Friday, September 13, 2013

Flat to First, Part 1

Two weeks ago I was getting excited for the Lake Norman Sprint. The race is one of the most popular here in Charlotte. I have only competed in it once so I was excited to give it another go and compare my two races.

Swim (10:58)
I have mentioned this before but I have no sprint speed so I have really been trying to get after it when the gun goes off. This race was no exception. The gun went off and I took off kicking and screaming. With James to my immediate left and an unknown fella to my immediate right I had some work to do before I could break into some clean water. I only started dropping these two dudes when I prepared my approach into the first turn buoy. Since the turn was a hard right, I pre-sighted the line I wanted to take coming out of the turn and used 2 quick backstrokes to create a gap going into the straight away. Once I had the gap I tried to pick up the pace. Even though the end of the swim was right into the sun, I did not have any problems sighting.

T1 (1.46)
James came out of the water a lot closer to me than I expected. I thought I had a pretty strong swim but I know as the lead swimmer I am at a bit of a disadvantage since I have nothing to sight off but the buoys. Unfortunately I did not study T1’s layout very well and I ended up running my bike the long way out. James took advantage of my mistake and passed me going the shorter route. I just laughed. I should have known this was the beginning of the end.

Bike (5:36)
James was already ahead of me and the gap was growing. A minute or two later I got passed by the happiest man on the planet, Frank Fawcett. I made it past Davidson College but shortly after rounding the turn to take us out to the more distant parts of Davidson I heard the unmistakable pop of my front tire. 1.5 miles. Without a flat kit there was nothing much to do but turn around and walk back to the race. It was a little awkward as I cheered for oncoming racers with puzzled looks on their faces but it was fun. It took me forever to walk back to transition but I got there with about 5 minutes to spare before James came tearing around the corner.

Happy Ending
Flats happen. I am just glad I was close enough to transition to walk my bike back. A lot of people questioned why I was not carrying a flat kit. Normally, for an 18 mile bike stopping to change a flat is not worth it, if you are going for the wins at least. Unfortunately with only two races in the series I really needed this race to get the required 5 but things like this happen and I have to move on. I will be carrying a flat kit from here on out because there just aren't enough races left for me to be DNFing. The race itself turned out to be one of the more interesting races of the season. A non-open female ultimately won the women's race,  ICE teammate, Ross Handy, forgot his bike shoes, a couple of the lead guys accidently cut the course short, and an athlete I know well was hit by a car during the bike portion of the race. Once I found out Greg Shore had been hit my flat meant nothing to me. My one concern was for Greg and doing what I could to help. Despite being T-boned by a truck Greg suffered only a sprain to the ankle and a small tear in his calf muscle. Two days was able to compete in the ITU Aquathlon World Championships and will compete in the sprint today!  

James, Tim, and I immediately left Lake Norman to embark on a road trip to Louisville, KY to watch and cheer during Ironman Louisville. I have never been to this race but it seems to be very popular among the Charlotte triathlon crowd. It was a whirlwind trip but it was a great time. I really enjoyed watching the race unfold and seeing athletes, some known and some unknown to me, dig deeper than they every had to before. While watching the race I came to the conclusion that ironman races are indeed very special events. I felt like I had butterflies in my stomach the entire time I was there. I even caught the ironman bug for about 72 hours. Luckily, since then I have recovered my senses.

Keeping ourselves (and the athletes) entertained

Flat to First, Part 2  . . . .