For more information http://rev3tri.com/cedar-point/cedar-point-news/
I was racing Half Rev Aquabike (2.4mile Swim/112 mile Bike no run! I think!) as part of the Age Group Series. This means that if I race (2) Half Rev Aquabikes they will take my best (2) placements to determine if I get to race in the Age Group Series Championships in Knoxville 2014!
For this trip we dropped the kids with Grandma and Grandpa on our way. It was about 1/2 way so that was a good breaking point anyway. We got up “before” early.. and drove the rest of the way.
Got in just in time to say hello to some new faces and old and get to the swim practice.
The water was FLAT… but also LOW. So it was an in water start… but not that deep. Spent a couple of hours hanging out talking to people, applying Trislide, and then finally getting a swim in myself near the end with several of the Midwest Misfits who came out to race. Water was awesome.
went back to the expo, got my stuff checked in, and spent a lot of time talking to my Rev3 Teammates and the Rev3 Staff. It was as if I hadn’t seen them in weeks.. oh wait, many I had!! Every other week for the last 6. Hopefully they weren’t sick of me yet!
Interestingly enough as the day wore on several people asked what I was racing. HalfRev Aquabike… of course… and the comment of “why not do the FullRev?” Ha-Ha. Athlete humor. Prodding me on to do DOUBLE the race. Turn a 3hr 45min race into what… 8 hours? I haven’t ridden 100miles (let along 112) since… well… 2 years ago actually. Funny people, funny.
I brushed off the first… second… third… huh?
And then I find out there’s only 4 people in the FullRev. Really?
The medal BLINKS! I don’t HAVE one of those!!!
I checked with Liz.. fine by her. She’s kid-free and hanging loose anyway!
Put a post out on Social Media… yeah well, I knew those voices in my head would say DOOOOOOOOO ITTTTTTTT!!! which of course they did. Bunch of enablers… love ‘em for it too!
I checked with my coach… surely she would VETO such a foolish thought. Her, almost immediate, response? “I LOVE IT!!! DO IT!!!!!”
Hmmm… flat course. ok.
Weather is mild. ok.
Food/drink? Well… I can eat off the course.
Go from ZERO chance to improve my Age Group Series rankings to a chance? (I needed 3rd or better to improve)
Cost? None. One benefit of Team Rev3.. no charge for my racing with them
Fitness? Well… not sure about that.. probably can manage 8 hours. I will be rough I bet… maybe real rough. The swim will be fine but the bike? Hmmm…
LET’S DO IT!!!!
I scrambled back to the expo and begged Tracy to switch me, which she did, but that meant I had to move my bike and get new numbers and all that. All before a group dinner at 6pm for 24 people that I organized… so I better BE there!!
(look how clean transition is! No gear nearby! Everything had to be bagged)
Phew! Got it done, had dinner with some Prairie Dogs, Midwest Misfits, Wattie Ink, and some of my online friends! Great food and even got a show as one gentleman had to get the Heimlich done on his by his coach because he was choking! Hey, I said it was good food!
After dinner stop at Walmart for some Aquaphor (butt lube), food (Sweet and Salty Bars), and sunscreen and so on. Everything I would need for tomorrow. I managed to rummage through my car for enough gels (you know you’re a triathlete when you can come up with 8 extra gels by looking under the seats, in the console, in the glove box, and in your secret “emergency” stash… hehe
Get back to the room and I have to look up the procedures. FullRev is NOT AT ALL the same. FullRev you have bags for everything. CRAP! I didn’t get any bags!! Will have to get those tomorrow. Made do with some bags I was going to use for dirty clothes for now.
Packed up, figured it all out, stretched, and went through the coming day before bed.
For the first time, in a VERY LONG TIME, I was nervous. Wow. Kind of cool.
I was taking a risk. Would I die? No. But would I DNF? Now that’s almost worse… embarrass myself in front of my teammates, my friends rooting for me from afar, crush my own ego, etc…
Unlike lots of folks, I got a good night sleep, by 4am came early. I’ve got the morning down to a system which I followed to a T and everything moved along and before I knew it I was hauling my stuff to Transition in the dark along the beach with everyone else.
