I've only done one other 70.3, Oceanside, back in 2005. I was sure that the years of training since then would add up to a strong race.
Holly and I headed out early, did the pre-race registration thing and then dropped off the bike in transition. I rode the first part of the courde to get a feel for the climb out of the reservior. I forget just how huge WTC races are; 2000 people need lots of space...and lots of bathrooms.
After hearing the horror stories of how steep the bike course was, Holly and I decided to drive the course. I was glad we did, it's steep!
Thankfully, it's also breathtakingly beautiful. So much that we stopped a few times to snap pictures. I can think of worse places to hold a 70.3.
Sadly, I don't have any photos of me during the race other than proofs on the web. The swim is remote from T2 and Holly just wasn't able to get any photos of me. Basically, it went down like this:
Up at 3:30; too nervous to eat anything solid. Had an Ensure as soon as I got up,1/2 cup of nasty hotel coffee, took care of morning business and hit the road for the Start/Finish. Dropped off run gear and got on the bus.
I started way outside to avoid the bumping and sprinting typical of a tri start. Swam solid, a little fatigue, but stuck to my stroke and felt like I kept focus well. No thoughts of "I'm tired" or "is this over, yet?" just head down and doing work. Late start meant lots of knuckle heads to swim around and not much in the way of drafting opportunities.
33 mins by my watch, 34 mins official time. O-Side was 35 mins.
Smoked so many people in T1, it was comical. HR REALLY high coming out of the water, people hammering the climb out of the reservoir like a 40K. I stuck to my race plan and kept it mellow. Weather conditions were as good as one could hope for SW Utah in May. Started getting a side stitch close to the 40-mile mark. Took a plain water bottle from aid station 3, which jumped out on the speed bumps into Snow Canyon. Knew I'd need it so I stopped, rode back and picked it up. Easily a 3 minute eff up. Climb up Snow Canyon was gnarly and I had the WRONG cassette for sure. Wound up running 60-80 RPM's the whole way up and out of the saddle more than I would have liked. Hot and sweating buckets; definitely suffered through that section. The way back into town was a 30+ MPH smile fest. Awesome! Rocketed into T2 ready to do some damage, but side stitch had gotten worse and I was worried about running with it. Pounding usually makes it worse.
Pee break out of T2, grabbed my nutrition flask and hit it. Feeling the bike leg a bit, but stoked to throw down and see what I had. Only the side stitch got exponentially worse and worked it's way over to the left side too. I walked and jogged though the first 20 mins and then was down to just walking. Jamming my hand into my abdomen trying to work it out, sipping water. Nothing worked. Made it to aid station 3 and sat down in hopes it would work itself out, but no dice. Tried some coke, no help. Looked at my watch and saw I had been there for 45 minutes. The writing was on the wall at that point. The aid station captain had been checking on me every couple minutes and I finally worked up the courage to call it a day. Turning in that timing chip was really tough emotionally....
Fortunately, I had a break planned after the race. Sice it was only May, I had plenty of time to lick my wounds, re-focus and nail what remained of the Xterra season.
To be contuniued...