I take a lot more time than I need to in setting up my transition area. And I seem to underestimate how long it takes to get my wetsuit on, and get a short warm-up swim in.
I put myself right in the middle of the pack at the swim start. Just a sprint, so I figured it’d be a good place to learn how to be in a solid mass of swimmers. It wasn’t nearly as nerve-racking as I expected. What was nerve racking, however, was that in all the excitement after my warm-up swim, I forgot to bring my goggles back down off my forehead. Considering this was only my second open-water race (and the first time racing in the ocean), let’s chalk that up to a “beginner” thing. Moving on…
During the first third of the swim, I had a few spots where I felt a bit panicked. Partially from having to goggle-up mid-stroke. Actually, that misstep probably set me back a lot, as there was water in my goggles, and that shot my stress level right up. So I took a few short breaks to tread water.
I did remember to push “start” on my watch, though.
I had a gel in my back pocket, which I ate heading into T1. My initial plan was to take some plain water (in a bottle that I had sitting in T1) before heading out onto the bike course, as I was only carrying liquid nutrition on the bike, given the duration and temperature. I forgot to take that sip of plain water. Not sure if that worked against me in the long run.
The bike went about as well as I wanted it to. I was in my smallest gear (34:25) only for a few short climbs, and spent a lot of time much further down the cassette. I kind of wished I had an 11-tooth cog on the back for this course, as there are some really nice long downhill sections where I was maxed out in the big ring at 50:12. I’m kind of thinking I might like to try out an 11-23 cassette. I won’t deny drafting: I definitely did as much as I could: but only 20 seconds at a time! Passed a bunch of people on the bike, and a bunch of people passed me.
Reasonably quick transition off the bike. I ran a few steps past my place on the rack, got in a gel for the run, and a quick sip of that plain water I had left there. Forgot to pull the elastics on my racing flats, and I ended up running the entire 5k with slightly loose shoes. They kind of worked well enough without being super-tight. It was unplanned, but I kind of like the fact that I don’t have to worry about lacing up.
My eternal 28-minute 5k. It’s about par for the course, for me. I really should work on improving my run off the bike. More bricks and speedwork is on my radar.
Final clock was 1:26:43, which is a sprint PR for me. Yay!
All in, I was happy with how things went today, and I have a few things to learn from for next time. Namely:
- 30 minutes lead time before wave start to get wetsuit on, and get in the warm-up swim, to reduce the stress and likelihood of forgetting something like goggles.
- If the race plan calls for a sip of plain water in T1, that bottle needs to go inside my upside-down helmet, or somewhere I won’t miss it.
- Transition towel needs to be sticking out a little further, and also not orange. The inside of a lot of wetsuits are orange, and that made it blend in. Also, I was shocked to find an Orbea parked in my spot when I got back from the bike course.