Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atomic Men And Woman

9-23,24,25 18 miles each day
9-28 56 miles
9-30 18 miles
MTD milage 485
YTD milage 3729

Here we are the 2nd fastest Coed Relay team at this years Atomicman Half Ironman! This was my first competition since leaving college many years ago. It felt good to train and compete again. each one of us put in great efforts and were given great results. Let me break down the day for you;

We arrived bright and early, still dark outside and we had to check in. As I placed my bike in the transition area, I noticed some serious bike gear. It seemed as if every bike had 2k + Zipp wheel sets and deep dish rims of one make or another. Lots of Bling Bling. I even noticed some of those sperm looking bike helmets. I do not understand the use of those. What I decided, was this must be a serious race. Oh shit I am going to get crushed

I had spoke to Phil about his experience doing the hammer in the past and all he said was the bikers were fast and aerodynamic looking.

So now, I was starting to get a little performance anxiety.

The morning started out rather foggy, you could not see 5 feet. The swimmers all gathered on the beach and began to go through there individual routines. Phil and I stood and watched with amazement. Wondering how long it would take one of us to drown out in that water.

We then realized the competition for the relays and us were the only ones not heading for the water. We began to size up our competition. Trying to figure out who the other coed relays were.
After a while we went to the bike to get ready. Kathy, my cousin, came up from Texas to complete the swim. She was my ringer. You see, Kathy has been a swimmer her whole life. Through college and into her adult life. She spent time testing scuba equipment with the Navy Seals in Ca. then opened her own dive shop, Saba Reef Divers, on a remote island named Saba a short ferry from St martin. She was going to be fast, Phil and I could not judge how fast due to our own inability to float. Well, I can float

The issue is the swimmers went off in waves,

1st wave men under 40
3 mins later 2nd wave men over 40
3 mins later 3rd wave woman and relays

This gave the leaders a 6 min. head start. I figured I would have 75 or so bikers in front of me to use as bait for the 56 mile grind.

The first male exited the swim and was flying to his bike. It seemed like his transition was 30 sec or so, and he was off. One of those Zipp wheelsets with a full disc wheel. Wow he looked fast. I sat down and began to put on my shoes. I gave my legs a little stretch and Phil watched over the lake. the swimmers had about a 100 yard run after exiting the lake to get to the bikes. All by the way, it was all up a steep hill.

A couple more swimmers exited and I was caught up in watching them go through there transition. I had never seen anything like this before. There was an all male relay next to us, the biker looked very serious. (Sperm Helmet) and also had zipp wheels with a full disc. I watched him leave and suddenly Phil begins to get excited saying here she is. What, how could that be, I have only begun to watch these athletes exit. Kathy, has passed 141 swimmers and came out of the water 17 overall. She posted a time of 40:22. If not for the fog she would have been very close to 30 mins. Turns out the course was also longer than half.

I am pumped with excitement and nerves. I transfer the timing chip from her leg to mine and off I go. Thinking Oh shit this is going to hurt.

I head out and during the first six miles, all I could think about was the lack of bait I had to chase. I was riding with some very fast riders who were all business. I was expecting to start the ride with the average Joes and work my way up to the serious athletes. My mind just kept saying don't get passed!

The first 5 miles of the race is flat and I had to maintain 22-24 mph. Luckily, due to training on the course, I new the first lap would be without wind. I had to hold my own on the first flat section and hurt them on the next 2 miles of hills. I was passed early on the flat by a rider, but I was smart not to attempt any pace over 24 mph. I was feeling a little how could I put it, tight. Once again I had no warm up. This is just like a lunch ride I kept thinking to myself. I want to tell you about each rider who passed me and all the thoughts that I had. I just can't remember them.

We hit the hills and I hammered the first section. I remember thinking to myself, I am supposed to be dropping these triathletes like bad habits on these hills, and I was not. I was making ground on some and I passed a couple, but they were hanging like the new kids.

We crested the hills and headed out for the back half of the loop. I just kept the hammer down and we all rode rather consistent. I was happy to somehow keep up with these Sperm Heads and aero bars. By the way, they looked to be about 25-30 year old. Each time I passed one, I said, "I am just a relay and I will try not to get in your way see ya"

We hit the last straight section on Bear Creek rd. it is a 5 miles section of rollers. I continued to hammer and to my amazement, passed back a couple of riders who went by me earlier. I thought for sure they would come back by me once they ate or recovered. But to my amazement, that was the last time I would see them. All of a sudden I felt a breeze blow by me! I looked to my lrft and it was no other than VIRTUAL TONY! He had came to show his support of the slow rider.

