Just got home from a great day of racing! I did the Miami International Triathlon, which is the first official race of the 5150* series
(*5150? 5i50? I'm still not sure how to spell or pronounce this newfangled WTC name for an Olympic-distance tri).
So my day started out with a shot of adrenaline. I somehow managed to sleep through my TWO alarms, and woke up a mere hour before the race start. Fortunately I wasn't far from the site - but after navigating around the closed-off streets and finding a parking spot, I made it to transition juuuuuuust as they were closing. They let me in - lucky me. Fortunately, I had my stuff 'pre-laid-out' in my bag - packed in such a way that it'd be quick to take out in the right order. I dashed off to pick up my chip, and made it to the start line just as the first wave hit the water. I was in the third or fourth... whew!
The swim itself was pretty good - wet start, which is always fun, and the single-lap layout let me settle into my pace with minimal swim-jitsu once I got past the first buoy. The water was fine - low 70s, cool enough to be wetsuit-legal but warm enough that I didn't miss mine (which is currently a few thousand miles away). Nothing to report, really, other than the fact that I swam a lot straighter than usual, and that my first tri of the season reminded me what it feels like to have a noggin full of foot. Anyway. The swim went well, and I made my way around the course without too much trouble. There was a staircase out of the water, which was pretty painless to deal with, and the run back to transition was short and smooth.
While I am the proud owner of a Speed Concept 9-series, it, too, is a few thousand miles away. So I reached the conclusion that a heavy, steel, round-tubed fixie with a Brooks saddle is a better choice than a carbon superbike that's lighter AND more aero, if the fixie can make it to the race on a bike rack and the tri bike requires air travel.
So, off I went on the less-than-smooth roads of downtown Miami, enjoying my 48-16 gearing (not like I had a choice, mind you) - right until we turned into the breeze and straight at a bridge. MAN did that first bridge suck - but I mashed my way up at around a cadence of 2, and before too long I was over the hump, staring downhill and getting my legs ready to redline. Or not - I sorta cheated and had my flipflop hub flopped onto the freewheel side. But anyway. As I cruised down the bridge, I reached down to take a nice cold sip of.... wha? Where'd it...? Oh you idiot! In the rush to make it to the start line, I'd managed to leave my nice, cold gatorade in the transition bag (and therefore not in the bottle cage, where I'd hoped to find it).
Not to worry - I train mostly in hot climes, and dehydration is my middle name. So I kept spinning along, getting chicked repeatedly but remaining firmly in the lead of the 'leather parts on bike' division. Actually, I don't recommend it. My saddle didn't seem to enjoy 40k under a seawater-soaked chamois... My guess is I didn't kill it, but I know for a fact that I didn't make it stronger.
Anyway - two laps later, I pulled into T2, just about desperate for a sip of gatorade. I just stood there by my bike, chugging that stuff before even thinking about changing shoes or unclipping my helmet (that said, it's amazing how drinkable it is when you're really really thirsty). Lid off, running shoes on, racebelt in-hand, and off I went. And just as I pulled out, the elites were pulling in. I mean, I have no aspiration to be in the same lap as these guys - but can I at least start running before you guys finish? Pretty please? Just start a line directly in front of the finish line (don't cut!) and wait until I exit T2. Then you can all take turns crossing the finish line in all sorts of victorious poses, fresh as cucumbers. It's a win-win for everyone, really).
The run course wasn't too bad, actually. Not the shadiest or prettiest (running through a shopping mall?), but the course pretty much bordered the bay most of the way. Maybe it's me, but I always enjoy running along any body of water. So no complaints there - although the course wasn't 'destination-race beautiful', it wasn't a bad place to get chicked some more.
The food tent went beyond the usual bananas and bagels. In addition to the usual stuff, we had rice, beans and plantains. Not too shabby! They had tables under a tent, and I sat down across from none other than Amanda Felder! She's very friendly, and we chatted about her career and the future of the sport. She's off to Lima, Peru in a few weeks. One of the things I love about this sport is that pros are super approachable and happy to chat to us n00bs.
The race support was great - lots of people at all the water tables, plenty of water/sports drink, and a good dose of enthusiasm. The RDs and the volunteers did great with this one. Thanks, guys!
I still don't have my official times, but I finished in 2h33m - good enough for 2nd place in the Clydesdale <39 division! Woohoo! That means I now have $400 to spend on an alarm clock, as well as a spot in the 5i50/5150/whatever US Championship in Des Moines!!!
Full results to follow.