A silent march. Athletes from all over have converged to do battle against this course, themselves, their demons, their hopes, their fears… whatever the reason… we walked quietly as the waves splashed ashore. Which was the first thing I noticed. Those were waves, not ripples. I bet the wind shifted… yup. Northeast. Exactly the direction Jonathan (swim race director) was worried about. It would be a rough swim.
Made it to the expo and tossed some of my gear in the VIP tent for later (clothes and such). Another advantage of being on the Team. The VIP tent is for us to use as a home base. We can leave stuff, get snacks and drinks and get out of the sun. I found Tracy and got my bags, bagged up, and got everything arranged where it should.
Announcements over the loudspeaker… the swim has been moved. The 3-5 foot waves and riptides have caused a small craft advisory – it’s not safe. Thankfully, Cedar Point has a spare swim location! However, this would mean a 1/2 mile walk/run/hobble to transition. There are worse problems in this world… I wasn’t worried. Except now I needed to walk/hobble my butt over there!
As I get ready to head over I start seeing other friends racing and wish them well. Many were surprised to see me, remembering I said I was doing the HalfRev… and I got some funny looks, big smiles, and a couple “HOLY CRAP”s as we all made it over to the swim start.
I got a practice swim in, water was WONDERFUL. Got lined up and ready to go. Chatted with several first timers and reminded them… this is what they’ve been training for. SMILE and enjoy the big long catered training day!
In theory, everyone was self seeding. So I asked people how fast they were and placed myself accordingly. I figured 1:20-1:30. After all, I’m not trained.. so that should be a fairly easy pace.
Finally we’re off! We had to swim 2 laps around this little island in the harbor. I started EASY knowing I had a long day ahead. Immediately I’m passing everyone. Jesh people, do you not understand what SELF SEEDING means? Apparently not. Passed about 30 people within the first 10 minutes.
As soon as we turned the first buoy I could feel the current was pushing me. So I completely enjoyed the ride in the Yacht Flume (there were a bunch of yachts to our right). Others were not catching the ride as again, I was passing people like CRAZY. What the heck?? I did a quick check… no I wasn’t going hard. Muscles were loose and relaxed, breathing was light.
Second turn we went into the current, so it was slower going, but it seemed manageable. Breathing increased but I kept it easy.
finally around the next buoy I’m back to the original bay. At this point a few people passed me as I made my way back to the Yacht Flume, caught several more people, and then around the buoy again and back into the current.
This time, however, the winds had changed and the water was getting rougher. I actually had to work on this last segment but it was fine. I did get a little off course for a bit but not too bad.
Finally I’m back to the original bay and heading to the swim exit. But holy cow the wind has picked up and it’s pushing waves directly in my face. I struggled to keep on course at this point having to correct my course many times due to shifting currents (or me going off course?).
Regardless the end came soon enough and I gingerly found the bottom of the boat ramp and got a hand up and off I went. 1:16? COOL! 4 min PR from CdA!
I peeled off my Blueseventy Helix OMG that comes off easy and plopped on my butt for the wetsuit strippers who had it off me in no time. Got my shoes and did my fast-walk back to transition. Running in any form would just mess me up.
Tons of folks passed me at this section. I mean tons. Very discouraging… even though I knew I wasn’t racing against them, it still stinks.
Finally into transition I run to my bag and dump all my wet stuff in it, get out sunscreen and spray liberally (already did once but just in case…) and go.
Get my bike, quickly get my stuff on, and go! On the bike at 1:30. For a 1/2 mile walk and transition… I’ll take it!
I have ridden this course before and I rode a part of it Sat. The first is down this little strip of beach houses. ALWAYS windy and the road is less than ideal. So I cannot drop down low into the Aero bars but I need to ride low. I get down low and ride in the easy gear and add gears as the legs warm up. Not even 10minutes in BANG hit a rough section of road and POP goes my emergency bottle of Aquaphor. CRAP! My biggest fear is my crotch is going to get rubbed raw and that was my saving grace… I slow and try to find it.. can’t… decide to leave it and move on. I get into a groove. I know I have another one coming at mile 50something in my special needs bag. Let’s hope I don’t need it.