I hit the hills to head back and kept the pace high. By this time, my average was over 22 mph for the ride. I Had hoped to complete the ride around 18.9 average. This would bring me in at the 3 hour mark.

The issue was, I saw my competition, the closest coed relay team early in this ride. The rider was wearing a bright red and yellow shirt.

By the way, I sported my WIN SUSAN PINK jersey in honor of Susan's fight against cancer.

Click on this link and enter this contest

Anyway, by my calculations he was not very far behind me. I had to keep up the pressure. I finished the first lap and saw Birdman, Big B, Kathy and Phil all there cheering me on. I made the turn and headed back out. This time feeling just a little more confident about the outcome. My legs felt good, I had only been passed by a couple of SH and I was way ahead of my planned pace.
I used the same strategy as the first lap, but to my amazement again, this time the tri boys legs could not climb with me. i began to pass a couple more. The back half of the ride was more of the same, I stayed with the riders for the first sections then as we turned back onto rt 95, with a big tail wind, I hammered all the way to Bear creek rd. I hurt the riders I was riding with. I just hope I did not hurt myself in the process. I turned onto bear creek and a rider passed me. This pissed me off. I new this section was long and full of rollers. This was the same route as the tour de cure earlier in the season. If I could hammer then with cramps all through my body, i told myself I could drop this Sperm head. He gave me a bad look as I went by, he should not have done that. It pissed me off, like I did not belong because I was a relay. Oh well that was the last time I saw him.

Out of the blue I was passed by a rider on a willier, He went by so fast I had to google the name for spelling. This bike was sleek and he was moving. I am betting he posted the fasted bike time. I never saw him again.

I now was approaching another rider who was looking strong, we turned onto the cry baby hills to return for the last time and he hammered the first hill. He stayed in his 53 tooth sprocket and looked strong. I really did not think I would make it around him. He had huge Calv's and was in good shape. I stayed, as close as I was allowed, and happy to follow. The second hill, I decided to attack. I made sure that as I went by, I went by fast. he sat up and hit the wall.

I never saw him again. He bonked, I did see him later running, looking like he hated life.

I finished the ride being passed by 3 but passing 8. This put us in 12th position after the bike portion. With a time of 2:49:11 good for 18 best bike time.

Here I am coming into the transition area. I almost fell on my a@# as I unclipped and ran toward Phil. Many thanks go out to virtual Tony who helped me maintain my balance. Phil grabbed the timing chip from around my ankle and he was off. 13.1 miles of running in front of him.

Phil, has been running for many years now. He also came from operations of Pilot. His path to fitness is similar to mine. We both left field ops looking like Pillsbury dough boys and now both of us are over 50lbs lighter and much better off.

Phil qualified and ran in the Boston this year. He posted a respectable time, I just can't remember the time.

I need to start by saying Phil, the night before in Walmart, dropped a 2 liter of pop on his little toe. I know I wasn't sure If I believed it either. the night before???

Later in the day I saw the toe, it looked bad. Real ugly, I mean nasty

Phil ran great he posted a 1:46:20 for 13.1 miles
Nice off road finish for Phil

When it was all said and done, I am a little torn. You see, we watched some amazing athletes run that race and we only did segments. I watched and as each competitor crossed the line, I was getting the urge to complete this race solo!

So today and now I formally announce my plans to race the 2009 Atomic Half Ironman solo!

I would like to say, If I sink in he water I reserve the right to do a relay again.

I also challenge all readers of this blog to join me and finish this race. Time for the 2009 race is not the challenge, finishing will be. If you don't step up well I will not get into name calling. I would like to see 5-6 of us out there next year cheering each other on to completion.

We can at least get 2-3 more relay teams built up.

Below is a picture of my cousin Kathy and me and It is strange to have an article that is about both items in the title of this blog. Love and Two Wheels is about the love and support of family and the love and passion of biking. Kathy is family and she came and supported me in this crazy idea.

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  1. Great job to Kathy, BOB, and Phil. Next year you fly solo and I will do the bike portion of the relay.
    -Big B

  2. It's a deal, by then you will be a mean 201

  3. You've got a nice blog. Great job on the relay. By the way, thanks for checking out my blog the other day.