A quick update about a recent event. Yesterday I participated in my annual triathlon, the one at the Cain Center in Athens. Of course, two days after the latest “blizzard of the month, or century or millennium”, according to our local weather nuts, it was bound to be a bit chilly. I don’t think, however, that my buddy Brent Erschen (dad of one of Lindsay’s buddies at school) and I, truly anticipated exactly HOW cold it would be. For instance, it was about 27 deg F when I picked Brent up at 5:15 am for the drive to Athens.
Having SUCH a good time chatting away as we headed for East Texas, we were almost to Tyler before I realized we had missed the turn off I-20 at Canton. Thank goodness for iphones, as Brent was able to look up where we were, and where we needed to go. A quick tour of small East Texas towns, and we were on the right track again. We got to Athens in time to still check in, get our numbers written on us – along with our ages which was very embarrassing – and put our bikes in the racks.
I got set up in my rack, with TONS of clothes to wear so I’d be prepared for any weather coming out of the pool, and went to the pre-race briefing in my tri-shorts, a singlet and flip-flops. Promptly at the top of the stairs, I slipped on the concrete, stumped my toe, and ripped a 1/4 inch square of skin off the end. The guy beside me looked down and said, “that’s gonna hurt”, to which I replied, “not yet – I can’t feel my feet!”
So, bloody toe and all, we headed for the pool. For some idiotic reason I put down my real swim time for 300 meters, and was seeded 14th (!) of 466 people. Me and a bunch of high school swimmers. Lots of much better athletes behind me. We got started and i realized the stupid shirt I was wearing was not holding my heart monitor bra strap in place, and was just a big water drag. Stupid again. I did hold my own, and was only passed by two folks, and then had a lot of clear water behind me. Good thing, too, because i nearly couldn’t get out at the end of the last lap.
Running outside was a revelation in cold air. No idea how cold exactly, but i bet still in the 30s. Whew! I decided to go with no long pants, 1 pair of socks, a long-sleved poly shirt and a sleeveless bike jersey (the one in the picture above from HHH 2006 – it had my number on it). 300 yards in to the ride, i was FREEZING. It got worse. Really, REALLY rough road for the first few miles, and by then it was INTO THE WIND. It’s a good thing I’ve already decided to stop having kids, because I was pretty sure it was going to freeze solid and fall off. Terrible, TERRIBLE time on the bike. I found out later my average speed was 14 point something. Last year it was over 18. I think i passed one guy, who had started out on a mountain bike; the rest of the time it was pretty much, “yeah, i know, on my left”. And, of course, the wind shifted halfway through, so it was a crosswind on the way back, after being a headwind on the way out. Yuck!
So, at the changeover, I rode in and cracked up the volunteers with “it is DESPERATELY cold out there.” Pulled off the bike shoes, and found that my toe had bled all over the sock. I had already ripped off the little square of skin, and still couldn’t feel anything. Of course, I had left my new “tosies” shoe covers in the CAR!! So, off and running, i almost took off with my bike helmet on, to the yells of, “Helmet, helmet!!” Tossed that back to someone, and kept going. Got about 200 yards in, at least around the corner from the start, I had to walk for a bit to get my wind back. Finally, hooked up with a guy closer to my age, and we mostly ran and occasionally walked, and finished the 5k in about 37 minutes.
Best things about the whole event: 1) well run by Iron Head productions, a very professional outfit; 2) weather, while cold, was clear and sunny – just a gorgeous day; 3) t-shirts were dri-fit and nicely done, 4) post-race baked potatoes with all the trimmings, as well as big oranges and lots of bananas. Kind of a long drive for most of you guys, but pretty close for me – about 90 minutes if you don’t get lost. All in all, a good way to get the juices flowing for the year, to prove rumors of my death have been exaggerated, and find out what works on the bike, and the body.