Yakabo's 1st 1/2 IM (Blackwater Race Report - Long)

Yakabo's 1st 1/2 IM (Blackwater Race Report - Long)

Post by fesen.. » Sat, 13 Jun 1998 04:00:00

The week prior (an externally enforced taper):  Uncle Sam decides to send me
from DC to Offutt AFB in NE for the week to facilitate a meeting aimed at
developing new policy and procedures for my reengineered career field
(weather).  Im looking forward to the trip since I had traveled there a
month ago and was able to mix quality training with a smaller meeting.  Such
is not to be the case this time around!  I end up locked away in a room doing
battle with contentious representatives from the various major commands
trying to keep the discussion focused and productive.  This quickly leads to
Excedrin headaches and overly active digestive glands.  To add insult to
injury, I get tasked to build a 1-hour briefing for presentation two days
after I return.  The bottom line - 2 runs (10 and 6 mi), 1 bike ride (22 mi),
1 swim workout (2000 yds).

Pre-Race Activities (wheres RST?):  My tri-spouse and I arrive early
Saturday afternoon and scope out the race site before checking in.
Observation 1 - Its windy here!  Observation 2 - The water is awfully
shallow where the start line is!  With these two pieces of intelligence filed
away, I sign in, get the bike checked, and do the carbo- load, race meeting
thing.  I wander about lusting after various tri-toys on display and taking
in the crowd.  Observation 3 - Where are the RSTers?  The only sign I see is
behind Andy when I pay for the tri-spouses dinner.  We chat a little but
hes a busy man so I leave him to his work.  Looking around, I dont see any
other sign of RST.  Oh well, I guess the faces behind the words will remain
anonymous a little longer.  Observation 4 - People are a lot more intense
here than any other race Ive done.  I decide its an IM IQ thing and smile
inwardly knowing Im under no such pressure.  Im here to complete my first
1/2 IM and experiment with race strategies to prepare for the GFT, as long as
I learn, I win.  We leave early for the hotel and a good nights sleep.

Early Morning, Race Day (life in the transition area):  The alarm wakes me at
5 leading to Observation 5 - I must be getting used to these things, even
though I face a lot of unknowns, I got a good nights sleep.  Down a
breakfast of blueberry bran muffins, a banana, and a liter of Prohydrator,
quick check of the gear and its off to the races!  Getting into the car, I
make Observation 6 - Its down right cool this morning.  Driving across the
bridge into Cambridge, I look out over the bay and make Observation 7 - Its
windy here! (deja vu)  Arriving early, I set up my transition area at the end
of a rack while contemplating the implications of whitecaps.  That done, I go
for a short run to begin warming up.  Returning to my bike, I find someone
else decided they liked my spot on the rack and so moved everything down to
make some room for themselves.  At first I flash the evil eye at the cretin
but then reflect back on Observation 4. Having noticed my earlier evil eye
routine, he asks if I want him to move.  I defer.  Racing for the experience
I have nothing to lose; he is obviously serious enough about the whole thing
to believe one spot on the rack will make a significant difference.  Putting
my annoyance behind me, I stretch and listen to the announcements.  One
announcement in particular was the harbinger of things to come although I
didnt know it at the time.  I here the start of the first wave is being
delayed 10 minutes because the wind is making it difficult to set the buoys.
Happy for the extra time to hit the port-o-john one last time, I dont stop
to muse on the possible implications.  I finish my stretching, lube up with
Pam, and don the Orca (if only I really were swift and deadly in the water!).
 Making my way over to the swim start, I finally run into my training
partners.  We wish each other luck and joke to cut the growing tension.  We
listen to the countdown for the start of the first wave and join the crowd
yelling to get them moving when they dont here the start horn.  After what
seems like an eternity (but was probably about 30 seconds), they realize the
clock is running and off they go.

The Swim (1.2 mi give or take 3 feet):  I wade into the water with my
purple-capped brethren of the sixth wave and take the opportunity to stroke
some as I make my way to the start line.  I move to the left of the pack to
stay clear of the initial thrashing for position and wait for the horn.  It
comes very soon after I reach the line and I start my watch and begin a new
experience.  Unlike my start at Columbia earlier this year, I quickly settle
into a relaxed stroke and let my mind wander.  As I progress along the first
leg of the clockwise swim, I notice I seem to be veering left, away from the
line of buoys.  I also notice that the line between the buoys seems to bow in
to the right so I just continue to head to the turn buoy.  Towards the end of
the first leg, my mind decides that if Im going to let it wander, its going
to focus on the less favorable aspects of the swim.  A boat passes by and my
brain hones in on the smell of the exhaust fumes and the taste of oil in the
water.  I push past this but begin to resent the disruption of my breathing
when a particularly ill-timed swell forces me to skip a breath or swallow
some of the bay.  I turn the first leg and head towards the bridge.  Ive
decided to enforce some discipline on my pointless musing and concentrate on
my stroke.  I feel the water flow past as I extend, catch, rotate and pull,
and repeat.  My only problem is sighting.  The swells seem larger on this leg
and when Im able to see a buoy, I still seem to be drifting left.  This
keeps me out of the main pack who would normally help provide some direction.
 Breathing comes easier on this leg, Im running with the swell and getting
into a groove.  After a while the groove seems to become a rut.  This leg
never seems to end, there always seems to be another buoy past the one I
figure has to be the turn point.  I finally reach the turn and head for
shore.  Its easier to sight now because I dont have to look for the buoys,
just head for the radio tower, its easy to see.  The swells become
disruptive to my breathing again but since I normally breath to the left and
theyre coming from the right, I get some warning as I feel them break over
my head.  After seeming to get nowhere on the second leg, Im pleased with my
progress towards shore.  Soon Ill be out of the water and on my bike.
Making my way up the boat ramp, the spectators yell to watch out for the
hole.  Forewarned, the muddy depression doesnt take me by surprise and I
thank those who told me as I exit the water and hit the lap button on my
watch.  I glance quickly at my time: 58:57!  YIKES!!!  I had figured on 39-40
minutes prior to the race and thought I swam OK even if I seemed to drift
left on the first two legs.  This is going to be a long day. (Official swim
time: 59:04)

