Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Duathlon Worlds at the Penticton Multisport Festival - "Flopping at the Festival"

Standard Duathlon Age Group Worlds Race; 10k run 40k TT, 5k run.  Monday August 21st.

#triexcuse ?... or perhaps "" might be better titles for this post.  Ah-well...

It was a whirlwind trip fitting this race in while we are in the middle of selling our house/moving out and keeping up a heavy work schedule.  So training sort of went out the window over the month prior.  Luckily I did get in one week of quality training just before the race, so I was vaguely hopeful this 'cramming' might produce a good result.

Rolled into Penticton on Saturday evening before the Monday race.  Enough time to do a package pickup and give the course a quick look over.   It was smokey as all get out that first day, so was not the usual pretty view when rolling into town:

Crazy hazy, smells smokey

Idiot me part 1:
Last minute before leaving Vancouver I decided to switch tires and run a soft racing compound 25mm rear clincher tire, with a latex tube.  Might get me a couple of seconds, right?!  Back to this later...

Sunday morning we woke up to clear skies - hooray!  

modelling the latest in arm tattoos

I needed a short test ride, so did a quick 20k loop of the course and everything seemed fine, good to go!

Rode back into town and dropped off my bike in transition.  Had a good laugh at the hidden motor scanning station that is now part of the routine at bike check in.  I guess it's a thing now....!

Beware motor dopers- UCI provided IPads!

several million bucks parked in transition overnight

Race morning dawned clear and cool.

Blue carpets, heartbeat sounds on the loudspeaker, all those international kits everyone is wearing...  Worlds is a big serious event, with serious people, as usual.

Idiot me part 2: 
We arrived at at race venue at 6:57am - when transition officially closes at 7:00am.   

ITU officials all over the place enforcing every little rule, including this rather simple one.  So in a mad rush I put my shoes into the pedals and got a Velofix dude to slam some extra air into my rear tire.  With the latex tube, I assumed it probably had lost a fair bit of pressure overnight.

I didn't have adequate time to check anything.  One other thing to note: the entire transition area was in the shade and in fairly cool temps at this time.

I was booted out of transition - so with nothing else to do, I ran off towards the start line to warm up. I had about 33 minutes to kill.
In this 30 minute time frame, the sun arrived in earnest and it got quite hot and intense.

Usual worlds routine:  start in big paddocks with tons of others in your age group, slowly come up in turn to the start area ...and then countdown heartbeat music and the gun!

My first 10k run went well, with a 36:40.  Nothing spectacular, but I didn't want to burn myself up in this first stage of the race.  Felt quite hot so I didn't skimp on the water stations and took fluids every time we passed.

Wave starts so people of all speeds were spread everywhere on course

I ran into transition 1, which by now was baking in the sun.  It had been baking in the sun for probably about 45 minutes by this point?  I kicked off my runners and grabbed my speed machine and ... it wouldn't roll.

Whaaaa..??!!  Is it a shoe elastic caught up in something??  Lifting both sides I quickly determine it's my rear wheel  that won't turn.  What the hell?

I undo, and re-do, the skewer a few times.   No luck.  Still sticking.   Was my bike vandalized?  No... I was pretty much dead last in leaving transition!

Tonnes of people passing me now...  ARG!!  

In a panic I flip the bike over and it appears the brake (under the bottom bracket) is out of alignment.  I reef on it and get it straighter looking and the tire now seems to turn a little better.  So, I flip back over and charge off toward the mount line.  Lost a minute or 2 ... but the race doesn't seem a total loss at this point.

Hop on the bike and ride out of town... things still seem... wrong.  I'm getting passed by everyone!  I persevere and plan to ride to the first turn around at 10km before maybe checking things again?  But still I'm going too slow, and I'm more and more aware of a weird sound that isn't normal.

Also, I'm killing myself for 30kph, on this same road where I was averaging 40kph the day before?

After 6 or 7km of slowness, and getting passed by hundreds of people.. I mentally threw in towel on the race and pulled off the road and stopped.  😞😢😣

Stopped on side of road in the baking sun ... it finally hit me: could my tire size be the issue, rubbing inside the wheel well on the frame?

Pulled off valve covers off the disc, started letting air out of rear tire, maybe 20 psi?

Re-installed cover and tried again:
It still was not spinning well, but it was spinning better!!! 

Pulled off cover again and let out quite a bit more air:
Put cover back on and spun - a free moving wheel now!!!

So I jumped back on my bike and the rejoined race.
My power was poor but with free spinning wheels I started passing some of the people who had recently flown past me.

First bike lap was ~34 minutes (slow start, and I had stopped and got off) 

With the bike sorted out, my second lap was reduced to 29 minutes and change, yay!

Things were finally working ok by this point:

Unfortunately, I knew was wasn't going to make back any time on the fast guys at the front.  As a result, it was a fairly disconsolate final 5k run.  I ran hard, but with a rather grim mindset.
Also, tried to enjoy it a bit and encourage others who looked like they were in dark places.

At the finish I had a fun sprint with an American guy who was just in front of me, and think I pipped him at the line.  We hugged and laughed a bit; I always think it's funny but cool for guys to sprint for ... 29th place?   I assumed we were way way back in the minor placings.  

Our meaningless sprint was making me laugh, but it had to be done.  I should've unleashed a Shaunae Miller dive

The Epilogue of Highly Obvious Stuff:
- don't swap bike parts at the last minute
- thoroughly check it if you do 
- don't give yourself 3 minutes in transition to prep everything
- maxing air pressure in a 25mm soft racing tire stored on a cold morning, might not work well when it's burning hot sunshine 1.25 hrs later.  
- and lastly - don't swap out bike parts last minute.

Interestingly - when I picked up the bike after the race a few hours later (while it sat in the sun additional time), the rear tire had gotten bigger, again, and I had let more air out so I could move it, again.

Surprisingly, I ended up in 8th, about 3 minutes off the podium?  I don't know exactly how much time I lost with my silliness, but fear it might've been a first ever podium at a worlds event that this mistake cost me.  My fitness didn't really earn me anything but I sure would've taken it!  Dang, 4 tries at worlds, and counting!  The worlds monkey is still on my back.

Looking peaceful sitting in the sun, but the rear tire is growing like outrage over a trump tweet

post script. feeling zen about things.

 Next year..Maybe ???

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