Friday, June 4, 2010

Half Ironman: Done

With this blog entry I am breaking two of my self imposed cardinal rules.

#1: Portray events in chronological order - I'm a very logical person and if you haven't noticed generally organize the trips and photos that way. In this case however, I'm skipping ahead to race day rather than the pre-race fun and build-up. (You'll have to imagine that later)

#2 Minimize the photos of myself - Yup. Although I'm all about sharing, I really am not photogenic. In this case however, you can't really airbrush much so I'm including way too many photos of me in sweaty neoprene and lycra. I'd say this completes my quote for 2010.

Alrighty then..... last week I went to Vienna, Austria with some friends from the tri-club to race the St. Polten Half Ironman. That's 1.9K to try not to drown, 90km praying not to get a puncture and 21km wondering why my legs don't want to run. Here I am racking my bike the day before (one of my few pre-race shots in this blog. Food and fun to be included in the coming weeks).

Taking a quick picture at the bikes racked. There are considerably less of these in transition when I come through. Let me tell you, it is always easy to find my bike.

It's race day and time to put the wetsuits on. We had four ladies in the race and here Sarah, Jo and I start the suiting up process.

For those of you who also experience the joys of neoprene, you'll appreciate the bottle of lube that Sarah and I are showing off. Seriously. It helps get the wetsuit off - believe me.

Jo has her own supersize bottle. And she likes it.

Time for all the ladies in the yellow wave to head to the start. We went off in Wave 2. It was a little nerve racking as I was constantly trying to stay ahead of my friends in the next waves.

Julian (Sarah's boyfriend and ultimate spectator - see him in last year's Barcelona trip and Alpine fun) catches us as we go in. Here I am waving to the camera.

We're lost now. This is a bit like Where's Waldo? Here's the start of our wave. It was crazy! I've never been surrounded by other swimmers for so long. I'm usually passed early and get some clear water to swim in but this was ridiculous. I think it took about 800 meters before I wasn't hyperventilating.

The swim was neat in the fact that we actually swam in two lakes. We took to the water in the swim start above. Then came out of the water and ran down this chute......

.... across the bridge..... sorry for the dark photo but you should be able to make out the swimmer on the left hand side of the photo running away........

.....and then you ran down another slope and into lake number 2! Wanna guess how many people stacked it trying to run down that slope into the water? Per Julian it was fairly entertaining.

Julian catches me coming out of the water. I'm checking my watch behind the woman undoing her wetsuit. An okay swim time, not the greatest. Let's just say it is time for more lessons...

Julian gets my attention. I'm smiling since I didn't drown.

Now it is off to the bike. If you look closely at this picture you can just see the banana poking out the front of my shirt. It kept falling out of my pocket so I had to improvise.

Whee!! There were some good descents on this bike course. Amazingly enough, it was fully closed to traffic and made for a really good ride.

Climbing... yes, there was a bit of that as well.

Playing with my new aero bars! I'm addicted. I want a time trial bike now. Christmas present?

A pretty good bike - way better than last year so I'm happy with that. Julian catches me as I transition to the run. My form seems to be crap and it doesn't get much better from now on.

After lap number one. Admittedly, I was a little unhappy at this point. Slower run than I would have liked but I think that's what happens when you stop for a wee and walk thru ALL of the water stops. Yeah. I gotta work on that.

It gets better though. All the oranges, water, sports drink and coke works it's magic and I feel human again for the race. Coming into finish I'm even sort of smiling. I still have funky chicken arms though.

Race done. I'm slouching. I need better posture but hey, I'm alive and didn't drown. Overall time was 5:25:34. I took 30 minutes off my time from last year and if I could ever master the art of taking off my wetsuit (even with the lube) I'm sure I could improve upon this again. It was a great event though and fun day.

Julian is kind enough to take a Berkshire Tri Squad photo. Some familiar faces for everyone - the boys in the back - Tom, Chris, Paul, Michael, John Booker, Simon, Romano. The ladies- Gemma, Jo, Sarah and myself. A fantastic group of people to travel to a race with. So there you have it. I broke two of my three rules to put the race report on so I hope you enjoyed it. Oh yeah, and Wednesday was my birthday. I'm really old now. Oh, and I beat my nemesis John Booker. Barely though, just barely..... :o) Just kidding John.....

1 comment:

Sweetang said...

Wow, so inspirational --banana in shirt and all :)