(Later, the official results hint at the fact the swim was long.  A note
states that the swim pace posted was based on a 1.9 mi swim, a little more
than the 1.2 plus or minus 3 feet promised at the pre-race meeting.  This
isnt meant as criticism, the wind made it difficult to set the course and
every one had to swim it.  However, it was a little disheartening to believe
you swam so poorly not knowing you actually swam .7 mi more than you

T1 and the Bike (into a whirlpool of wind):  The longish run from the water
to the back of the transition area where my bike is racked allows me the time
to peel my upper body before I reach the bike (a first for me).  On with the
skull bucket and sunglasses, smear some sportslick on my inner thighs, pull
on the shoes, grab a handful of pretzel pieces, and out I go.  T1 time: 2:34,
Ill take it.  Believing I need to make up the ground I mistakenly think Ive
give away to my fellow MOPers on the swim, I push on the bike.  My mantra is
cadence as I force myself to keep a faster turnover instead of pushing a
tall gear.  Its working, I steadily gain ground as I push into the wind.
Before long, I come across a racer changing a flat.  Its a scene I see
repeated numerous times before Im finished; much more frequently than in
other races Ive done.        As I make mostly left hand turns Observation 8 dawns
on me I never seem to get to ride with the wind!  Its always in my face or
a crosswind.  I enter a whining phase.  This is getting old!  This is too
much work!  Waa, waa, waa. Fortunately the other side of my personality takes
over and says, Enough of the negative waves, you wanted a test of things you
might face in the GFT and wind on the bike is high on the list of probable
conditions there.  Shut up and ride, whip!  Thoroughly chastised, I press
on.  Towards the last third of the ride, the winds seem to become more
favorable at last.  Once again, my mind begins to wander as I become nothing
more than an extension of my bike.  I lost interest in trying to figure out
if the dot circling above me is an osprey or an eagle.  All that matters is
the road rolling by under my tires.  Im jerked from my state of
semi-awareness by a gust of wind that pushes me off the pavement.  I skitter
in the grass for a moment but recover with my heart racing.  Nothing like a
disaster narrowly avoided to accelerate the old cardiovascular system and
give the adrenaline glands a workout.  I make a mental note to myself to
listen to some favorite music before I start my next race to try and implant
a song.  I figure thats got to be less dangerous than putting the mind on
idle.  I experiment with my eating plans while I ride.  I got on the bike
with a flask of gel and two bars made from Rick Dennys recipe.  The bars get
a little soft so I wrapped them in waxpaper and kept them in my little pouch
behind the headset.  I eat the first one about 10 miles in and the second at
about 30. This seems to work very well and they or ...

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Yakabo's 1st 1/2 IM (Blackwater Race Report - Long)

Post by Iron Pe » Sat, 13 Jun 1998 04:00:00

Great report and congrats on your first 1/2Fe. You certainly survived in tough

Sorry for the makeshift RST sign that nobody could see. I'll put more effort
into it next time.

"Iron Pete" Priolo        +--------+
                          |26      |
IMC'96: 10:36:37          |   Fe   |   '98 IMC, GCT, BSLT
IMC'97: 10:42:53          |        |
                 "THE BEST ELEMENT OF RACING"


Yakabo's 1st 1/2 IM (Blackwater Race Report - Long)

Post by Higne » Sat, 13 Jun 1998 04:00:00

Great report Yakabo.  Nice job on your first 1/2 IM.  Have fun at tupper lake,
a real nice race.  Bring gloves and prepare for cold weather, yes I know it's
July but you'd be amazed.  You'll thank me later for the glove tip.  Don't
bother bringing gloves to Clermont  however. He he...  See you in florida on
Oct 25!

Tim Hignett
Buaidh No Bas



Yakabo's 1st 1/2 IM (Blackwater Race Report - Long)

Post by cameron.ma.. » Sat, 13 Jun 1998 04:00:00


I must say that I was particularly disappointed that I didn't get to meet you
at Eagleman.  You have a great perspective on triathlon and on pushing your
body to its limits, in general.  In particular, I need you to talk me out of
pursuing high-altitude mountaineering!  :-)

I cannot believe that someone actually moved your stuff!!  Evil eye??  If he
would've done that to my bike (I camped right at the transition area that
night and got my choice rack... and pick of the portajohns), I would've given
him a *black* eye.  OK.  I jest, but that is something that I hope to never
see for myself in this sport, as it will shatter my impression of triathletes
as being above all that nonsense.

You think that the atmosphere at Eagleman seemed competitive?  Show up race
morning at USAT Nationals and you'll think you're at a funeral! :-)

Happy training!

Cameron "I'll be the guy who has no problem finding his bike at USAT
Nationals" Martz

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