2012 Hy-Vee 5150 Championship Race Report.
Qualified at 2012 Columbia with a 4th place Clydesdale over 40 place, and top 15 qualify, but top 5 in AGs get a free pass to the race. Mary Yost, Wendy Newton and I were the 3 MMTCer making the trip to Des Moines, Iowa.
My flight to Des Moines was on Friday at about 8pm out of National, so no need to take any vacation time. Got to Des Moines about 9:30 pm local time (10:30 pm EDT), and Mark picked me up at the airport and took me to his mother and father-in-law ‘s house. Unloaded the bike soft-case and bag, was introduced to his family, shown a bedroom, then took a much needed shower and changed into some comfy clothes (out of business casual). I could have changed at the airport prior to leaving, but learned on traveling web searches that knowing that the key to only paying only the $25 for the normal check-baggage fee, was to make sure that the soft-case gave no indication that a bike was inside, AND NOT wearing anything Triathlon related (i.e., look like a business man on a conference gig).
Saturday morning, after some coffee, started reassembling the bike. Everything made the transit in great shape, with no issues. I have a hard-case, but will need to sell it, as it now cost about $200 each was to travel with a hard-case that clearly say “Bike”. For anyone interested in getting this extremely reasonable and safe softcase, here is the website (http://www.pricepoint.com/thumb/2-Accessories-44-Travel-Cases-False.htm) for ordering a Sette Padded Bike Travel Bag w/ Wheels (approx. $140 delivered). This softcase has more than paid for itself on this trip alone, as it only cost $50 to fly it to and from Des Moines.
With bike reassemble, it was time to eat a large breakfast to make the Clydesdale weight-in at registration. I was weighed at Columbia, Diamond in the Rough, and Nationals. Prior to this year, it had been at least 15 years since my last weigh-in at registration. Breakfast consisted of: bowl of frosted shredded wheat, 4 slices of French toast, 2 bagels with crème cheese, several glasses of OJ, 3 strips of bacon, and coffee. Then for good measure, drank several glasses of water. Weighed myself on the bathroom scale (with shoes in hand) and weighed about 193 on bathroom scale, but did not know how accurate the scale was, and knew we had time to drive the bike course, before registration and could drink more water, if necessary, to make the 200lbs.
Mark, originally being for Des Moines, knew all the roads and route to get to from the Gray’s Lake transition and the bike course route. One problem was, some of the maps in the news paper, and those that Mark picked up at transition on Thursday, showed slightly different portions of the bike route, and none showed any mile marks. Most of the early bike course had LOTS of turns, including many 180s at various points, and we cross 3 sets of train tracks TWICE, so train track crossing 6 times over the 40k!! These RR tracks were almost at 180 degrees, but would clearly need to get off saddle and slow as not to rupture a tire.
Putting my bike together, I tightened up the stem bolt on top, but fogot the two on the side. I did not realize this until I was on the bike course, and going over the train tracks and bumps, which cause the bars to tilt to the left a few degrees evey time. By the finish, my bars were at about a 30 degree angle to the left!!! YOOOOOUGH. I was PRAYING to just get back to the park, and NOT crash. While riding, I would not be able to readjust the angle of the bars, so I took my chances and just keep on riding, sort of like Nemo on a bike. But I am getting ahead of myself.
We had stopped at a local bike store to pick up a CO2 cartridge on the way down to drive the bike course / Registration, because I had lost 2 CO2 cartridges to the TSA on the trip down. Also got my wheels inflated.
Registration went without a hitch. We got to the Hy-Vee hall just in time for the next mandatory race briefing. Mandatory, meaning that after attending, your hand is stamped and you cannot enter registration, without that stamp. We were told water temp was too high, and wetsuits would NOT be allowed. After the meeting, went to register (Mark had registered the day before), went to drink a few water bottles full of water, then got to Clydesdale / Athena registration. The volunteer there was going to hand me my packet, without the required weigh-in, even though there was a scale clearly in sight. Stepped on scale for information purposes only, and exactly 200lbs. Found out from other Clydes on race morning, that it really depended on who volunteer at Clydes check-in, since others were required to weigh-in. There was some really nice swag at this race, a good backpack and a bike jersey, were just some of the great give-aways.
Next, we leave registration and head to Gray’s Lake, to do a short spin on the bike. We got bikes out of car, and I check my tires. Back OK, but front is relatively soft. My experience had been that my front tubular would lose air over about a 24 hr. period, but inflating in the AM of a race, was good for the day, so the fact that it had just been inflated at the bike store was troubling, at best.
