We were tardy in booking a hotel, and by the time we got around to it, the only options were OC or the Hyatt, so we booked at the Hyatt for a night. Got in Saturday lunch-time, picked up my packet, racked my bike and then went back to the hotel. It was hot hot hot, but there was no keeping the kids out of the pool, so I was on daddy duty for that. Mediocre cheese pizza and crab dip for lunch at the hotel, then a cobb salad and some of Pei's calamari for dinner.
Sunday morning was out of the hotel at 5 to be dropped at the race site. Got bodymarked, set up my bike and transition, then headed over to the MMTC tent to socialize and listen to some tunes.
The Swim (43:53, 105/257 AG, 865/2515 OV):
The water was warm, but not unpleasant (not actually hot, like it was at Rockett's Landing last year). This was my first time swimming in my new Tyr Torque. Felt smooth. A good bit of contact throughout the leg. I didn't buoy-sight very much at all, just tried to stay near a pack and sight off them.
I turned in a pretty slow (and deeply MOP) swim. Not sure why - it didn't feel slow, and I also didn't feel like I had routing issues. Felt good coming out of the water.
Uneventul. Chose to where Zoot Icefil arm coolers this year (more on that later). They're a pain to put on wet arms. Must have lost 30-60 seconds doing that. Next time I'll probably save them to the run and put them on on the go - I don't think my bike handling skills are good enough to put them on while on the go on the bike.
The Bike (2:36:36, 79/257 AG, 513/2515 OV):
Went out hot - maybe a tad bit too hot. My plan was to 'warm up' at 200w (76% of my FTP) for 30 minutes, then lift it to about 215 (about 83%) for the rest of the race. First 30' my NP was 205w, but then I didn't lift it as I wanted. 207w for the next 30', and then a fall off. Nutrition felt fine, I think it was just the heat. Let my RPE wind me back in to those lower numbers and tried to save myself for the run. First half was 203w NP, second half 186w. Overall VI for the ride was 1.01, which is probably to be expected.
The much heralded Eman winds weren't bad for my ride. Smooth, fast, and uneventful. I had been hoping for a sub-2:30 ride (based on lord-knows-what), but will have to save that for another year. Looking at my graphs it's clear the wind was blowing east-bound along Church Creek Road and then again on Egypt road.
Drank quite a bit on the bike and stuck with my nutrition, but didn't pee (which isn't unusual for me).
Bike in, shoes off, socks on, shoes on, watch and hat on on the run. T2 was also a good reminder that I should scope transition better - I started the wrong way for the run out and ended up having to turn around. Only a few seconds lost, but still I felt silly.
The Run (2:03:58, 76/257 AG, 524/2515 OV)
Given the heat, I opted for a closed-top hat with a neck curtain (a Zoot). Not sure exactly what I was thinking there, as the last time I wore a closed top hat in the heat, I swore I'd never deviate from the visor again. It felt hot and heavy. I'm sure there's an amount of sun exposure where that wins out against the visor, but I'm still not feeling it.
My 'perfect weather' pace is about 8:30s for the first 3 miles and then sinking down to low 8:00s for the rest. Given the heat, I started out at 8:50s, hoping to ramp down from there. Sadly the reverse happened. After the water stop at mile 3.5, the heat just became incredible for me and the pace dropped. By the turnaround I was starting to get very overheated and the walks at the waterstops lengthed. My pace fell into the high 9's.
I needed to pee throughout most of the run, though not enough that I could go while running and I didn't want to stop. I took this as a good thing. In the end though, I think I ended up dehydrated enough at the end of the run that I didn't end up going until I got back home a couple hours later. That's probably not a good thing.
I had never run with the Zoot sleeves before, and wasn't really sure if they were keeping me cool or not (they didn't really feel like it). What they were doing, however, was chafing the crap out of my right lat. Around mile 7 or 8 I decided to take them off. Turns out they were making me cooler, but the elimination of the chafing was very nice.
The length between the waterstop between mile 9.5 and 11 feels like forever. Especially with all the people there. The greatest test of will for me was to run that section out to the water and not drop to a walk. From there it was brutal. I tried to kick it up a bit in the last 2 miles, which was mildly successful.
I crossed the finish line in a daze - my hardest finish ever. All I wanted was
a bit of shade and like a gallon of cold water. I stumbled back to the MMTC
tent, sat on the cooler and slowly started to feel vaguely human again.
Splits where: 8:28, 8:52, 8:55, 9:16, 9:40, 9:47, 10:32, 10:17, 9:56, 9:48, 9:54, 9:50, 8:54.
I opted for an electrolyte loading strategy going into the race, so I had been sucking down Nuun like it was the new water since Thursday.
Sunday up at 2am to eat a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, then back to sleep until 4:30, when I got up and snarfed another banana.
A caffeinated gel 20 minutes before the swim.
I was trying a new race-day bike nutrition plan that I've been using on my long weekend rides. Aerolite bottle for water (taking water off the course) up front between the bars, and a concentrated bottle of nutrition on the seattube. For nutrition I've become enamored of taking 2 flasks of EFS Liquidshot (vanilla) mixed with two packages of Emergen-C, then topped with ice and water to fill out a 24oz bottle, which will last me 3-4 hours. That puts 800C and about 2800mg of electrolytes in the bottle, and it tastes exactly like an Orange Creamsicle (and not bad when it's warm). I set my garmin to auto-beep every 15 minutes, and make sure to 'eat' on that mark every time. I also try to drink like a fish. Whenever I can. I mark my feed bottle so that I can try and stay on top of the consumption, and ended up staying almost exactly on plan (so I had marked for 3 hours, and ended up having about 1/6-1/8th of a bottle left at the end.
My initial load in the aerolyte had two Nuun tabs in it, and I took 3 Endurolytes twice as I refilled water (about 90 and 135 minutes in). I took 3 bottles of water on the course, but ended up not drinking about 1 of them.
On the run I try to avoid calorie consumption whenever possible, as I've had bad luck with it in the past. Two cups of water at every water stop - one in me, one on me. Had a cherry snow-cone at the turn-around, then sips of Pepsi at every other water stop after that. 2 endurolytes at roughly 30, 60 and 90, though I forgot to do the pair at 60 at a water stop and made the mistake of trying to dry-swallow them, so one got hacked back up.
I really like the liquidshot strategy on the bike. Enough so that I'm contemplating whether I should do that or Infinit at IMLP.
My glasses (Wiley-X prescription wraparounds) were a freaking mess on the bike. I had real difficuly reading my bike computer. I don't know if I need to man up and try and master contacts again, for racing, or learn how to race without my prescription-enabled (+3 diopter) vision. If I put the Garmins on 1 or 2 field, I can generally get by, though it's hard.
On temperature - the weather stations all said in the 80s. My Garmin logged it as 95 in transition when I got on the bike, and 102 when I picked up my bike to go home after the run. I know that's stagnant, unshaded heat, but that's what we were running in.