Sunday, June 26, 2005

Optimists R Us

Before I talk about yesterday's race, let me just say that I spent 2 hours the night before trying to get my Cateye bike monitor to work. 4 new batteries, re-reading the manual from page 1, re-setting the computer multiple times, adjusting sensor positions, cursing, etc. Did it work? Partially. A mile into the bike the speed sensor suddenly started working, but nothing else ever did. I'm resigned to having a cool-looking yet totally inert and useless plastic trinket permanently affixed to my bike.

Now back to happier things. For the definitive Mideast Sprint Championship Optimist Triathlon race report, read Wil's post at Throughthewall (see the Tri Blogroll for the link. Safari doesn't allow me to do in-column links.) Wil may have paid me the nicest compliment ever, when she told me I "didn't look 50!" That came as a huge relief, since I'm 49 for, oh, another 6 weeks or so! And, thanks to Mr. Wil for the awesome photos.

The quarter-mile out, around a barge and back swim was described as "weedy." Hmph. Try having weeds in your face, touching you, wrapping around your arms with each stroke and reaching out to pull you under. My hypothesis that "A KILLER SNAPPING TURTLE IS LURKING IN THE WEEDS RIGHT BELOW! proved to be a powerful incentive to KEEP SWIMMING! And the water, um, smelled funny...long before the pre-race, in-water group pee. Sorta like a paper mill...or something.

My swim time was painfully slow, but for once I managed to avoid an in-swim freakout panic attack. I just swam despite getting kicked, jostled, swam over, punched and pummeled. I practiced sighting every few strokes though it really wasn't necessary as long as you kept the rope dividing the "out" from the "back" a few feet off to your right. And, being wetsuit-less, I learned how much faster wearing a wetsuit makes you. Don't care; I still hate the damn thing.

Oh, and thanks to all the fisherpersons who just HAD to throw up some big wakes. We wouldn't want them delayed in catching yet another 4-inch bluegill, and the wakes added realism to my open-water swim practice.

The 13.5 mile bike, also an out-and-back format, was smooth and relatively uneventful. Coming back into town, the course wound through a lakeside neighborhood with multiple, slow 90-degree turns playing havoc with average speeds. Unlike Wil, I didn't see any funky tri-uniforms, just a shirtless 50 year-old absolutely SMOKING me at about mile 10. I hate those old guys.

And I feel Wil's pain about not having speed laces on my running shoes. I didn't either (my new Asics RULE, by the way) and after having to sit on my ass to tie the laces, I almost left T2 wearing my helmet. A funny look from the guy next to me prevented a fashion catastrophe. The run was hot, hot, hot. One nice-sized hill kept things interesting. Of course there was the obligatory, within-sight-of-the-finish-line surprise loop just to add torture on top of misery. I will say, though, that the long boulevard leading to the finish line was one of the prettiest finishing stretches of any race I've done, with the actual finish line a truly welcome sight.

Overall, a good race: nice venue, well-organized, well-staffed and generally a lot of fun. With IMMOO 2006 in my race future, I'm not sure how many of these local, sprint-distance races I'll be doing next year. It would be nice to pay a return visit to Winona Lake. Though that swim....blech.


tarheeltri said...

Whoa... swimming in weeds! Yuck. I always make the swim my number one priority in choosing any race, but down here in Carolina, we have about one a weekend, so there's a lot to choose from. Great race and nice reporting.

mipper said...

excellent report, great times and i love the observations fron above. the pics of you and Wil are great too. btw, i would've surely drowned in the weeds. you're my hero VM! :D