So we ride causally to the transition area, just to see the bike flow out. As we rode the approximate .25 mile from where we parked, my tire was getting very soft. We went back to the car, I found someone with a pump, inflated it and we got our running shoes to place our bikes in the corral, as required. In the bike corral, there was SUBSTANTIAL bike support with about 12 technicians (quite impressive). A pair of technicians tried to inflate the tire but hissing could be heard from the stem. OK, I will use my spare, change the tubular, and be on my way. Tubulars are much easier to change, peel it off, stretch the new one on, inflate and good to go. Spare tubular on then get it pumped up. I mention that I wanted 110psi in and it seems to be holding air. As I place the front tire back on the bike…..POOOOW. Tire is now worthless. Plan B is to get a new tubular and get the front wheel on the bike. The bike support has a tubular for about $130….way too much…so the plan is now to go back to the bike shop where I picked up a new CO2 cartridge. Bottom line, new tubular place on tire, and added plumbers-tape to valve extension, all for about $60…a price I really expected.
Morning of race, check tire sitting in car overnight and still hard as a rock! We leave and get to transition just after volunteers, and there before the official opening of transition (4:30am), but we just walk in and start our transition set up, with plenty of time before it closes at 6:30 am.
Just before we left for transition, I grab my wetsuit out of my bike bag. The pre-race briefing at registration said that the race would NOT be wetsuit legal, but I always bring it, just in case. As it turns out, the morning of the race, the announcement is that it IS wetsuit legal. WHAAAHOOO! This makes my swim soOooo much faster.
My wave was 7th, just after Mark’s wave, and lost of us watched the elites start. The swim is a beach start, but the water gets deep really fast, so no running more than a few feet. My wave starts a little after 7am and the sun does not come up from behind the trees, until we are heading our on the 1st leg. By the time we head back to the swim start, we are swimming directly into the sun. At this point, I am just following head, and it winds up, that I swim relatively straight, as we could not see any of the buoys, even the sight buoys.
On the way out, I started following a swimmer who seemed to be swimming fairly straight. Unfortunately, he swims off course, and so swam a little extra. Swim time is a respectable 31:55 (21st of 30).
T1 is uneventful. I am almost in the center of the T1 and at the end of a bike rack, with NO other bike on either side of my bike, so no problem finding it. T1 is 3:12.
As mentioned, early bike course has lots of turns, but 3 lane road (which is in great shape) is totally closed to traffic, and so is much of the bike course! Other than bike bars getting a little off center, bike is generally uneventful, but did catch and pass several Clydesdales. Bike leg: 1:10:27 (15th of 30 – picked up 6 spots)
T2 is uneventful, and since clouds were overcast, and temps were only in 70s at this point, don’t take my fanny pack / water bottle setup. Time: 1:49
Run is almost entirely flat, and going out on a bike patch, we can see other coming back to about the 2mile mark. I see a Clydesdale coming back, and wound up eventually catching him. Run splits creep up over the 10k, but I feel really good early on. Turn out, the final .2 mile is almost totally uphill to the finish. Run splits are: 7:48--7:44--8:04--8:10--8:29--8:47--2:01 for a 51:03 (11th of 30, picked up 4 spots).
Total time is 2:38:12 (16th of 30) – really need to swim much better.
Post-race refreshment /food / etc., was phenomenal, and what should have been expected at Nationals.!!! Lots of fresh fruit, plenty of Gatorade Recovery, water, Blue Bunny ice cream cookie sandwiches (had 4), and great massage / chiropractor services. As soon as I finish Trias, I always head right to the massage tent to place my name on list, then get something to eat/drink. As it turned out, there was a separate list for chiropractor and was told could be place on both. OMG…the chiropractor straightened my neck tightness out and I no longer have the constant pain there (actually some say that I am a pain in the neck time(or a bit lower)). As soon as I finished with the chiropractor, I was next in line for the massage, and he really worked my IT bands. This is the best way to speed recovery.
As we get back to transition from race finish, which in downtown Des Moines, about 3 miles away, (but there was bus service, but Mark actually ran the distance, as we somehow got separated) we pack up bikes, and hit a liquor store for some Sam Adams 12 pack. Getting to Mark’s parent’s house, Mark had a few high school buddies over, who are quire interesting and they all talk about some of pranks that eventually has a juvenile court judge involved. Who would have guessed this about Mark?
All in all, a great way to spend a Labor Day weekend, racing in Des Moines, with Mark and his family being very gracious and generous hosts, with great food and a very relaxing enviornment. I would love to qualify and do this race again.