It Seemed Like Such a Good Idea at the Time

Rumpus in Bumpass, Part 2: April 18 2010

Content Advisory: The unabashed narcissism represented by the images in this blog post was made possible by a series of Team Z photographers.  Unfortunately, individual photo credits were impossible to assign so I just want to give a big thank you to J.R. Stratton, Masaki Takahashi, Doug Mansfield, Ed Zerkle, Sebastian Cole.  Thanks to them, after years of racing I finally get some decent photos, so please forgive my enthusiasm.

`Twas the Night Before Rumpus. . .Again

A couple of the things we love most about Tina, our German Shepherd, is that she is so incredibly flexible (she chases and catches frisbees with the athleticism of a dog half her size) and so amazingly compliant (you cuddle her and she goes completely limp).  These are lovely qualities.

Unless the 65 pound dog that possesses them, exhausted by a hard day of schmoozing, decides to throw herself down in the middle of your tent.

And refuses to move.

DSC_0059

Do not be fooled by Tina’s appearance.
When placed inside a tent she expands to three times
her normal size.

As soon as we zipped open the tent flap Tina charged inside, made herself at home on top of the sleeping bags and passed out.  Pulling, shoving, dragging, nothing moved her.  She went completely limp.  Trying to move that much weight around in a confined space where you don’t exactly have a lot of leverage proved to be a losing proposition so we climbed into bed and tried our best to nudge out some space for ourselves.  We’re so used to our former dogs, Dylan and Sayla, who quite happily settled down on the fringes of the tent.  Clearly we need to work on Tina’s sense of entitlement.

On the plus side, the wind was dying down, and it looked like we’d get a good night’s sleep (as good as you can with a German Shepherd lying on top of you).  I’d certainly earned it.  Today I’d raced my first ever triathlon.

And tomorrow I would race my second.  I was beginning to feel that my year was increasingly being summed up by the phrase: well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Rolling and Falling

The morning was brisk to say the least but at least the wind was almost nonexistent and the lake looked a lot calmer than yesterday.  After a light breakfast it was time to join the throngs of people at the lakeside watching the crazies: in this case a bunch of Zers who had decided that the best cure for a hangover was to actually swim across the lake from their rental house to the race site.  As they exited the water at least a couple of them seemed to be feeling that this might not have been the brightest idea!  But it was quite the entrance.

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Now there’s something I was supposed to do today. . .
what was it again?

I’d planned to at least do the swim and the bike today but I could feel no discomfort from my calf cramp from the previous day (kudos to Rick) and I felt like I might be able to do the whole thing.

As the start time for my wave neared the wind began to pick up (of course) and by the time we hit the water hopes for a nice smooth swim had disappeared.  There wasn’t the nasty chop of yesterday, but there was a rather unexpected swell.  It was also a little unpredictable as at times I would think I had the rhythm sorted out and then the water would unexpectedly drop out from under me.  Swam wide again on the opening leg and definitely felt the tiredness from the day before.  The surprise today was the final leg; there definitely seemed to be a current running and I found myself getting pushed off to the left along with most everyone else.  So I felt like I ended up swimming a bit of extra distance today, more than I had expected.

Time: 19:15.

Cold Comfort

I tried to move with a purpose through transition being systematic with everything I was doing.  There’d been quite a bit of debate in the team about what to wear for the bike leg since the air temperature was pretty cold.  I’d been very conscious of this during the swim actually, so much so that after putting my head up to sight the water felt deliciously warm when I submerged it again.  But I opted for my tri top and although I was mildly concerned at starting off riding in the cold when I was soaking wet it proved to be a non-event.  Cold is obviously my friend, and to tell the truth I don’t remember being conscious of the temperature at all after I exited the water.

Ran well out of transition and then made a complete dog’s breakfast of the mount.  I missed my pedal while running the first time, had trouble clipping in while moving and was in the wrong gear for an uphill start to boot.  Somehow I avoided taking anyone else out or doing a Lance down the nearby grass slope.

Bike Sprint

Finally!

12 miles is a short distance for me on the bike; in fact I think I’ve only done a single duathlon with a leg that short.  So I was feeling like I could really hammer this and I proceeded to do just that.  Bike traffic was heavy pretty much the whole loop round and the blind ignorance of riding rules was much more pronounced than yesterday (which in one sense you would expect since sprints typically attract a lot of first-timers; that, however, doesn’t relieve first-timers from knowing the rules).  On one of the bridges I cam across a particularly bad situation.  I remember Ed saying at the transition clinic how when you get people who know what they are doing that even when there are multiple overlapping passes going on the whole thing plays out like a perfectly choreographed ballet.  Well, you can also see the opposite; you can see a bad situation setting up.

I’m always looking several riders ahead of the ones I’m in the process of passing and there were two guys riding nose to tail as they passed slower traffic. . .passed traffic Sloooooooowly.  Eventually the first guy pulled over, but his drafter just sat there riding on the left.  I hollered out “On your Left” when I was quite a ways back, but he either didn’t hear me, or interpreted this as “Hi!  How ya doin!  Great job!  Just keep on doing what you are doing!” As I entered the draft zone I called out a second time, and then a third.  He didn’t change his cadence at all, didn’t look back.  I called out “Pass or drop back.”  No response.  Finally I yelled “Get the hell out of the way!”  Yes, I know, breaking a rule myself there with the unsporting conduct.  But I could hear other bikes coming up behind me and it was only a matter of time before someone tried to cross the center line.  Of course, there’s never an official round when you need one, which I guess was good for me also.  After my outburst he Sloooooooowly moved over.

Bike Back

Does this bike make my butt look big?

The rest of the bike leg was relatively uneventful.  I was pushing, pushing the whole way and was feeling the strain of that a little by the end, and hoping that I would have enough left for the run.

Time: 37:35.

Getting it Done

Not a great day for all the technical aspects of the bike leg because I managed to screw up the dismount as well, coming at the line too fast and having to jam on the brakes at the last minute.  I got off intact, but the bike kicked up like a wild thing.  Had a clean transition, however, and then was trying to get my legs moving while running uphill over uneven terrain.  There was a large Team Z cheering contingent at the turn into the woods: Iwan and Melody trumpeting up a storm, Alexis shouting himself hoarse.  I was just trying to concentrate on not arsing over on the tree roots.

I remember very little of the run.  Once I got out of the woods and hit the slight downhill I settled in to a good cadence, and then before I knew it I’d reached the turnaround and was heading for home.

Running

If someone didn’t save me a burger I’m going to be royally pissed.

Again, I concentrated on getting through the woods with my body and dignity intact, and then I kicked in the afterburners.  Passed several people in the final stretch and gratefully crossed the line.

Time: 26:28

Overall Time: 1:27:15.

My first double was complete.

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