06-02 Rev3 Quassy
This was a last moment addition to the schedule and I was looking forward to it! I mean look at that jersey! How cool is that? VERY. I WANT it but to GET it I need to DO it!
To the other extreme….
Since Knoxville, things have been a little rough. I had to DNS (did not start) Tough Mudder because not only was I not in shape but I then jacked my ankle and it needed time to recover. However, due to a weird series of events we figured out I COULD go do Rev3 Quassy Aquabike and my wife was able to come as well. Arrangements were made and I was excited to see my Rev3 Family and do a tough training day, as I heard the hills were MUCH harder than Knoxville. And Knoxville is much harder than anything I can train on in Chicago.
Although I knew this would not be a stellar “performance” I knew this would be a challenging training day and as I always say… that which doesn’t kill you…. Hurts real bad! But it will make you stronger.
So we dropped off the kids, fly in, and… whoops! 2 of 3 bags made it. Now, before you freak out… the bike made it. My gear made it. Phew. Oh, but we had no other clothes. Eh, details. Maybe it’ll be a spandex weekend!
Got to the car rental place and apparently in Connecticut a Grand Caravan is…. A very tiny little 2 door. Yeah, bike box was about as big as THAT car. Had to do some messing around and they corrected it. However, I did get to meet pro Kristi Johnson on the bus ride over, she was really sweet and very excited to race Rev3.
FINALLY we get moving and… traffic. Arg. We finally made it to the team dinner about 30min late, but enough time to do some introductions, grab a bite, and prepare for the Glow Run. On the way this crazy (awesome) lady starts yelling RONBO!!! It was Cake – one of my imaginary friends who I’ve known for YEARS and yet never met in person until now!! Whoo hooo!
Later Liz and I helped with the popcorn and Powerbar distribution at the finish line, had a blast, and cheered on the finishers (and made sure the kids got tons and tons of popcorn!!) The later finishers got an extra surprise because instead of having them pick a Powerbar flavor we started handing out all 3 and congratulating them!!! Lots of smiles and happy folks, the glow run is a blast.
As they started the kids movie, we decided to get back to the hotel. We needed to get some supplies (which were in our suitcase) and so on. Did all that and collapsed.
Sat morning I put together my bike… tried it out… seemed good.
I still planned to have the bike guys check it out though… in case!
It was like 92, so Liz opted to stay and write as I went to the Expo to check in, drop my bike, connect with some teammates and do the test swim, get my rental wetsuit, do another test swim (OMG OMG OMG – insert girly squeal – I LOVE the BlueSeventy Helix! ), get my bike tuned up – love that diagnosis- GUILTY AS CHARGED!
– hung out with some teammates and met some more of my imaginary friends (Adco and Emco!) – it’s a reunion! But finally I knew I needed to get off my feet, out of the freaking sun, and off to nap – which I did. Was having fun though, booo!! Want-more-fun!
Back to the hotel, napped, and prepared for Dinner and met ANOTHER imaginary friend (ksurp) and had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughs. Back to the hotel by 8:30 and time to prepare my gear. In bed by 10… only to be up at 4.
Slept well and 4am wasn’t as miserable as it could have been! (that’s 3am my time remember!) I managed to get ready, eat, and out the door around 5. Good thing because there was a long line of people waiting to get into the Quassy parking lot.
A pro ahead of me hopped out of the car, got on her bike, and rode in! She didn’t want to wait!
I managed to get in no problem, get setup, and chatted with teammates and saw Cake again! So fun being half way across the country and knowing SO many people!
There was a crazy Filipino guy embarrassing the crap out of his teammates. He had a loudspeaker, a king cape, and a huge hat. Kind of like the Burger King guy, Filipino style – and he was announcing that we should all get out of the way because XXX was in the house or XXX was going to dominate or whatnot, was absolutely hilarious.
I was in the 7:30 wave so I had tons of time, so I leisurely ambled to the start spent a lot of time stretching, did my warm-up swim, and mentally prepared for the day. I was wearing the Blue seventy Helix today, first time I’d been in it, but I REALLY liked the feel. I just didn’t know how the body would react under race conditions.
The Aquabikers were with the young ladies. So I had a pretty Lavender cap (I’m told “lavender” is a color, I thought it was a smell or flower or something). I donned it and it was clearly the ugliest and furriest chick in the wave as we lined up. I put myself about 3 rows back in the center. My swim has been feeling ok enough to merit probably being in the first couple rows, but with the new wetsuit I really wasn’t so sure.
