Just about one month before DITR, I decided to add it to my race calendar as a well supported training day, rather than an A, B or C race. I was looking forward to this race because so many MMTCers were doing it, it was a small race and it is an interesting, challenging bike course. Two weeks before the race, I went up with Kim and Jim M. to preview the bike course and I’m glad I did. Those descents were more technical and steep than anything I had ridden to date.
Kim and I drove up to Perryville on Friday evening. We met Jim, Kimberly, Mike P. and his wife Heather for dinner at a cute little place on the river. Back at the hotel Kim and I were talking about how we were almost too relaxed. We just did not feel like we had a Olympic distance race on the horizon - not sure if we were just unprepared or we had our mind set for a training session rather than a race.
Awoke before the alarm to the sound of pouring rain and thunder. Felt like Columbia all over again. Got to the race site, helped set up the tents, set up a very simple transition (again, thanks for your CT race day words of wisdom, Mark) and waited. As the rain got heavier, I got more nervous about the bike. Although I have biked in the rain numerous times (thanks Chip and Michele Bull for this advice), I had not biked in rain that hard and steady on a somewhat unfamiliar course with those kinds of descents. The thunder had stopped well before the race so no worries about the race being delayed or the swim being canceled….until…. about 20 minutes before gun time, they suddenly called off the swim. Due to the pouring rain, visibility was poor. The kayakers would have a difficult time seeing anyone who needed help. Kim and I talked seriously about heading home. Then Kim had a brilliant idea - since we were in the same wave, why don’t we stick together during the entire race? Now this may sound like a ridiculous idea to many of you. Kim and I train together quite a bit. We can keep the same pace and we seem to be able to pull each other along at just the right times. We were both a little worried about our safety on that bike course under those conditions. Safety in numbers, right? Plus neither of us were looking to set a PR. Also when we are together, we have loads of fun. Sounds perfect to me - nice challenging training session with your wonderful training buddy.
Run 1 - 2.7 miles*, 21:00 (7:46 pace)
*Agree with everyone else who did this race - mileage was off. My Garmin had distance at 2.5 mph (8:27 pace)
Felt good during this first run. Had to be careful not to go out too fast (pacing has been an issue with me). Although the terrain was mixed, it was mostly pavement for this first leg. In the beginning, I tried to dodge or run around puddles. This become impossible as the “puddles” took over the whole path and we were already completely soaked. Drenched or not, I was actually enjoying the bonus time with Kim.
Not great but feeling a little unsettled about hopping on the bike.
Bike: 27 miles , 1:43:08 (15.7 mph)
Started out feeling okay. I was actually glad I was in the last wave and didn’t have to worry about a lot of people whizzing by me on the bike. The first part of the course is pretty easy. After going along the river for a bit, you turn off and start heading up a hill. This is where we saw the first of many riders off their bikes. Saw one girl with a dropped chain, who couldn’t get it back on, one guy walking his bike back down the hill, and 2 others just stopped. Up and down some rollers….soon the rain was coming down even harder…this was actually the most uncomfortable part of the bike because the rain stung as it hit my skin. As we came upon the first descent, Kim slowed way down. Thank goodness because around the first curve, a biker had just crashed and she did not look great. We passed another person walking with their bike. When we finally got to the bottom and made that sharp left turn, we both breathed a sigh of relief. We were able to make up some time on a stretch of flat where we kept a 20.5 mph pace. A lot of people had talked about the big hill at mile 20. I did not think this was bad (thanks to Jelly‘s advice about high cadence on the climbs)…it was a steady 7.5% climb that had a false flat in the middle but went on for just over a mile. Once I got into the right gear, it was easy to get into a rhythm and just go.
On the way back into the park, I glanced at the data my bike computer and was pleasantly surprised at my pace as well as my ability to complete this course under those conditions....nice confidence booster!
T2 - 1:22 - uneventful, except covered in water
Run 2: 5 miles, 45:02 (9:00 pace) (Garmin says 4.8 miles - 9:20 pace)
This felt like one of the longest 5 mile runs I’ve ever done. Not sure if I wasted too much energy worrying about the bike, if I was just exhausted from a busy week and a lack of taper, or if it was the terrain but I struggled on the run. The terrain of the course varied from paved path to grass, to dirt/mud, to gravel and all combinations of those. It was an out and back. By this point much of the course was under water which made it tough. The best part of this run was having Kim there with me. One other neat part was getting to see a lot of MMTC and Team Fight members. Giving shout outs and high five’s to so many people helped distract me from the run. After about 4 miles, the woman right behind us said “Hey you guys are the best cheering squad I’ve ever heard and you seem to know everyone!” I turned and asked what her name was. Then we added her to our list and periodically yelled “Go, Wendy!” I was so glad to see the finish line. Kimberly got a wonderful shot of Kim and I coming to the finish line with smiles on our faces and our hands held high!
What could have been a bummer of a day ended up being absolutely wonderful thanks to Kim and to this incredible club! A huge thanks to everyone who brought goodies for the tent and who came out in that weather to support us - especially Heather B., Kimberly, Hazel and Heather J. MMTC rocked DITR!!