1/2 mi swim, 17.5 mi bike, 5 mi run
Swim 14:45 1:41/100 56th overall (out of 723)
Bike 50:40 20.1 146th overall
Run 41:41 8:20/mile 315th overall
Last year when I participated in this event, I surprised myself with my results. Since I was training for long events at that time, I figured that I didn’t have the speedwork necessary to come up with a good result. I ended up with a top 100 finish (overall) and top 10 AG finish. 1:45:46
This year I had absolutely no ambitions, and less pressure to try and match the previous years results. My “training” has been completely unstructured, more like daily workouts than true training. But I really had a great time last year. So this year’s plan was to improve in my FUN score.
The course is a 1/2 mile swim in a very small lake, 17.5 mile bike on an undulating suburban course, and 5 mile run, with one short, very sharp climb.
This race always brings out an enormous variety of people. All the local hot shoes show up, so it can be very competitive. There are also a very large number of newbies and complete 1st timers. As a two-time IM finisher, I got peppered with questions from a lot of newbie guys in my AG transition area. That was fun, as I felt like a real pro. Hope some of my answers were accurate!
The race is broken into 5 waves: Elites, All women, men 30-39, men 40-49, then a final wave of older men, younger men and relays.
I got off to a very good swim by staging myself in the very front. There was only one guy to my left, and he powered ahead of me like he had a propeller coming out his backside. I hit the first turn and started running into the previous wave. As I hit the second turn and headed back to the beach, I started running into a LOT more swimmers. At this point in the swim, we were headed due east, right into the rising sun. Between the sun, glare off the water and fogged goggles, I was completely blind. As a result, I ended up drifting off course. By the time I realized my mistake, I was about 75 yards off course. I finally saw the final buoy and headed to shore. I was out of the water in 12:46, but the timing mat is about 300 yds away, so my chip time showed 14:45. This year the run from the lake to T1 was significantly shorter, and fewer gravel sections. That made the dash to T1 a lot more fun.
With a full roster of over 735 athletes there are a lot of people on the bike course. Lots of folks passed me and I passed a fair share as well. This was the first time I had the race bike with full race setup out since IMFL in November. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been ON this bike since IMFL. As I powered along the rolling course I remembered how well this bike fits me, and how much fun it is to cruise in the aero position at a high rate of speed. When I hit the turn around point on the course, I had this huge smile on my face. I was having a blast.
The rest of the bike section was uneventful. Last year on one of the last, fast corners, I damn near went down, sliding the rear wheel almost all the way out from under me. Only smacking the curb saved me from going down. This year, I was extra careful on the corners. This resulted in a lot of folks passing me.
Back into transition at 50:40, 20.1/mph avg. There was a slight scare as the guy just in front of me went down as he dismounted, and slammed his bike into mine. No damage, no blood, no foul.
Reasonably quick T2 (1:17) includes the jog from dismount to transition space, and the jog back out to the run start.
Out on the run, I felt really heavy and slow. My legs were more loaded up than during any brick that I had done so far this year. I kept a comfortable pace, and about 5 min into the run, the legs and lungs opened up and I started to pick up the pace. I hit mile one at 9:03, and had to pull over to get a rock out of my shoe. Back on the course I hit the first water stop, powered down a gel, and some H2O and kept moving. Mile two was a 9:02 (including the rock stop and slowdown for water). Between mile 2 and 3 I began to get a nasty knot in my stomach. I wasn’t sure what this was from, since I hadn’t eaten anything unusual that morning. I figured it must have been the 2nd Red Bull on the drive up to the race, and would soon “pass” Mile 3 hit at 8:50, Mile 4 at 7:33 (must have been short) and mile 5 at 8:something, for a 41:41. Final time 1:51:09.
Somewhere during the 2nd half of the bike and the run finish, I found the magic that makes me love this sport. I thought I had lost that spark somewhere along the course at IMFL. Today I remembered how much fun it is to JF-Race and have fun. Leave your expectations behind, suit up, throw down and let the race happen. I remembered how much fun is involved in this sport, and how much I love it!
For comparison – 2006 results
48:18 21.1 46/635
40:03 8:01 230/635
1:45:46, 76/635 10/107 AG (1st, and only top 10 finish ever)