I entered this race as part of a team competition called MERCRS (Mid-East Regional Championship Race Series) where selected races are selected and points are distributed based on distance to the race from your team 'home', AG and OA placing, or by just finishing. With the Championship race for our Region being this coming saturday this was my last chance to gain points for my team whos 'home' is Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!).
Pre-Race- Woke up at 4:30 and headed down the road at 5. I have the directions typed into the MEMO on my phone and Im just waiting for my exit, ok so the exit is wrong when I get there (said 177, actually 183), THEN, apparently there is no 9th street but a 19th street, the lake Im looking for is SOUTHWEST out of town on a road that wasnt on the directions, instead of NORTHWEST on a road that the local gas station attendent had never heard of! I finally get to the venue (30 minutes before the start) with the announcement they are running a half hour late, this was actually a blessing as far as I was concerned. Pre-race set up as per usual.....
Swim- This was an OLY distance and the water temp ticked just a touch over the wetsuit legal temp limit of 78 and rested ever so gently on 85! Mattoon Lake is very long out to the west of the swim course, which combined with 20mph winds made the swim course 'rolling' to say the least, I cant begin to explain how much water I swam through when I was sighting and breathing. I was happy with the swim time considering the no wetsuit and the waves/wake.....swim time 24:50, with T1 26:--
Bike- The bike course was on country roads and was generaly flat and very open to wind, a couple rollers but very tame overall. The first 5-6 miles were all with a tailwind so I enjoyed the 28mph average on our way to the first turnaround. At the turnaround however I realized how much wind there actually was, my return trip was 14mph before a slight trip back before we turned back to go with the wind. With the wind the speed picked back up for about 4 miles, then a loop through the country that head/cross winds for all but a mile, mile 1/2. Once the loop was over we began the long straightaway back into the wind for the final 12 or so miles to the race site. I dropped into my small chain ring and tried to keep the cadence high so as not to push a big gear and burn out but it wasnt working. It was all I could do to maintain 18mph on that return....bike time, 1:10, with T2 1:11
Run- If my GF counted correctly I was 5th OA coming off the bike and could see 4th place about 300 yards up the road. Myself and another guy left T2 almost next to each other and I could tell he was a great runner and he slowly pulled away from me. I was about 75 yards away on the guy who was previously in 4th when my body shut down. By shut down I mean, "Thanks for showing up today 'CadenceGuy' but your race is over, you will not be making the podium today and we will have you walk the rest of the 5 miles remaining in your 10k." To me, there was still a finish-line that I had to get too and just becuase the race wasnt going my way I was still going to finish. So I changed my roll from 'Racer' to 'Encourager' I got passed by sooooooo many people and did my best to encourage the ones who needed encouraging and perk the ears of those who respond like 'TriSooner'. I finally made it to within a couple hundred feet of the finishing chute, zipped up my jersey, and chugged onward laughing the whole time. My gf was sitting at the entrance to the park and saw me (of course at this time she knew something was wrong) and just started laughing too and met me at the finishline a few minutes later. Run time, wait, sorry....walk time 1:12! Total time was 2:50, which some how got me 3rd in my AG haha, and points for the team. Onward to Kentucky for our Regional!!!