May 31, 2011

Highland Biathlon 2011

Well the day started out good, I woke up early and felt good, grabbed my gear and headed to Highland for the Lions Club Biathlon. This was the first time since 2008, that I would be competing in this race.

My plan was to just go out and have fun, work hard, but not worry about my time. For the past year, I have been doing nothing but training for long endurance races. Every runner knows what that means, long slow runs, never working on speed. So I planned on using this as a test to see how far my speed had dropped. Since I planned on using this only as a training race, I lent my Zipp wheels to my friend John, he wanted to try them out and see if he was going to buy a set. I sold John my Felt B2 a couple years ago and the wheels that were on the bike came off my Pinarello FT2 that I was riding in this race, I had never even tried the wheels out before I sold them to him. Come to find out, I really loved the wheels. I told John I would buy them back if he decided to get rid of them.

I made it to Highland, setup my bike in transition, got my race number and chatted with all my teammates. Not only were there 26 Metro Tri Club members there, but I must have known at least 30 more people, from training and racing over the years, so I was really having a good time, chatting with everyone.

Doug and Shane, a couple Zilla’s, were going out for a warm up run and I went along with them, we did about a mile warm up then I headed to the bathroom for one last pit stop before the race. It was really getting hot and humid and I was completely soaked and the race had not even started.

The announcer called everyone to the starting line and we had a moment of silence for those who have lost there lives for our freedom, then the gun went off and the crowd took off for 5 miles of running fun. It was NOT running fun for me. I thought I was on a good pace, I came by the mile mark in 7:30 and hoped to keep it around that pace, but by the time I hit the 2.5 mile mark, I was about 2 minutes slower than I wanted to be. I struggled through the run, just before the 4 mile mark a little girl was holding a sprinkler and I ran right under it, I wanted to stop and just stand there, but I think there would have been a riot because everyone wanted a piece of that hose. When I turned down the last straight away, I saw Becky from the bike shop cheering me on and taking pictures and then I ran by Justin and Matt on there bikes doing some cheering. That helped get me through the finish of the run, but my time was the worst it had ever been for this race.

I kept telling myself that this was just a training race and to take it all in stride. I quickly got on my bike as Jeff Sharpe rode past, I thought maybe I could stay with him, but I lost him after a mile or so. It took me about 4 miles to get in a zone and really start moving, but once I did, I started passing people, a lot of people. My average mph was going up and I was holding it above 18, thinking I might be able to maybe pull out a 20 mph average by the end of the race. Just as I was hitting the corner with about 3.5 miles to go, I felt my tire wobble, when I got around the corner, I thought I might crash, but I got my bike stopped, flat tire. Ok, so I had a bag with a tube and tools on my bike before the race started, but I said, oh this is a short race, I’m not going to get a flat, so I took it off, to be more aero dynamic since the wind was so strong. When I flatted I almost starting laughing thinking about taking the bag off my bike.

So I talked to the corner marshal and said I could just walk in the back way, it was only about a mile or so, but he said, “don’t do that I will call a truck to pick you up”. We stood there and chatted and I was cheering all my friends on as they passed. I know they were saying the same thing I say when I see someone flatted out in a race, “that really sucks”. It did really suck, but I kept chanting in my head, “I was using this for a training race, no reason to be upset”. John the friend I traded wheels with came by and I yelled to him, cheap wheels, laughing because I sold them to him. Then the corner marshal did something to really brighten my day and make me feel like getting flat was not all that bad. Wait for it…. Here it comes, he said “I’m really sorry you got a flat you were doing really well” then he says “what age group are you in, the 25” I thought I must have heard him wrong, so I said, I didn’t hear you what did you say, and he said it again, “are you in the 25 age group”. I smiled really big and said, “no, I’m 47, but I’m starting to think that having a flat on this corner wasn’t so bad”. He said “wow you look really young”. I’m not sure, but I think I was falling in love with this guy, even though he probably needed glasses. After about 20 minutes a guy pulled up in a truck and gave me a ride to the finish line. He pulled my bike out and I thanked him and he was on his way to pick up other poor souls with flat tires.

I saw my friend Mike when I came in and he asked why when John saw me he didn’t stop and give me his wheel, I guess we are always friends except when racing. You know I will never be able to let John live this one down, in fact I’m sure he rigged that wheel to get a flat, so he could pass me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

All in all, it was a good day, I was happy to see so many friends, the sun was shinning and lots of people cheered me on throughout the race. Thanks Everyone! Oh and I went home and drowned my sorrows in a giant piece of apple pie, so all is well in the universe.

1 comment:

  1. I've read some things about road bikes starting to go tubeless like mtn bike tires. We might have to look into that more. Wonder if it would have prevented that flat?