Aug 26 - Sept 1
S: 15,050 yds - 3hr 39min
B: 166.41 mi - 9hr 16min
R: 30.02 mi - 3hr 51min
Total: 16hr 46min
Sept 2 - Sept 8
S: 9,171 yds - 2hr 8min
B: 113.44 mi - 5hr 58min
R: 20.38 mi - 2hr 38min
Total: 10hr 44min
Well, since this race happened about a month ago I figured I'd go ahead and try to sum it up before it's long forgotten. The Alabama Coastal Triathlon takes place every year in early September, and it really is just a good excuse to take a trip down to the beach. Lori and I headed down to Gulf Shores, AL on Saturday morning and after arriving at the beach we picked up packets and then had a nice dinner at King Neptune's Seafood Rstaurant. This place reminded me of an old adage; "don't judge a book by its cover." After a good night's sleep and the usual breakfast routine, it was time to race.
Now I know what you're thinking; why am I doing a write up on the "warm up"? What could possibly happen in a warm up that is worth talking about? Well, lots of things. My race started at 7:30am but the sprint distance started at 7:00am and so transition closed at 6:30am, so we opted to get to the race site at 5:30am. For intense races like an olympic distance triathlon, I like getting a good 10-15 minute ride in, a 10 minute run, and a short swim. After dropping our bags off at the racks, Lori and I headed out for a bike warm up. At around 3 minutes and almost a mile into the warm up I heard every triathlete's worst nightmare...air coming out of my rear tire! And with it being a latex tube, that was $18 down the drain. With nothing to change the flat I started the walk back to transition. Instead of changing the tube myself I let bike support do it to save time and a few minutes later I was on my way for another warm up. After riding around for a few minutes I rolled back towards transition, got off my bike, and then...pop! Front tire flat! What the heck! Another $18 latex tube down the drain. I was about 10 feet away from bike support so I rolled over there and they changed it real quick. By this time it was already 6:35am but I rolled out for another warm up just to make sure. After 5 minutes of riding around without flatting, I rolled back into transition at around 6:45am. The race directors were yelling at people to get out of transition but I put my shoes on, did a few laps around transition, and then got out at around 6:55am. Whew! From there I had 30 minutes to let the nerves settle before starting the race, but hey...at least I was going to make it to the start line!
Swim - 21:41 (5th)
The swim was a 2 loop course, which is slightly annoying because it makes the 2nd loop pretty congested. Nonetheless, that was the course and everyone had to do it. I was 12th or so in the time trial start and after a few minutes found myself all alone. I can never tell if I'm having a good swim or not but it felt like I was moving pretty good so whatever. At the end of the first loop you had to get out on the beach, run down 30 yds or so, and then get back in the ocean. On the run out back into the ocean I decided to dive through the wave a little too soon and took a mouthful of water. Besides dodging swimmers on the 2nd lap the rest of the swim was pretty uneventful.
T1 - 1:26 (3rd)
On the run up to transition someone yelled out that I was in 4th position so I figured it was a good swim. T1 was quick with no mistakes, and I headed out ready to reel in the other 3 riders.
Bike - 57:54 (2nd)
As soon as the bike started Sam Hudson jumped in front of me and I ended up just riding legally behind him for a few minutes while recovering from the swim. A few minutes later we passed Lori (she crushed the swim) and after yelling some encouragement I decided to go ahead and pass Sam because I wanted to go just a litttttle bit faster. It was very, very hot and humid out and bike watts felt a little low, but I could see that we were reeling a guy in up the road. At the turnaround we had reeled in the guy and I moved into 2nd place, with Tiago Barriera a few minutes up the road. Tiago is a great swimmer/biker but I felt confident I could reel him in on the run. That said, he had a slightly bigger lead than I had expected so my nerves were on edge. On the way back in we had a nice tailwind but I was not feeling good at all. Sam was content to legally sit behind me so I just focused on trying to keep watts steady and not falter. Sam and I arrived into T2 together and Tiago had a 3 minute lead.
T2 - 0:48 (2nd)
No mistakes here. I managed to put 20 seconds into Sam here, which would hopefully put him out of the picture for good.
Run - 41:54 (4th)
Only one word is necessary here: HOT. It was almost a repeat of last year, which was without a doubt the most miserable 10k run of 2012. This year proved to be no different. The first 2 miles or so weren't bad. The tailwind was nice and I could see Tiago slowing down up the road, which provided some good motivation. At about the halfway mark I passed Tiago and saw that I had a good size gap on Sam, but that's when things really started to hurt. The thrill of moving into first got me through mile 4 but miles 5 and 6 were about the most miserable thing I've done in recent memory. I figured everyone was suffering just as bad but I became paranoid that I was slowing down too much and that someone was going to come pass me. Seeing Lori in first place for the females helped get me through mile 5, and from there it was all I could do to make it to the end.
Total - 2:03:42 (1st overall)
No matter what or how it happens, a win is a win. My swim felt good but I felt like my bike was poor (given other performances this year) and the run was a slug fest in the heat. It was miserable but crossing the line was the most awesome thing. The complete contrast of different emotions of pain/suffering and then joy/happiness is really kind of weird, but I guess it's what draws people to compete. Oh yea...and Lori took the overall female win by...8 MINUTES...so awesome!