I heard about this race when we were still living in FL around the time of the Ironman world championships were being televised. They had a little commercial, and the cool factor of the commercial added to the idea that I went to college in this town made it a done deal. The next decision was sprint or Olympic, the main point was that the Olympic distance has a "back-breaking ascent for a little more than a mile." In fact the 1.2-mile stretch of road was featured as one of Bicycling Magazine’s "Top 100 Climbs in the U.S." with an average grade of 9.5%. Eventually I decided that while I was having fun with sprint distances, the hill was calling me, so my first Olympic is going to be a doozy.
Since being in MN I have focused a lot on bike training. Getting more miles in, trying not to avoid hills, and just bring my overall confidence up. My current state is that I am ready for the race, I'm not going to win, but I will do as well as I can.
The race is in Winona MN, where I went to college. I have roller bladed the run course, and driven the big hill several times. I know the lake well, but I've never seen anyone swimming in it. I am looking forward to being there and giving it what I've got.
The swim is a triangle in a lake - the one reservation I have is water temperature. I am used to swimming in bath like ocean water for triathlons, but this will be in near 70 degree lake water. No salt is nice, but the cold... well historically I don't hold body heat well, so I have a wetsuit. It's also a much longer distance, from about 400 yards to 1,500 meters. I'm ready for it, I have been good about getting the time in the pool to wake up my long dormant swimming muscles.
The bike starts with a 9 mile out and back, and then heads up the bluffs for the big climb. After that there's about 6.5 flat miles, 1.25 miles down the bluffs and then about 7 back to t2. The first part of the course has rolling hills, and the last part is relatively flat.
The run course is around the swimming lake, well ... not quite around, it's 3 miles out and then turn around and come back, and if memory serves there is no shade. So, not super exciting, but at least it will be flat.
Since this is my first event at this distance, and my first race with a bike leg that has any real hills I'm going to shoot from the hip.
|Swim||26:25||1:40 per 100 yards|
2:58 puts me firmly in the middle of the pack, but very close to the bottom of my age group, if not last. Those guys are just super fast, > 20 mph bike splits, and sub 8:00 miles on the run to get in the middle of the age group, which also puts you in the top 25% of the entire group. So I'll just do my race and see where I land.
My swimming is in a good place, and while I have not tried a full 1,500 meters straight, a 1:40 pace should feel comfortable for me even in the mix of a mass start, though I wouldn't be surprised to find out (though I won't ever really know) that I will take it out too fast, 1:18 - 1:20 for the first few hundred or so.
I put the bike pace at 16.5, I really have no idea what to expect. If the hill kills me it might really impact my pace, but if it doesn't then the relatively flat second half should help me out a bunch. I did a bike last night with hardly any wind and just some rollers and ended up around 18.5 average over 26 miles. If that happens, that's 10 minutes difference.
I put the run a little aggressive, the last few runs I have done have hit that pretty easily, and actually the last few bricks I have done actually have positively impacted my overall run pace. So we'll see how that pans out.
I put another 5 minutes of transition in there, I'm currently planning on wearing a wetsuit which will take a while to peel off, so this time might actually be accurate.
I'm feeling pretty good coming into the race, my bike conditioning has improved a lot, I have put some full distance brick workouts on the books, and put at least a couple of rides in that are longer than the race distance. I'm also enjoying the "feeling" of this race, the race director has put a lot of effort to make it feel like an event and not just a race. Having the FL family come up and visit and another race with by big sister just adds to the fun.