Every year I pick a series of events that are marked as “for fun”. The key is “no stress”, “no expectations”, “F-U-N only”. Typically, I pick events where fun is not an option: “Muddy Buddy”, “B-2-B” … but when the opportunity to race Wildflower came my way, sandwiched between Ironman Arizona and Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 (“Lubbock”), I decided to race the “Olympic” for “kicks and giggles” – fun only.
A race-day purchase of some wonderfully "vibrant", wildflower print, “Fuzzy Duds” shorts, helped keep the tone where it was supposed to be. It was also great to see “Cowboy”, the founder, working the booth. I have known him since his early days when we met on Diablo and I have enjoyed watching him find business success and achieve his dream.
I must confess that a little bit of the “competitive Joe” leaked out … I did review what the short course specialists, like Pete Kain, Jason Campbell and Kyle Welch have been doing these days … and on this course in particular. WOW! Very cool to see how the times have fallen! These “middle-aged” guys really rock the “Oly” distance. I decided that my “competitive” goal for the day was to get as close to the top 5 “short course guys”, as possible, and to do my best to contribute to Forward Motion Sports and FMRC in the club competition ... and have F-U-N.
Physically I’ve had a strained left shoulder since IMAZ (from hauling luggage - not from the event) and residual pain in my forearm caused by the plate and screws in my arm, so my swim training in the 3 weeks between events was "once". I did not have any issues with the distance, but I was pulling more bubbles than I should have been as a result of not swimming.
I am rusty on transitions and should have been faster.
T1 - 2:28
I pushed the bike hard, but was slow on the clock for several reasons:
- IMAZ 3 weeks ago.
- No taper. Lubbock (70.3) is 8 weeks out … so after 2 weeks of easy riding after IMAZ, I am back to high watts work. Read: 14,000 feet of climbing and a couple of high-watt “Computrainer” sessions in the week leading into Wildflower, including a “healthy ride” on the mountain with my friend and teammate Jason Cruser.
- I was also a complete “pussy” on the descents. I chose to ride a new Blackwell Research (Just out of the box – 1st ride) front wheel that I will use in Kona and I get a little nervous bombing around on new equipment. I also carry a little trepidation, I kind of "tense", as a result of my accident. Net: I lacked the confidence to push the high-speed descents, but wanted to use the race to get on the wheel..
- I kept F-U-N in mind and played to the volunteers and the folks who lined the course – I had a blast doing it and was rewarded with “cheers” and “smiles” along the way. Good stuff!
- I also dumped the TT helmet for this race and went “vented”. Maybe I’ll share more at a later date, when I have explored where I am headed with my training. If you are thinking: “you gave up free time by not going aero-helmet”, the answer is “yes”, but sometimes symbolism is needed ... important.
I drank one bottle of my CytoSport cocktail and felt wonderful and well caloried enough to work hard the entire ride and have enough calories for the run. I earned the time I posted. I am happy with it.
Bike - 1:13:55
Handled T2 better than T1
T2 - 1:48
My big goal, after my "suffer-fest" at IMAZ, was to have a solid run. I have been training daily, as a result of it (AZ), and took 2 days of run taper, prior to Wildflower, to insure that I would not … umm … fall apart … or ... ummm... “Yak” ... on the finish line … again. I had a heart rate monitor on, out of habit, turned it around at mile marker "1", so I could not see it. At mile 2, I fully committed and turned the damned thing “off” and ran the rolling course on feel, on fun, on the energy of the race, surfing my own energy’s “ups” and “downs”. I was thrilled with how good, and how happy, I felt and was overjoyed with my run split. I also went to lengths to acknowledge, and thank, the volunteers … something I did little of in Arizona ... and needed to make up for.
Run - 41:26 (6:41 m/m) in Nike Zoom Elite's
I finished 7th in AG, a solid result that gives me confidence that I am recovering from IMAZ and on track to execute well in Lubbock.
It was a fabulous “Tri-fest” hanging with teammates, friends, and my bride … a bonus: “FMRC” scored a 4th place in the club competition!