Soon we were off! A lot of running… several of the ladies decided to swim real early, which was dumb, I ran right by them… then finally I did a dolphin dive and managed to start swimming. Immediately lots of crowding and pushing – normal stuff – but soon it got ugly. Within 200meters I got slammed into multiple times and punched and hit several times. The worst though was the kick in the throat! Out of no-where this leg flailed out and got me. I’m used to this from the guys, but these wenches were vicious! That kick was completely uncalled for at this phase, everyone was still on top of each other so she clearly wanted people away from her – NOTE I was not grabbing nothing I wasn’t supposed to grab!! LOL
It took a bit to recover from the throat kick because I do enjoy breathing air. I lost some position as I just moved into a steady slow swim as I caught my breath and got my bearings. Then I started off again and got into a groove. It took a while to get into a groove still but I did and I was loving the suit. My rhythm was good, pace felt good – I was passing again – and breathing was fine. Hit the first turn (1/3) in about 10:30 which was great. The turn, however, was very messy. Again, there was a lot of unnecessary kicking and flailing and I batted away several limbs that had no business being in my face. These girls are MEAN!
Once I got back into the pack, I started passing some different color caps from the prior wave. I knew, however, I was off the back of the main pack though as I could see them well ahead. 2nd 1/3 was 25 (so 14:30) so I really blew It on that segment (assuming they were even, which maybe they were not).
Once we rounded the final turn, I was able to get into a groove – but I was swinging tree trunks at this point. My arms were DEAD. I was going through the motions but they were so tight I am sure my form when to heck. I was still passing some folks, including some lavender caps but I managed to get my goggles kicked completely OFF my face… TWICE. More flailing legs. Good golly ladies, keep those legs together!! Didn’t your mother teach you anything?!! There is no need to have a wide kick in swimming (hey, what were YOU thinking?)
Finished around 38, which was disappointing because I was hoping for a 35ish. I know I’m not in shape for much better at the moment. By the end of the summer I’d like to be back under 30. Maybe I should swim more than 1x/week? Yeah that would help!
So I pulled the zipper and my wetsuit basically fell off. OMG I love this wetsuit. I ran with it ½ on and managed up to the transition.
As I get in the announcer Sean English announces “And here is Team Rev3’s own Viking coming into Transition!” and all I thought was “God, this would be a bad time to fall on your face!!” LOL. I managed a fairly decent transition and soon I was off.
The bike mount went ok, I was geared well, so I managed to get started on the bike on the right foot.
Before I get into the bike… let me start off by saying I’m fat, I’m old, I hate the heat, I’ve never SEEN this course (bike or car), and I’m from Chicago (we have no hills). Ok, all my excuses are lined up. Let’s begin.
We started off and with 10 miles there were already a couple MAJOR segments which required long periods of climbing in the granny gear at 4mph. These (2) little segments were longer than the longest hill at the Ironman Madison – which is our premier hilly course local to us. One was so bad I kept popping a wheelie! I was around 700watts on that one, so no where near the 200watt limit. Oops! But I really had no desire to walk it so I did what I had to do.
I could have gone faster, but my coach and I decided to try out managing the bike via Power ONLY. No heart rate. So I had to pick an arbitrary power range and then stick to it – so I decided the hills would be done under 200watts if at all possible. The idea was to simulate a full tri so I would not burn my legs up for the run. 200 was arbitrary but probably a reasonable number that I could hold for a very very long time. We’d find out.
By mile 15 it was getting pretty darn hot. The climbs were miserable already, at 4-8mph on these hills there is no real air flow and it was super sunny.
The downhill segments were SO FUN – I hit 45mph on a couple and 30-35mph on MANY. But they seemed so short in comparison to the climbs which were stupid long. I hammered the downhills and flats, hoping to average out the really slow climbs. If I did 10 minutes at 4mph and 10 minutes at 35mph that’s almost a 20mph average. Too bad it didn’t work out that way! LOL
The hill which started at 24 was crazy. 7 miles long, almost the whole thing climbing (there were some small breaks). That hill alone took about an hour and I was BAKING in the sun. My bike was creaking and moaning, as was I. Actually I was singing about rolling up the M-Fing hills (Just imagine the Rawhide song… and integrate a few expletives into the lyrics and you get the idea). BUT I did hold my power targets, which kept the HR in check, it just made for a real slow ride.
