wildflower, s2s, bike

HITS Marble Falls - old skool racin'

hits mobiI signed up for the HITS race full distance(Ironman distance) aquabike, it was to get a full distance swim and bike in, both to give me an idea of where I was with my training, and as a supported ride.

Every half or full distance race I've done, as far as I can remember, you've always had to check your bike in the day before, and often bags with your varius kit and race stage kit in as well.. I showed up for the HITS race some 50-mins before race start, as I was doing the full distance, I was sent to a separate parking area, not far from transition. I parked the car, walked into the building, picked up my packet without a line, walked back to the car, setup my bike numbers, pumped up the tires, walked over and dropped it off in transition along with a bag that included the stuff I'd need for the bike(gels, full bib shorts, cycling jersey).

Back at the car I was putting on my wetsuit when my Mum called, we talked for 10-mins, I realized I had less than 10-mins to start time, told my Mum I loved her and scuttled off the 250yds to the start. I got Leary Walker to zip me up, stood at the side of the lake and worked out which way to swim, dived in, treaded water for maybe 1-min and the gun went off.

I had a pretty decent swim overall. Not too rough, although the 2nd lap was a bit of a shock when you look up to sight, and realize that 90% of the competitors, doing the half, were either out of the water or behind you. My first swim lap was 36:02 and the 2nd lap 39:05. The official results have my swim at 1:16:10, just off my IM Arizona 1:14:48.

When I got into transition, I realised the disconnect that I'd missed when I showed up at the last minute. I'd have to run almost the entire length of the transition to get to the changing tent, either with my bike, and then change, or all the way up, change, and then run back. Heck with it, I just put my bike bib shorts on over my speedos. In the heat, this would turn out to be a dumb idea, and I should have known better. T1 time a shocking 6:27 watch-time, officially 4:03, so I guess I mustn't have pushed lap until out on the bike. Again, compared to 9:01 at IMAZ where I removed my speedos and put on plenty of sun block. Another mistake today.

Having raced out at Marble Falls before, on the epic dismount crash, so I knew it was an undulating course. I'd just forgotten how much. To be honest there really isn't a flat section. On the first loop I felt good, knocked out a balanced 3:25, about 10-miles into the 2nd 56-mile loop, my legs were just feeling weird. In hindsight I'd put this down to the course of anti-biotics that I'd started only a couple of days earlier. My aerobars  had come lose on lap-1, half way up FM962 I spotted the J&A Mechanic and got him to tighten them up. At the turnaround, I actually took a few mins to get myself together and felt pretty tired. A couple of miles on there was a woman at the side of the road who was clearly having problems getting a tire off, I thought about it, and stopped. Back on the bike and I was finally heading into Marble Falls, and then I spotted another competitor struggling with a wheel, I slowed down and shouted, "do you have everything you need?" She answered "I'm not sure, its the first time I've done it". I stopped and helped her change her talcum powder covered all carbon clincher tire/wheel. When I was done with bike, my bike time was a really crappy 7:42, almost as slow as IM Cozumel.

Total time: 9:02:29 - Good job I didn't have to run a marathon afterwards... 20/21 in Age Group;

If I'd have been in for the full race, swim+bike+run, and had finished, I'd have won my age group as there wasn't anyone else competing.
Still a good training day, and a reminder of some key lessons. And yeah, I still find all these modern races, check-in the day before the race a pain. Retro racing' is where its at.