COLD START and WET END- Huntersville Sprint Tri

What a wacky two weeks since my birthday! We finally get a chance to feel some warm weather, getting into the 80′s, and now we have a week of dreary cooler weather, mostly rain for the next few days! I like the fact the sun is up just after 6am now and it allowed me to also get adjusted to a flurry of changes before the seasonal shift in training/racing.
I finally made a dent in all the delicious baked goods I got as birthday gifts, donuts, brownies, cake, all homemade goodness, with big time props to CRC’s own Phil Garland and his mocha cheesecakes!! It helped since with the additional stresses of our move, I actually lost a good 3 lbs and started to feel its effects this week. Yes, we moved, but believe it was only a full 100 feet from where we lived! Gina and I decided to switch to a 3 bedroom from a 2, gaining not only extra space to spread out (including a bricked in patio back that G loves), but also quieter neighbors if you catch my drift. Our complex had one open up as we were on the wait list for all of 2 months. It was simply a matter of walking everything over. Big thanks to Brad and Dave from my run group who helped with the heavy items, but we were all moved in by the end of a weekend! We were exhausted but relieved that yes, this is where home will be for a long time. Holmes however took a week to realize his new address, but he is getting use to walking up and down stairs now (so are we). Add a round trip bike commute to the dentist to the week list and even the squeeze love from my 110% gear was challenged.

I had the Huntersville Sprint Tri on the schedule as a season opener for my transition into tri racing for the remainder of the year. It’s a great race for me on a few fronts: I get to swim (which I haven’t done since October, only ÜBE), I get to ride the Black Widow outdoors (same reason), try the new aero helmet, and crank out a run to put it all together. It’s basic, fun stuff, but with welcoming mistakes expected. Oh, and its on a Sunday which means I don’t have to worry about the store. However, with the week that was I went to bed Saturday night pretty beat. Add to that some rain and cold weather expected, brings a nice mental challenge to the mix too. It was gonna hurt, I knew it, expected it, wanted the lesson.

We got up at 5:30 (G was up at 4 thanks to Holmes), and did the prep routine. I got Aquaphored up, wore my new AAA Carolina’s gear, and we headed out for the quick drive to Huntersville. No rain, but the weather was cool and never got out of the 50′s. Bundled up. Easy park, short walk, and got all setup, including the body marking with the age 40 on the leg!  As I was in transition area, a teammate named Steve came up to introduce himself. Was great to meet a fellow AAA mate and I met another woman Laura shortly after by the pool. Each was excited to represent the team, and I gave them some tidbits having been on it last year. I had my tri top under my TeamUSA skin suit, since I new it would be chilly on the bike but knew it wasn’t enough. My seed time was at 8:13, but Steve and Laura weren’t until an hour later. That’s the only downside to a pool sprint tri – the lag time of starts and finishes means you can’t hang out with anyone. I met some fellow Triple Threat members as well, and soon, the music was pumping and everyone was lining up according to number. Did some dynamic stretches, get stoked. Time to roll. Kiss and hug from G, three deep breaths, and it was time for a plunge.

Wow, what a welcoming wet chill. As the starter counted down, I zoned out. 5-4-3-2-1, and off I went. Nice fluid strokes. I felt warmed and comfy by the 3rd lap and just kept my flow. Time irrelevant. Get that neurological feel back (side note, the complex pool opens May 1 yo). I had one swimmer past me more that halfway through, but for sure he seeded himself wrong since he blew by a few more with ease. Soon, I was heading towards the wall with the exit ladder and enjoyed the swim. Now was I going to stay wet. Exited swim time for the 500 yards: 8:10.
Out to the bike, but it was a good trot from the pool to my bike. Got suited up, activated my Polar CS600x and rolled out. Got into good gearing and kept a nice cadence. It was open road and was minutes between passing folks, but the rain for now held off. Ground was wet so it was cautious on the turns, but a nice rolling course where you can get aero and pedal. After ten minutes though I was chilly. I maintained focus by breathing with emphasis and kept a high cadence though my speed suffered. Mentally all things were clicking. The BW hummed nicely. I didn’t hydrate as I was cold and didn’t bother with a bottle. Laser sharp. Say hi to a few cows munching on grass. With the closing miles, it started to rain. I caught a few more and was elated to at least finish now, rather to run in the rain. Volunteers and police were awesome. We were well directed. Hopped off, jog to the transition, and was funny that I was so cold that I almost fell putting on my pink Adios sneakers. I laughed at myself at that one. I shouted “yo, chill” to regroup. Boom, I got outta there in a hurry with my CS600x in hand. Bike time for the 12 miles – 36:00.

Saw G on the exit and I know I am cold when the first mile the legs feel like they bare going 120 rpms. It was raining, but after the first mile went by in 5:51, I was more relaxed and in the flow. A nice course, but the kicks were already soaked and it was getting messy. Chomp chomps some folks. Splash in a few puddles. Second mile done in 5:50. Nice. A smoother third mile went in 5:20 as it was a nice downhill, from the initial mile uphill. I tried to expose my AAA Carolina’s top but couldn’t remove my skin suit enough. I felt strong that last mile, good indicator of how long to warm up in this thing, as I ran through the finish in a time of 1:05, which turned out to be according to SetUp, a 18:30 5K?  Wow.Welcome back.

Hugged and kissed an equally soaked Gina and used the next 10 minutes jogging to stay warm. We stayed around for a bit just to say hi to a few guys I knew (that kid Jack from Racefest was in it and he approached me as I was walking back with G). But as it got into a nice steady drizzle, G made the directive to get the gear, flow it outta there. I was getting really cold too despite layering my upper body. By the time we got back, it rained a good bit the rest of the day. Some scones and hot java warmed things up (and big props to the crew at Amy’s Bread for the MC favorite applesauce donuts!!!!) got right to chores needed to catch up on, and now enjoying some college softball glancing over at the Ironsherpa into her 2nd hour of nap time. I felt fully recovered and fresh. Nice planning. No issues, but need to monitor the weight and adjust some things. Nice spark to warm up the engine on a day like this. Bring that hot weather son! I actually placed 2nd in the 40-44 age group and 40th overall.Was good to see Steve and Laura both placed well in their divisions so a great Team AAA Carolinas turnout.

Overall, was very happy with today and stored the notes taken from it. A nice shaker literally. Moving Onward. Got the Jetton Park Triathlon in 2 weeks as another test but will emphasize the next 8 weeks towards the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 in Texas. Gina and I also are into the 3rd week of her training program and with all that’s been going on, she has been able to adapt to what is a long day during the week. She inspires me daily with her gusto. Cor Meum Dabo, yo.

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