I start with my hydration and nutrition plan. 2 gels and hour and 1 bottle an hour… It’s cool out, 300 calories should be enough. This initial section is ok. Not slow, not fast. My disc wheel doesn’t seem to be helping or… my fear… hurting. cool.
I plug along south to we go west a bit. This is the start of the big rectangle we will do twice. It’s about 15 miles on the long side. This is where the wind HELPED and wind we had… 25mph sustained winds… mostly from the northeast. But it really felt like EAST or EASTNORTHEAST. Because that section going west was FAST. Like 25mph pedaling easy! However, this is (if I remember right) where the hills on this course are. Nothing major though, but some fast downhills, followed by the only real hill of substance ending in a small town with an aid station. I passed up the aid station… I was fine… eating on schedule and not tired yet. I was having some trouble with my back. Having a hard time getting comfortable down in aero. I tried stretching but nothing was working. I was worried because we’re only at 20 miles… I could ignore it for 56 – but for 112? Hmmmm… Went back to focusing on trying to do the math. If I could do the first 10 miles in this speed, what would that mean for 112? How about at 20? And so on… lots and lots of math! Helped distract me from the discomfort.
Heading East.. oh… my… god… that was horrible. You’re on a flat road, pedaling 250watts, and going 10mph. It was crazy. And yeah, like 15miles long. I just tucked down low in aero and pedaled. Might as well have climbed a 15mile hill. Now my back was mad AND my glutes and hamstrings too. I really worked on sucking in my core, which tilts my pelvis and allows me to better use my hammies. I learned that trick in PT lately… but I wasn’t yet strong, so I couldn’t hold it. But it helped a LOT when I was doing it. Ok, doing the math… can I break 6 hours? No way. That long stretch killed my average. 6:30 is likely though. Maybe 6:15.
I started increasing my food intake to 400cals/hour at this point. I was getting tired and foggy. Math was hard. Math should not be hard. Must eat and drink.
Finally when we got to turn north I thought YIPPEE!! Well no. It was just as bad. How that’s possible I don’t know. It was worse actually. Thankfully shorter only maybe 5 miles. Now my neck hurt. Really? come on body… pull it together!
Finally, we turn west again. YIPPEEEE!!!! Right? Right? Wrong. Chip seal road. The bane of bikers everywhere. Instead of resurfacing the road they toss tar, toxic waste, and rocks on the road. Bikes don’t like it, they go slow and there are little rocks that slip. First several miles going west was slow going because of this. FINALLY got some clean pavement… after maybe 23 miles of wind and yuk… and I flew. I mean flew. Long sections at 28mph. That. Was. Nice. I didn’t let up the power. I tried to hold about 190-200 watts for those sections. The heart rate was staying under control (150-152) so I managed the power and heart rate within a very fine range. I knew if I was going to last… I needed to be smart. My body was already complaining all over, but it was a dull complaining, the kind I could set aside and attend to later. So I did. But could I for another 4 hours? Dang that seemed like along time.
Finally I see people calling in race numbers. That means special needs is coming up! GOOD because I’m running seriously low on food. I knew increasing my food intake was going to mean I needed to eat off the course, which was OK because I was using Powerbar Gels and that’s what is on the course!
I stopped for my bag. I got the Aquaphor out and shoved it in my back pocket. I crammed my Sweet and Salty bar in my mouth, stuffed my gels in, and took a 5 hour energy and put it in my back pocket… in case. that was my “last resort”.
I got going, probably stopped for only 2-3 minutes but it helped. A LOT. My glutes, hammies, and neck no longer hurt. The back was tight but not hurting. I think I just broke through. Good… we’re almost half way there!
The next loop was more of the same, except a lot more talking amongst racers. A lot of joking and encouragement. I had about 6 people I kept leap frogging. Actually met an athlete who had the same coach as me! Small world! We chatted and eventually I dropped her… along with most of the others. Only Mr Red Shirt managed to stay ahead of me. Never out of sight… but I couldn’t get him. We were amazingly evenly matched.
