enjoyed the different view of the race.  In the end,  I came across the line having run off any frustration and ready to enjoy the post-race festivities with my fellow athletes and friends.  I believe I was the last pro male to finish, my 2nd time with that honor!

I can't help but be frustrated by the first half of my season.  None of the three races turned out the way I had planned and it seems I've been unable to show off my fitness or speed.  I was in a similar position last season but this year I don't have a giant hole in my leg.  I am looking forward to taking a bit of a mid-season break then coming back to a much better second half of the year starting with the Rev3 Poconos race.  Email me if you're interested in a discount code to come race with me. I will have a very experienced race manager on site and hopefully she'll be sans pacifier!  Thanks for reading.

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