Triathlons are an odd thing. I’ve always held them at a distance because of the type of people who do them and my desire to not be associated with it. But I am getting over it. This was super fun. One of the funnest days I have ever had. I’m a bit rushed right now cause I am leaving on a camping trip down the coast back to LA, but here’s the story. Hope to get photos up soon. Enjoy.
Stupid wetsuit wouldn’t zipper. I am swimming up to the start as the gun goes off, about two minutes ahead of where I was at Auburn, but still late. D’oh.
I chill. Long strokes, easy pace, stay in a group. I am looking around, enjoying the beauty. Making note of points on the out-and-back so I know where I am when I return.
At the turn around I can’t believe how fast I am and how good I feel. ‘This is going way better than any other swim.’ I am approaching the swim exit and strangely I don’t see anyone exiting. Is it around a corner? Who are those people swimming up the other way again? Oh, it’s two laps. I’m not that fast. I’m only half-way. I should wear a watch. About 35 minutes later I am really getting out of the water.
What do you think of when someone says ‘wetsuit stripper’? It’s not what you kind of wish it would be it’s having a team of people pull off your wetsuit. It is awesome. I was a bit overtaken by how quickly I went from being fully covered to wearing only some tiny, dripping, bike shorts.
Nine minutes later I was riding away.
So I put aerobars on. Rode about 30 miles with them the week leading up the race. They are sweet. You tuck down, slide up in your seat and then pedaling as hard as you can comes natural. This course has about 4000ft elevation gain in 112 miles and a lot of it is rolling hills. Which are tricky. When you are averaging 21 or 22 MPH you don’t want to slow down. When climbing a mountain you have no choice. When’s it only 100 feet or so you just stand up and mash in your big ring in order to not lose momentum. Or at least that is what I do. Passed a lot of people. Said ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ each time. Less than one in four respond. I look at all the graperies that turn fruit into alcohol. Every 25 miles someone hands me a nice cold sports drink. It gets hot. Some friends from Organic Athlete wrote our names at the top of the biggest climb. And also wrote ‘Go Vegan’ which confused me in my apoxic state.
Since I don’t run train very well or really do bricks besides riding to my runs (see my experience at Norseman) I was a wee bit nervous entering T2. But I switched shoes, ate a banana, put on my hat and attempted to keep up my mental momentum from the bike.
Determination. How do I control that? I was so determined to keep my run strong and stay on pace (as much as you can with no watch and the only clock being at the finish) that I was shocked. I walked the aid stations and the big hills and then just kept on it. The course is 3 out-and-backs and which sounded like it would be tedious, but it was really good. I could mentally break it down. Every time you came through the finish area to start a new lap the crowd lining the route cheered you on. It was really great. I wish they could be there every day. ‘Yeah Matt, you are only 10 minutes late to work, good job!’, ‘Way to get that paper work filled out!’.
I did have a real emotional low on the start of the second lap. Don’t know where it came from, but I could barely talk. When I saw Brian (he DNF’d on the run with a knee injury) I was totally spaced. Asked him to talk to me ‘about anything’. I had some lows like this at Paris-Brest-Paris, but this was the worst one I’ve ever had.
I started the third lap at 10hr 30min race time. If I could hold on to 10-min miles I could do sub-12. Alas I could not! The hills got me. And I only ate an orange on the last lap to focus on my hydration as the weather cooled and some more shade covered the course.
Legs feel strange. Have to keep walking. Then stretch. Then lay on my back and put my legs up: amazing feeling. Overwhelmingly joyous as normal blood flow returns to them. Hang out. Eat a veggie burger and a ridiculous amount of fruit.
From here we went to the Organic Athlete house in Sebastopol and ate a gigantic salad and some banana ice cream. I laid on the kitchen floor a bunch of the time and we all told stories about ridiculous things we like to do.
Thanks: Brian, Jenny for being awesome support, Bradley and Justin from OA, my distant family up here that treats me like close family, vineman for having tons of vegan food, recycling and even composting, Michel Martinez for getting me stoked on doing this.