At this point the heart rate was dropping and the watts were dropping. Ok, serious fatigue is setting in. HR remained in a tight range – 148-151 but the watts were down to 180s. There wasn’t any more in the tank. No surprised, I was completely untrained for this duration. Granted, I’d done several 5 hour races this year, but I hadn’t seen over 5 in a couple years. I was starting to falter.
And my crotch really hurt.
But doing the math… could I break 8 hours? It was VERY possible. Do I stop and apply aquapor to the nether regions or do I keep going? Do I pee or keep going? I REALLY wished I had practiced peeing on the bike in training… because I sure couldn’t pull it off here.
So, with full bladder, mad back, sore neck, and a tired body I trudged on. And on. And on… Seemed like forever until we got the west section and the free speed. It. Was. So. AWESOME.
However, it went fast. Before I knew it we were heading north. Somewhat into the wind now. Arg. Hunker down. The only good news is this means only about 10 miles. The bad news? BAD ROADS and traffic. GAWD my feet hurt. I’m curling my toes in my shoes because both feet are killing me. Shuddup feet get in line!
Luckily the traffic was very aware of the race and very considerate. Those people rock.
Not luckily is the road got 20x worse since I came down it this morning. The divots were like spikes in my crotch. Every bump resonated in my skull. I was SO DARN TIRED. And the wind guts were up to 37mph and having a disc wheel was a BAD IDEA at that point. For once I was thankful for my weight. A lighter person my have been blow right off their bike.
As the miles crawled by I stopped looking at my watch. I was ALL OUT at this point… which probably mean like a 2% increase in effort… but I couldn’t make the finish come any faster watching the watch. Would I make sub8:00? It was going to be close. At this point, you’re into the “rounding errors” of the GPS and so on.. it is 112? 112.3? 111.7? That could make the difference… it was that close.
Finally the park is in sight. I throw in another gear I didn’t have in the parking lot to the dismount. I passed 4-5 people who were stretching and lolli-gagging to the finish. They had to run.. I didn’t. I just had to finish.
I don’t dare do a flying dismount, so I dismount and run over the line. Stop my watch…. 8:02
ARG! So close!!!
But so glad to be off the bike!
I stumble over to my rack and ditch the bike and my stuff. I can barely walk I’m so tired. And my feet. Dang they hurt. Still. I wander over to a chair and self massage my feet. Pop. Snap. Crack. Pop. Ahhh… so much better. Now I can walk. well, if I can stand up. Eventually, I managed that and wandered off to get my stuff.
BIG. HUGE. GRIN. I did it.
I wandered back to the expo, got my recovery drink in me, put my compression tights on, ate some food and generally wandered aimlessly for a while and talked to a few folks. I wanted to get in the lake to get a mini-ice bath. Nope. Waves are worse. I wanted to get in the Normatec boots… there’s a line 30 deep. Nope. So I just sat in the VIP tent a while and chatted with some of the Rev3 Teammates kids.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had managed 3rd place FullRev Aquabike.
Eventually I decided to head back to the hotel. Liz drove over and we loaded up the car and went back to the hotel so I could clean up, nap a bit, then go eat. After a great dinner headed back to the expo… This party wasn’t over!
The first male finisher was around 9 hours. I later found out the first female was around 10:20 and our very own TeamRev3 Laura! Woot-woot! However, when I got back it was 13 hours in and there were a ton of people still out there.
The Rev3 team had a little tent with a little cooler and some pizzas and my teammates along with some of my other friends from Midwest Misfits and my online friend Erica all joined the party along with some staff, volunteers, family and friends. One big family.
There’s Teammate Rev3 Susan on her 67th 140.6 distance race!
And Susan a little while later
One of the many reasons Rev3 is so awesome is it’s about the racer. Every single one of the finishers got to finish to a party. Several racers came and joined us… a few had to sit down to party… but they stayed and cheered on the rest! UNTIL THE VERY LAST FINISHER. When the last finisher came down the finish line… this is what happened…
It was awesome. Hard to put into words. We were celebrating their victory… it was about 1am. Most of us at the finish had raced. Several, including Laura had finished racing 140.6 miles as hard as she could… 8 hours ago. She was still there cheering, dancing, and having a blast. How cool is that?
You wonder why we do this stuff? It’s moments like these.