Great Expectations

…left unmet on a grand scale. This past weekend I raced a 70.3 in Haines City Florida, and the tweet I sent into the interwebs just after 5pm that day summed it all up pretty well. “@trihollywood: Today’s race report could be summed up in one word. Hint: it rhymes with ‘isoppointed’.” Those of you that know me at all aren’t entirely wrong in thinking that my disappointed attitude stemmed from my performance; it did a bit. More than that though, I left the race venue upset at just how out of hand the event planning was. But before I get to that here’s the race break down…

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Solid [non-wetsuit] swim in, apparently this is possible, technical swim course. Six 90* turns. (sidenote: there was a lifeguard on her SUPboard at the first turn that I’ll admit made me breathe to my left twice in a row, and then actually choke when I remembered I didn’t have gills and needed air. I’ll let your minds play with that.) T1 was good, maybe a little longer because I slowed to shove my legs through my calf sleeves, and the set up was a giant horseshoe with me being on the lower level. Bike was crap. I spent the first 20miles stuck behind cyclists who were either riding 3-4 wide, or just all the way to the left. More on that coming, but that was the big factor on the bike. T2 was quick; I’m still leaning how to put socks on in less than a second. The run was terrible. 3-lap course. Solid lap 1, I dont know what happened on the second, and then I finally started to pick it up the end of the last lap. So that’s race, but more than my own performance that left me feeling a bit defeated, I left Haines City mad at the race itself.

Why is this always the look on my face out of the water...
Why is this always the look on my face out of the water…

Let’s start with that morning. There was no pre-race check in for the bike, so I brought mine that morning. The original plan was to ride the ~7 miles from my hotel as a warm up spin, but the sun wasn’t up at 5am, and transition closed at 6am (I didnt go off until 7:20), so I drove down to the site. Haines City is a little tiny town. I’m pretty sure my apartment complex would fit it inside, yet somehow 1600 people were going to race from a central location staged there. So with everyone jammed into their spot marked with a beat up sticker of a number so close that your aerobars touched the person’s next to you, even with a bike racked facing the opposite direction between you. Cramped is an understatement. Swim went fine, I get out, don my helmet and shades, then its out on the bike. Here’s where having this many people begins to cause an issue. 10 people can not exit transition at the same time when everyone stops just on the opposite side of the mount line. Granted my mount wasn’t beautiful (where is my muscle memory?!), but there shouldnt be a line to exit transition.

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Jump, land, pedal….just dont land on your face

The next 20 miles of the bike was one big social group ride. 3-4 wide, guys riding all the way to the left, no one moving no matter how loud or how many times you yell “Left!”, or just “MOOOOVE!!” for that matter, all while the ref is missing the irony that he has out his book to card riders and is only furthering the issue with his 120second explanation of why the ill placed riders need to move. I saw ZERO penalties given, but I wasnt going to be one of those guys and surge past on the right or cross the double yellows to get around, and while I’ll admit I entered the draft zone when a hole opened and then had to drop back as it closed, I was not going to just go sit on a wheel. 20 miles…Finally a space opened up and I could see a ways up the road, so I surged past between the yellow lines, but that move didnt do me all that much good this late into the game. I was told later that these refs weren’t USAT refs, and I can only assume that these refs were told to be very conservative with their penalties in order not to scare off participants…which probably also the same reason bike and helmet cameras arent allowed. They made quite the fuss about that before the gun went off. Anyway…finally settle in and get off the bike to hit the run.

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Angry…just angry

The run was great.Course wise anyway. The course was not flat…oh no. at about mile .5 theres a solid hill that had a lot of people walking. I didn’t but I wasn’t moving much faster. I keep being reminded I had to take 13 weeks off running and almost as long cycling because of my stress fractures, but I don’t like excuses. Liget or not. No real complaints here. I enjoyed the superhero themed aid station, but not so much the “Y’all look so good!” lady situated half way up the hill. You ma’am, are lying to us all. Below are by far the best picture of me running. Trust me that there’s a couple that you could almost say both feet were on the ground at the same time. There was a really cool one taken of me running with past a Wattie Ink guy, but it was buy a guy who wasn’t the race photographer (and was handing out his cards to racers as we ran by…), but I don’t even know where to look for that one.

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“I sure do wish I had a freakin’ sweet headband…”

So that’s the race. It may have been a blessing in disguise that I didn’t race well and therefore didn’t make the cut for anything else because I looked at my travel for Worlds in London, and umm…it’d basically be race a 70.3, get on a plane for over 8 hours, and then race almost immediately after disembarking, then nap, race again, then 8 hours home. So…Maybe it’s just that I’m holding onto this performance and want another shot, but maybe, just maybe, it was a good thing, Plus, now I get to focus on a series that doesn’t treat its athletes like another entry fee, because Rev3 Williamsburg is just next month.

Penny for your thoughts...

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