Peterborough Half Iron Race Report
So I admit, I haven't been around this sport long enough to know what 'old school' is, but I'm certainly 'old enough' to theorize! No heart rate monitor, no power meter, 2 bottles for the bike, no patch kit, spare tire or CO2 -something I don't necessarily recommend - arrive, setup and get to the swim start with 6 minutes to spare - again, something I don't recommend! Instead, I used perceived effort (sometimes known as deceived effort), listened to breathing (I can pretty much tell what HR zone I'm in by how hard I'm breathing) and lastly.. the ol stomach trick (any hint of nausea means back off bucko).
did it work? Read on..
The Swim (2k)
Time: 29:46 AG placing: 2 OA placing: 12.
Actually the guy who placed ahead me only did 1 loop on the swim and DQ'd... so technically the places are bumped up by 1.
My swim was OK. The time includes a fairly long run to the TZ, but in my head I'm wondering why I'm not faster. In the pool, my 'swim all day' pace is 1:27-1:29/100m, so I'm barely just meeting that in a race. I'm seriously contemplating ditching my wetsuit and only using it for cold water swims - but that's a topic for another day.
It was fairly uneventful, there was a long line of about 7 swimmers and we all seemed to be content with following each others feet. Which was basically the way it went for 2 loops.
The Bike (90k)
Time: 2:22 A/G placing: 1 Overall: 7
After a reasonably quick transition, I was on the bike and wasn't exactly sure what position I was in. My strategy was simple: controlled chaos. The first 10 to 20k I wanted to take it easy, get the HR down from the swim, breath deeply and relax. I passed couple of young'uns and was passed by a pro and that was all the traffic I saw for a very. long. time. I never looked back, just buried my head, tried to be as aero and slippery as possible and pedalled away.
I enjoyed the course, it's not super hard, probably best described as rolling type course. A few hills, but I didn't even need to use the small chainring and the weather /wind was damn near perfect.
After the turn around, I was mildly surprised to see about half a dozen guys only a 2 or 3 minutes behind me. It's deceiving, I had no one in front of me the longest time, so it was a kick in the head to see the guys that were chasing me down and they weren't far behind! I counted the guys ahead and was riding in 5th place and was moving at a good clip. I got surprised in the last 8k when a guy passed me, he wasn't hammering, so I just stayed about 50 feet behind him, dialed the effort down a notch and cruised in T2.
In the end, it was zippy bike split and I blew away my own expectations. I was expecting to average to ~37kph and ended up at 38kph on the nose. Was quite happy to see that!
Time: 1:32 A/G placing: 4 Overall: 20
Ahhh the run. Now comes the point in every race where you start to pay the piper. Did I bike too hard? Are my legs pooched? I leave T2 and immediately start banging off 4min/k - whoa, too fast. I know I'm going to fast, but do I slow down? No, no I don't. I held 4min/k for the first 7k THEN started to pay. Not the smartest move. But I'm running scared. After each turn around I see guys that are breathing down my neck and some of them look STRONG. I'm scared I'm going to blow-up and they are just going to pass me and put me out of my misery. But I held on.
Aaron spots me yells out: "Go Walton, you're in 6th!" Despite being an unhappy camper, I chuckle to myself, he brought me out of the I-feel-sorry-myself-funk I was in and I tried to step it up a notch.
In the end I get passed by a pro and 2 fast young'uns - real runners. I have no chance in keeping up with them. But I can feel the guys in my AG breathing down my neck.. 'just hold it together'.. I say to myself.
4k to go... I think I saw Cliff at this point, but I wasn't in my happy place and couldn't give the props he was due.
3k to go..
they are gaining...
2k to go..
don't look back, just run..
1k to go..
man this going to feel so good to stop..
ok, look back..
what the hell? I'm safe? SWEET!
Cruise the last 500m.
Time: 4:26:27. A/G placing: 1. O/A: 8.
What the hell? Better than my wildest expectations. My A+ goal was to go sub 4:30, I thought realistically I'd come in the 4:32-33 range. So yea, I'm a happy guy. :)
Mike Woodford scored 2nd place and was a mere 1 minute behind me. Honestly, he just ran out of real estate, he was going to run me down, no question about it. His run was about 4 min faster than mine, but I had enough of a cushion from the swim and bike to hold him off. So, like I said, I was running scared.
Devashish Paul came 3rd in our age group a mere 2 minutes behind Mike! A tough, close race, with 30% of the top 10 overall being of the 40+ crowd! And I thought the 35-39 age group was competitive - these guys are animals!