I finished the Deuceman 70.3
Holy hell, that was the hardest thing I've ever done.
I became a cry-athlete (Pirate's words) in the middle of the bike.
I edited the run and bike profiles with some general comments . Click to read.
Okay, I've had the first of what I'm sure is going to be two suppers, and here's what I have to say...
This was the third 70.3 I've done. I figured, it would be a piece of cake, especially since the race director advertised it as a "fast course" with "some hills" at the 40-mile mark.
So, here's the dirt: I had a crap day. There were three things working against me:
First, the bike course was very hilly on the second half. The bike profile above doesn't show all the turns on the course. See that reallllllly big hill? Towards the end? It winds toward the right, so that you don't realize you're still climbing until each time you round a corner. For four miles, it just keeps going up, and up, and up. That's why I kept pulling over and crying. At one point, I was crying and babbling, "it won't end. It just won't end!"
Second, the altitude was around 6200 feet. Altitudes like that make you feel all wimpy and whiny, like you really suck. You have trouble catching your breath. Swim, bike, run, it doesn't matter: unless you live at this altitude, you're going to suck some serious air. The air has less pressure, and the oxygen molecules are further apart, so your lungs have to work harder to get in the oxygen.
Third, well of COURSE there was wind. Wind loves me. I passed three windmills - real ones - pointing in the direction I was going. They were spinning like mad. And here's the thing: The wind was in my face going out AND COMING BACK!
MotherF&$%#ER! Hills, High Altitude, and Wind. Don'tcha just wish you were me?
I read somewhere that when you're really, really tired your body plays a trick where it tries to convince you to stop, just stop, in order to protect itself. I really had to battle that today. It is worth noting that Sweet Baboo was worried I'd blame the day on him. I'll admit to many dark thoughts while on the bike, but I was sure happy to see him at the finish, and I knew he would worry enough about me to make up for any imagined wrongdoing.
Some of my thoughts on this bike:
- I hate the bike. I really hate the bike.
- Who am I fooling? I'm never going to be able to finish an ironman. \
- I think I may do permanant damage to my hoo-hoo with all these long bikes.
- I can't do this. I just can't handle one more hill.
- Oh my F&$%#ing gawd, another F&$%#ing hill.
- I have to quit. Now. Right this second.
- This was all Sweet Baboo's idea.
- I am so unprepared for this. I'm a fraud. There's no way I'm going to be able to do an ironman.
- I really, really hate the motherF&$%#ing bike!
In any case, there were only two Athenas stupid enough to attempt this today, so it appears I may have gotten 2nd. I was dead last, and too busy crying in Sweet Baboo's lap to think about any prize I might have gotten.
So, I'll just make a general list of pro's/cons
1. Volunteers, as they often are, were awesome. They had this whole "switch out your bottle thing" going, where they had bottled prepared with HydraBOOM and without dismounting, you could swap out your empty bottles with a full one. Cool. Very cool. At one aid station, they surrounded me like I was at a 1950's gas pump. One handed me gels. Another swapped out my bottles. One squeezed a bottle of water into my aero bottle. The swap out thing was especially handy when I reached back to get mine and realized it had bounced out of my flatwing. I got a nice, cold full bottle to replace it.
2. Smallish sort of race, so you didn't get overwhelmed by the crowd.
3. They sent the Athena's, Clydesdales, and Pros off in the first wave. That means I had a whole lake practically to myself with a nice crowd some distance ahead of me to let me know where to go next. (Until, that is, the men showed up, and surrounded me. But then they swam on, and I had the lake to myself again.)
4. My new bike made this easier than it would have otherwise been. For instance, when I pulled over and unclipped to cry in the middle of a hill climb, it was much easier to get back on and keep going up the hill, until the next time I pulled over to cry.
5. I think my hydration/nutrition plan worked well although, owing to the difficult of the course, I added more hydration on the run.
6. Awesome shwag and a great raffle afterwards.
7. The swim was awesome. The lake was a no-wake lake, with no chop and a "brisk" 67-degree temperature.
Now for the cons (Only two, but they are compelling)
1. The bike was advertised on the web site as a "fast course with some hills at 40 miles". Bulls$%t. Everyone I knew, even those that did the Olympic course, were wondering around in an exhausted daze, talking about how difficult this course was. This was an extremely challenging course, with many people who are accomplished athletes talking about hard it was.
2. There was a point, halfway through the run, where you split off right to either finish (if you'd just finished the 2nd loop) or go left to do the second loop. Miguel, for instance, didn't do the second loop and didn't even realize it, and when he did, he promptly reported it to someone who let him go back out on the course to finish it. There was no way to make sure that everyone did the second loop. They need to put a timing mat somewhere on the second loop to make sure that everyone does it.
Not a PR. It may have been my worst ever.
But I'm done.
Now it's time to eat second supper.