The Patriot Half – Race Report

I have to say that the day ended a lot better than it started. My friend Mike stops at the house at 4:15 am to pick me up. We load up the car and I put my bike on the back. We are ready to roll. We start heading down 95 and Mike looks in the rear view and says “What is going on with the bikes?” I look bike and my bike is flying along behind the car!!! Mike slows down and pulls over. Bad news, race wheel tire is shredded.

The bike rack has rubber straps that hold the bike in place while driving. The problem is that when you have race wheels that have a large surface area the wind catches them and lifts the bike up. When the bike gets lifted up the rubber straps can then come undone as I have learned from personal experience and doing a little search on the net. Fortunately we had some bungy cords and were able to strap the bike back on and be on our way again without having to worry about the flying up.

We finally get down to the race venue at just about 6 am. First thing I have to do is change out my wheels. Luckily I had brought along my other wheels. My thought there was that someone was going to need them and I didn’t feel like changing tires and tubes so I was just going to give them the whole wheel. Turns out it was me that needed them!! It took all of about 10 minutes to get the other wheels on and adjust the brakes. One thing that I did forget about though was that the cassette that I had on these wheels is setup for a hilly course and not the flat course we were riding. There were a few times I missed those in between gears that my 11-25 cassette has, as opposed to the 11-28. So, the bike is finally all squared away and we are setup in transition. Hopefully that would be the end of the problems for the day.

The Swim

The swim is a counter clockwise swim that works out nice as the sun is never an issue. The water temperature was reported to be 68 degrees, not bad at all with the wetsuit on. There was a little bit of a wind blowing in at us though and that caused the first leg of the swim to be a litte tough with the choppy water. I quickly moved out in front of the other 93 people in my wave and caught up to the wave that went off before me. I think I even saw Julie and Janet during the swim. Jan, on other hand, was far too fast and I wouldn’t have seen her even if she started in my wave. The swim took me 32:24, my goal was 30 minutes flat.

SWIM NOTE: My friend Mike K. tied for 3rd overall in the swim and probably would have won it outright if he started in an early wave and didn’t have to swim through 8 waves of yahoos….

The Bike

The bike ride for me was pretty much the same as last year as far as time. According to my Garmin I was at 20.5 mph for both loops of the bike. The first loop I was 20.6 and the second 20.5, probably a little less since the average was 20.5. I had hoped to go at least 21 mph, but without the Zipp wheels I probably lost about .5 mph. I’m ok with the ride, it was a bit more windy than last year but I was able to ride just a little bit faster and certainly did not push nearly as hard as last year. My goal, which I know was a stretch was to bike the course in 2:33:25, and I did it in 2:44:47. So I was way off on that. Still a lot of work to do on the bike. While my overall biking fitness has improved a lot from last year I still need to get stronger on the bike. A lot stronger.

BIKE NOTE: Didn’t see it happen, but Coach Bri went down pretty hard on the bike with about 18 miles to go. This probably has something to do with Mike and his bike rack. I’m not sure of the connection but there must be one!! Coach Bri is a little sore, but doing ok and his bike is already ready for the next ride.

The Run

Part of not killing myself on the bike was wanting to be able to run this year. I increased my fitness enough on the bike over the last year that I was able to put in the same bike time but still had legs left to run this year. My goal for the race was 1:47:00 or 8:10 pace. This is the only goal that I managed to accomplish I did the run in 1:45:59 for an 8:05 pace. My total time was 5:07:53, a new personal record. I had hoped to break 5 hours, but I can see I still have some work to do to get there. I felt my nutrtion was pretty good and I didn’t have any cramping problems. Even though I didn’t cramp I still feel like I need to hydrate better.

The rest of the Sunday morning crew

The rest of training crew, with the exception of Coach Bri, had pretty good days as well.

Heidi M. doing her first ever half ironman distance event had what I thought was by far one of the most impressive times of the day at 5:14:22. Heidi pulled this off with barely any bike training and only a few open water swims. We expect her to quit her day job and turn pro soon!

Mike K. had a personal best of 5:24:46 and beat me in the bike leg. Now we know why my bike fell off the car!! All part of his master plan!

Jan D. also had a personal best of 5:35:11 and improved her time by half an hour. Improving both her bike and run times significantly.

Julie V. while about a minute slower overall at 5:40:17 improved her run this year by over 10 minutes. Now if we could just get her to swim a little more and stop hanging out in transition…..

Janet B. took first place in her age group while setting a personal record of 5:42:11 at the half ironman distance.

Brian B. needs to keep the rubber side down!!!!