Editor's Note: Next week we want to feature your most interesting race reports.
Did you have a terrific day or a horrible train wreck of a day? Did something crazy happen to you or did you have to overcome a a huge problem just to finish? Click HERE to send us your best race day story or a link to it so we can share it with the rest of the team.
Did you have a terrific day or a horrible train wreck of a day? Did something crazy happen to you or did you have to overcome a a huge problem just to finish?
Click HERE to send us your best race day story or a link to it so we can share it with the rest of the team.
I showed up at the start of the Louisville Legacy Triathlon early. I had a mountain bike, three set’s of clothes (one for swimming, one for biking, one for running), and two water bottles filled with warm water, a funky old helmet (the white egg shell with the orange stripes you sometimes see old guys still wearing) and my new expensive glass Revo sunglasses, which I purchased just for the race. I thought they made me look cool.
I was immediately struck by my first problem, where to rack my bike? Just for the record for all you Newbies reading this, the best answer is as close to the bike exit as possible. This way you don’t have far to run in your bike shoes.
Of course I didn’t know this. I also didn’t know that you can rack your bike pointing outwards thus making it much easier and faster to get the bike out during the race. But most of all I didn’t know I needed a towel. Most other racers had towels, but I though they were just for keeping stuff clean on the ground.
I had encountered my first real “issue” even before the start of the race. What to wear during the swim? I was smart enough to know that I couldn’t change my shorts between the swim and the bike. I figured I had a decision to make. Swim in my bike shorts or bike in my swim shorts. I choose to swim in my bike shorts.
The error of this choice became immediately apparent when I jumped in and the fluffy bike short chamois sucked up about half the water in the pool. I was now wearing something that looked like a huge black swollen baby diaper.
When I tried to swim the shorts acted like a cruise ship anchor; slowing me way down while at the same time trying to a) pull me under and b) come off. The good news was that this in no way did this actually slowed me down. Because by the end of the first lap I was breathing so hard that could barely swim at all.
Let’s talk about training for a second. I had spent almost a full month getting ready for this race. And by a full month I mean I had run 3 miles about a half a dozen times. I gone mountain biking a few times, and I had swam once at a local recreation center for some unknown distance, which I hopes was at least 10 laps(the length of the swim).
Now I was on lap two of ten and I had switched from freestyle to the IM. Of course I didn’t know what an IM was, but I was about to invent my own IM. IM in swimming usually is “Fly, Back, Breast, Free, that’s the way it’s got to be,” as the saying goes. My saying went something like this, “Free, Back, Angel, Breath, that’s the way I won’t heave.”
By lap 5 I was almost reduced to walking. Which I would have done had my legs actually been 15 feet long, the depth of the deep end of the pool.
Instead I switched to my mother's favorite stroke: the breaststroke. And I swam it just like her with my head above the water. She does this to keep her hair dry. I did it to have unfettered access to air. Also the breaststroke enable me to do the froggy kick, which also happened to be the only kick that kept my swollen diaper shorts from sinking down to my ankles.
After what seemed like an eternity, I got the last lap signal and finished the swim. I jumped out of the pool, taking half the water with me. I wish I could say that I ran to the transition area but it was much more of a waddle, as I was out of breath, dizzy and a bit disoriented.
It was in this semi-lucid state of mind that I wondered over to the transition area and immediately figured out why I needed a towel.
My plan was a simple one. I would just thrown on my biking jersey and running shoes and head out for the bike. (I had no notion of biking clips) I immediately ran into trouble. My wet and now dirty feet made it almost impossible to get my socks on. After the proper amount of jumping on one foot, strenuous tugging and swearing, I managed to get the socks on over my wet feet.
By this point I was bright red from the lack of air and the epic struggle with the socks. On the verge of passing out I went for the biking jersey. You have to know that in the best of times a typical biking jersey fits me rather tightly. Back then, truth be told, I looked like a huge swollen yellow sausage bee in my “cool” tour jersey…even at the best of times.
This was not the best of times. The friction caused by my wet and chubby skin succeeded in halting the jersey about halfway down my stomach. And no amount of profusive tugging or swearing would get it down further. It was suck somewhere above my belly but below my nipples.
Now with the just half on yellow jersey covering the top part of my body, and the swollen black diaper bike shorts covering the lower half, I really did look like a huge fat yellow sausage bee with a bight red pimple head. What to do next? I plopped down on the ground and did what any experienced age-grouper would do in a similar situation. I stole my neighbor’s towel.
OK, I didn’t really steal it, I just borrowed it, and it did the trick. With my skin dry, I was able to pull down the jersey and continue the race.
I was a “cool’ triathlete again. I was back in the race and feeling better. The swim was over and I was heading out for a “short” 15-mile bike ride. I quickly grabbed my old-school helmet and threw it on my head.
Of course I had completely forgot that I had left my sunglasses in my helmet. This had seemed like such a good place to leave them earlier in the morning. As I threw the helmet on, the new Revos sailed through the air, over my head, over the next rack, and onto the cement ground. They hit the only way possible for expensive glass sunglasses to hit, that being glass first and shattered.
I didn’t know it back but I had just learned three important lessons.
1) Train like you race. In other words, don’t try anything new like swimming in bike shorts and…
2) Find a better place for your sunglasses. Today I put them on my water bottle holder by inserting one leg between the water bottle and holder. I don’t even touch them until I’m well into the bike. The less to worry about in the first transition the better and…
3) Don’t forget a towel for heaven’s Sake.