Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vineman Triathlon - 70.3

“Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
Didn't get to bed last night
Oh, the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man, I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy …”

… John Lennon in my mind’s ear.

The week leading up to Vineman had been a blur: long flights, work on the east coast, taking on a dozen new direct reports, late night entertaining and a “red-eye” from Newark to San Francisco in time for a 3-hour nap and the drive up to Windsor for race registration … where I limped over (strained ligaments) to visit with “Adam” and “Marty” at the “Forward Motion /Avia” booth.

Luck was on my “strained ligaments” side: the ALCiS booth was right next door. ALCiS manufactures and sells a topical pain relief cream. Greg Quinn, who works with their team, was kind enough to upgrade me from “sample size” into a “full tube” and I put it to immediate use – hard to race when you can’t run ... and by race morning ... I was "fit".

With registration complete and pain relief applied, I made the long drive home … as I desperately wanted to sleep, and sleep in my own bed!

Vineman always has a bonus attached: my Wife and Father-in-law join me … while I race, they wine taste, and we meet up at the finish to enjoy a great lunch together.

Race morning was COLD and for the first time ever, I put arm and toe warmers into my T1 line-up. The swim was uneventful: up-stream, down-stream, and out in 29 minutes. T1 was a little slow because of pulling on my arm warmers and I wore my cycling shoes for the "run-out" as opposed to clipped on the bike because it is a LONG "run-out" and I always end-up “running off-the carpet” and into the gravel & rocks to get around slower folks making their way out of transition.

On the bike I was glad for the arm warmers and toe covers! 53 degrees, wet, at speed … BRRRR!

The bike at Vineman is lovely, even in the cold; I road my Cervelo P3C, Blackwell Disk and 100 front (yes, I love this set-up) and as always my CytoSport cocktails were on board (Lemonade flavor this time) to insure maximum “oomph”! The only drama from the bike course was “cramping calf muscles” … WEIRD (and kinda funny :) … every two minutes, on the up-stroke, my “up” calf would go into full cramp … not terribly painful, as the down stroke would pull the cramp out.

CRAZY … and I can not imagine what it looked like to those I passed – “ANGRY CALVES”! I ran through a mental library of race problem/solution “history files” and came up with: zero… nada, nothing, and “giggled” again as the truth was: “What can you do, but tell the voice that suggests "slowing-up" and "worries about your ability to run" to … “shut the #@%$ up!”

I made my way to the front of the age group and entered transition with fellow age group competitor Kyle Welch right behind me. This was a “good news”/”bad news” scenario: Good news I was once again in 1st place off the bike … bad news: Kyle runs faster than I do. So with feet numbed from the cold, I thought: “Well, I’m at least going to beat him out of transition, let him wind it up, and then watch him go” … I did - he did – I did.

I self-coached holding my “maximum pace”, was aware that there were many behind me who would be hunting (me), and kept my center … to run “my race” and no one else’s. And I did run well … 1:31, on this course, after posting the 26th O/A fastest bike split of the day is … well … great … and marks continued improvement towards coming back from my accident.

My calves did not cramp on the run, but the lactic that had been dumped into them during the bike, was a bit rich and I ran a little bit ugly until mile 7 where they “unscrewed” themselves … and all was good … very good.

I finished feeling rather happy with my effort ... in Age group 2nd position and 34th overall (1724 racers).

After thoughts and comments:

Nutrition was spot-on (My CytoSport cocktails rock!) and, once again, I was able to finish strong with no aid stops on the run. I enjoyed spending time with some companies with neat new products – ALCiS for who I mentioned in the body of the report and Avia, who introduced me to the AVI-LITE II, a shoe I liked so much that I will begin running them this week as a possible Kona “race-day” candidate.

I also tested the new Forward Motion/Louis Garneau Tri-kit during the race. The fit was perfect! The tri-short pad is the best I have ever raced - period. No chaffing – pure comfort. The new Louis Garneau Rocket helmet screamed “RED” and the new ratcheting system is a dream.

I would recommend anyone to take a look at these products.

Race organization was perfect in every way but one: The t-shirt pick-up lines are really too long. I waited 20 minutes, still had a long way to go, and finally said: “keep it” and left. That is my only complaint, and it is a small one, as Russ Pugh and the team are extraordinary and I hope to always tow the start at this event - It is something special.

Arm held up, but still very "iffy".