As I pulled into the park, the bestest song came on the radio. Peter Gabriels "swimmin" I took it as a good omen and it definitely settled my nerves. I arrived early to test the waters. Hopped the fence and splashed around abit. The water temp was totally comfortable as was the new swim top. I quickly returned the transition area to set up and the group started to file in. The weather was beautiful.
First the swim. I apparently have no ability to freestyle in the lake. I alternated between breast and backstroke the majority of the time with occasional attempt at freestyle. The breathing was still an issue despite the warmer water. I just gotta get in the lake more. I think I swam too fast initially tiring myself out with the breaststroke which made it harder to settle into the more technical freestyle. Dread and Fear were not the blame this time, but my overenthusiasm tripped me up. To my surprise Lake Anza wasn't so bad. I actually preferred it over Shadow Cliff. I was last out of the water but I had a smile on my face. Running towards the transition I peeled off my swim top, goggles and cap. T and Nancy cheering me on felt good.
Next the bike. T1 went almost perfect except I forgot to put on my race belt. I hopped on and before too long spotted a few riders. The exit from the park to Grizzly Peak was brutal. I had trouble shifting and where the hell was my granny gear???? I humped that freakin hill until I couldn't anymore then walked the last 50 yards? to the top. Not much later things got worse. Oh yeah I had a flat!!! Thank goodness Cheryl who was our sweeper was trailing behind and between she, me and another good samaritan we changed the tire and I was off again. The last thing I heard Cheryl say "you can catch up Chris cuz your fast" We had two options. One was to turn around at Inspiration Point(IP) or to continue past IP down another 1/2 a mile and turn around at Toyon??? I caught up with one rider who was tuning around at IP and I kept going . Down Down Down........where the hell is the turnaround??? They told us this was tricky turn and hard to see. At this point I was closing in on 2 hours and made an executive decision to add a 3rd option and I turned around. Up Up Up more freakin hills, I found granny purely on trial and error and for awhile was able to pick things up. The hill leading you out of the park was a bitch and again granny gave me the slip. But I got my butt off the saddle and stood up to pedal and did not walk. Winding down Grizzly Peak back to the transition area, a few more hills to contend with and then rolling into T2. I was peeling off my helmut and bike shoes and donning my running shoes, cap and race belt.
The run. This is where I made up for things folks. I was not fast but I was strong and steady and I never walked . I was sure to high five and shout out positive words as I went toward Little Farm. On the turn around I got a bit more serious, less talkative and just tried to hold on to my pace. I passed a few more people and was grinning from ear to ear. I hate to admit it but it felt damn good not to be last. I was whipped but I felt really good at the same time.
So the real deal in just two weeks. The course today was so much harder than what we'll be facing in Pleasonton.
I'm pleased with my swim effort. I know it will improve over the summer. It may not get much better before the race but I've proven to myself that I can swim 1/4 mile and have enough gas to finish my race. The flat tire was stressful and for a few minutes I got panicky while trying to catch up but it's got me thinking how many more people would I have passed if that hadn't happened. The run was solid. I forgot to get an actual time but I know I was well under 3 hours. Overall I'm pleased with todays performance. What I lacked in technical skill I made up for in physical strength. Sprint level tri's are good match for me. This was such a helpful way to train. I couldn't imagine going into the real deal without this kind of preparatiion. What a rush!!
one participant wasn't able to complete the swim.
average elevation 2000 ft