As the name says, my first tri this year turned out to be the inaugural 100 mile triathlon. A 1 mile swim in cold Lake Erie, 84 mile bike, and finish with a 15 mile run.
Training was going so well until one week before the race when my left IT band decided to act up. Took it very easy running the last week and decided to just block it out and hope it won’t act up during the run.
The morning of the race:
Didn’t really do anything crazy with my diet the night or week before. Decided to just keep everything the same as any other week and just make sure I don’t get dehydrated. In the past, I always suffered stomach issues on the run and really wanted to avoid that. Ate my usual bagel and almond butter the morning of the race and made the 1.5 hour drive to Geneva Park.
Went to get my race packet and they had one of the best race packets. Everyone got a bottle of Once Again Nut Almond Butter. That was worth the drive and entry fee.
Racked the bike and headed to the swim. Lake water temperature was around 57 F. A little cold but I thought was perfect for a wetsuit swim. Doubled on the swim cap and headed down for a warm up swim. After couple of strokes, the water felt perfect.
It was a mass swim start. Nothing too crazy. The field was small so it felt like I was swimming with my age group in any other race. At the start of the swim, I was right behind the leader and tried to stay on his feet until I lost him when the guy next to me decided to jump on top of me to sight for a buoy. It was an out and back swim. The current was strong on the way out. On the way back the sun was very bright and was very hard to see where I was going. I spotted a long cell tower in the distance and decided to swim toward it and that got me closer to the swim finish. Got out of the water in 31:15.
T1 was uneventful (0:47). The wetsuit was off quickly and jumped on the bike and started the 84 miles ride. I was a little unsure of what to expect on the bike ride from the aid stations and made few changes to my nutrition strategy which I paid for later in the race.
Instead of a water bottle, I decided to take perform. I have no problem drinking perform but the thing is to remember to take the seal off before putting it in the bottle cage which I discovered when I tried to take my first drink. So with no drinks I had to either keep going and hope I get stopped by the first 2 railroads or stop and open the bottle. I decided to keep going and see what happens after the first two railroad crossings. As things usually go, the trains were completely absent during my whole ride. We crossed 12 railroad crossings and not one damn train.
Now the course was marked… kind of. The heavy rain from Friday night washed them out. They also used their logo (see logo above) to mark for turns. I studied the course so I had an idea where to go but at the first intersection, I was looking for signs and was surprised to just see their logo. Going 20+mph was hard to see which way it was. There are 4 arrows in their logo anyway so that wasn’t the smartest thing to do. According to my memory, we were suppose to head north toward the lake so I did that. There was no one close to me at that point and was riding alone. About 1/2 mile in I thought I probably made the wrong turn. It was suppose to be right then left, then another left toward the lake… crap! turned back.
Then crossing the second railroad my perform bottle ejected. I thought about just going but then I decided to turn back, get the bottle, open the seal and finally get some drink.
Few miles later, I am drinking again and then drop the bottle. I think using Vaseline before the swim made it hard to grab onto anything and I dropped three bottles during my ride and stopped for 2 of them.
Aid stations were setup to hand you Heed and water in cups. That’s right paper cups not bottles. Only one aid station had bottle exchange at the end of each loop. that’s basically 28 miles between aid stations . The first bottle I got was Heed and I can’t stand Heed. Didn’t drink much of it and then ended up stopping at one of the other aid stations with cups and had mine filled up with water. As I approached the aid stations with bottles, I started yelling water before getting there. Lesson learned!
I was basically riding a lone for the whole ride. Not one sole around me and thought I was lost many times. With all the stops and getting lost, I thought many times of not finishing the race. However, didn’t want to start my season with a DNF and just decided to keep going. At one point during the second loop, I thought I missed a turn where you basically go up north for about a mile and then turn back and continue on the road. I thought for sure I missed that turn and was wondering what to do. Do I finish the second loop and stop. Do the 3rd loop and make sure not to miss that turn and just do that section twice? I thought about doing the 3rd option but then suddenly I noticed that turn ahead of me so I was relieved.
Then later in the second loop, I passed by a woman with a flat and she yelled something at me so I turned back and she needed a tube to fix her flat. (Please check your flat kit before any race) She was out there stranded for over 20min and no one stopped so I was kind of glad I did stop for her. My day was not going according to plan anyway. Now, hopefully I won’t get a flat because I have no tube with me.
Wind going south was brutal. It was probably blowing at 30+ mph. In some stretches and specially toward the end of the ride I was going no where pedaling against the wind.
Finished the ride and come to T2 to realize I left my shoes on. WTF! I always, always take my shoes off before T2. Even in training I take my shoes off before the end of each ride. Definitely rusty. Not that it mattered to me at that point.
Got into the run and everything was working great. legs feeling good and no stomach issues until the first mile to realize first aid station only had Heed. Am I the only one that can’t stomach Heed? They had no water left or coke and temp was in the mid 80s. Kept running and maybe the second aid station will have some water. Before I got there, my ITB decided to remind me that it is still there. Stopped to stretch and walk a bit then started running again and hit the 2nd aid station. It was basically a table with a warm water bottle and some cups. Help yourself style.
Drank some and went back to running, stopped to stretch the ITB, walked then started running again. Kept that going for the whole 15 miles. The rest of the aid stations had water and coke and someone to help. One aid station actually had ice and cookies so you kind of never know what to expect at the next aid station. Finished the run and was surprised to only be passed by 3 guys.
At the end of the run I was so dehydrated and for the first time after a race I started seeing double vision. I sat on the ground for a while to drink. There was an EMS but didn’t really know what was going on with me and decided to head to my car and just drive to the next gas station and grab drinks and chips.
Overall I felt I could’ve been more prepared for this race. Too many stupid mistakes on my part and should’ve not missed with my nutrition.
Good race overall and great venue and hope this race grow into one of the major races in the area. Running through Geneva town was awesome. The bike was great and other than the 12 railroad crossings and a small section with huge potholes, I think the area offers some of the best roads in NE Ohio.