The downhills after were fun but seemed disproportionately short.
And it was high in my mind that I had only done 2 of 6 Cat5 (worst) hills and just did the 1 Cat 3 hills. That meant there was much more coming. And there was. Real soon.
Somewhere along these MF hills, I found my friend Ksurp who was also struggling on them, but she managed to hold strong and finish well ahead of me – so she handled them better. Saw several teammates (as they passed me, except one who had a bike failure) and I managed to just keep plugged away.
After Cat5 Hill 4 of 6 my legs were toast. I was spending a lot of time stretching. My speed on the flats was not real good. My hamstrings and glutes were really pissed off and occasionally tightening up real bad. I was spot on with my nutrition, my hydration was a little behind – but with those in check I normally would be ok. But not today. The workload and heat (It was 80+) were taking it’s toll. I’ve not been outside above 60 this year and 80 is usually the high end any year. I was not acclimated. I think I probably needed more electrolytes but there was none to have. I was taking water at every aid station and pouring water all over me and drinking the rest. So I managed probably 5 bottles of fluids in 4 hours of riding, but I barely had to pee – so I bet it wasn’t enough.
Around mile 40 I started counting down the miles. At 44 there was a fun little segment of downhill, but I knew there would be 2 more Cat5 climbs so I kept it easy and I tried to gain some time and stretch – all at the same time. Probably didn’t do real great at any but I also don’t think I was thinking well at that point.
I managed the return trip up that nice downhill and hit the next Cat5. I just trudged up it. My legs were tired but still had it in them so up we went.
Tick off the miles, one at a time. The last climb was maybe 3 miles out and you are going opposite the runners. Said howdy to a few and just trudged along. The slight downhills in the last 2 miles were no good to me. My legs were just not able to give me more than 16mph. I should have been 25+. As I came into the finish my friends were there in their popup cheering everyone on! Whoo hooo!!
I was happy to dismount. Soon as I did, however, BAM my hamstrings seized up and I had to bend over. Owie. Then the glutes joined in. I was SO happy I was no running today, there is no way.
So I’m not sure if I really succeeded in my power experiment. Was I in bad shape because of the volume and intensity of hills was so much more than I’ve trained for? Was my power target too high? Was it too hot (and I’m not acclimated?). Don’t know, but these are all things my coach and I will review.
I racked my bike and got my sneakers on (pavement was HOT). I got my recovery drink and filled it up and hobbled back to my bike. I knew I needed my compression tights so I grabbed those and sat down to put them on when one of the guys helping in transition looked at me and realized what a sorry SOB I was and told me to go get in the lake to clear the legs. DUH oh course, I knew that. But I was not right in the head. I grabbed my stuff and did just that. It was DIVINE.
Afterwards I got the compression tights on and went to meet up with everyone, put my gear away, etc.
I ran the finish chute – in my bike helmet – to get my medal (which is AWESOME)
Met up with friends and teammates – talked to Heather Jackson (pro) in the VIP tent and congratulated her on her podium today.
The VIP tent was pretty sparse of teammates. I later learned it was a rough day. We had multiple DNF’s and at least one in the hospital and everyone else was suffering from the heat pretty bad.
There were storms coming so the staff was working to tear down as much as they could as early as they could to avoid that. I decided it was best to get out of the way so I headed back to the hotel.
All in all a fun training weekend. I don’t have my final time but I’m sure it was absurdly slow – just under 5 hours. I look forward to racing on a course which is suited to my style (ie not hilly) and I can really hammer. These 4 hour bikes are getting old! Give me a Chicagoland course where I can sub3 them, I’ll be much happier!! The ego is taking some serious hits with these slow races lately (training days or not)
Plus, I’m sunburnt!! BAD. Boooo. I applied a liberal coating and had a friend add more and get those spots that sometime sneak out. I let it dry. After the race reapplied too! My shoulders are so fried that it’s like I had nothing on at all. SPF70 my butt! I need to remember the brand (some kids version of spray on I think Coppertone) because I will not use that again! Good thing Liz brought Aloe!
I look forward to the Rev3 Dells race, which again is a hilly course. Of course, but I expect that will be a training day for either Rev3 Maine or Rev3 Cedar Point – which will be a serious race for me.