So, it’s been about three weeks since I finished my first 140.6 triathlon, and honestly, I think it’s taken that much time to soak it all in. Before I get too much further into the race report, I want to stop for a moment and thank everyone who supported me and TEAM FIGHT. Without your support, I could not have accomplished the biggest goal of it all… to raise over $1,500 for the Ulman Cancer Fund. We did it and the totals are still coming in as some folks mailed checks, but it looks like we’ll be close to $2k for this round!
As humans, we go through life setting and completing goals. Ever since I was young, I was intrigued by the sport of triathlon and especially the 140.6 Ironman distance. For me, completing my first triathlon at this distance will always stick with me for a variety of reasons, but mostly, because it was the culmination of years of preparation and it really could not have gone much better. Without further ado, here’s the race report.
As you’d expect - it’s a bit long, so I will be breaking it up into 3 parts (Travel & Pre-race, Morning & Swim, Bike & Run). Here’s part 1 hope you enjoy!
TRAVELING TO CEDAR POINT
946 miles is just over 6.5 times the distance of a Full Rev triathlon and yet, in a car it took us only a couple hours more than it did for me to finish 140.6 miles under my own power… imagine if we still relied oh human and horsepower for our transportation! Geez!
We had a great road trip up and broke it into two separate days of traveling so that we arrived the Friday before the race with enough time to drive the bike course, check in to the hotel, complete athlete check-in and cruise around the expo for a little bit before settling in for the evening.
Overall, the trip was pretty uneventful and we saw some sites (neat, interesting, awesome, and weird). Not limited to, but including the NFL Football Hall of Fame, a giant power generator that looked like some upside down train engine from the future (picture below for your viewing pleasure), coal mines in West Virginia, great wildlife and so much more.
PIC: Some sort of futuristic, upside-down, power generating device.
One thing I will say about the trip, is we were thankful to borrow this behemoth vehicle that easily fit everything a triathlete and support crew could ever want. We took all the necessities - microwave, toaster, multiple clothing bags, tri bag, bike, trainer, wheel sets, a cooler packed with goodies for the road and meals for the race, fruit - you name it, we had it. Could you say we were overly prepared, probably. Was it a little bit less stressful knowing that anything we wanted from the comforts of home (especially nutrition wise) was at our fingertips, definitely.
PIC: Everything a triathlete and support crew could want!
I was a little nervous from being in the Rover for so long and having my legs feel pretty stiff by day two. We were really ready to get to Hotel Breakers (the host hotel for the race), but I thought it would be good to drive the bike course on the way in - namely because “flat” is a relative term to describe bike courses. I was so glad that we took the time to drive the course Friday on the way in though. It was gorgeous! So different from the monotonous training routes that I did my longest rides on. Small rolling hills that you could ride through, shady parts, a couple little downhill sections with one longer portion, and loads of corn fields!
After a day and a half of being in the Rover, we were definitely ready to be out of it and happy to get to Cedar Point!
PIC: Hello Cedar Point!
After arriving and getting settled into our hotel room we went right over to the transition area for athlete check-in. It was great! The volunteers were so friendly and seemed genuinely excited to be part of the experience for the athletes, a theme that continued throughout the race. The first stop was to get my arm band (#92) then on to the next stop where I was weighed in (they do this as a precaution for medical reasons to get a starting weight), next up was the photo booth and then on to get my timing chip. It was such a cool touch to take a fun, personalized photo with me and my better half that went up on the big screen when I crossed the finish line!
Once we finished with athlete check-in, we cruised around the expo to check out all the goods and then headed back to the room to get some dinner and rest.
SATURDAY BEFORE THE RACE
Waking up Saturday morning the mood was positive, focused, and celebratory. After 5 months of challenging training, life’s ups and downs, the realization that I was 24 hours out from the start of my first 140.6 triathlon began to set in. As I got up to go through the motions, I began to think about the advice that a few seasoned-triathletes who have qualified for Kona multiple times told me… “Enjoy every moment of this experience. Appreciate the fact that you are healthy enough to complete an event of this distance. Have fun. Stay positive.” So, that’s just what I did.
The morning started with my normal pre-race breakfast and then I focused on getting through my pre-race workouts quickly so that I had some time to enjoy the afternoon and not feel too rushed at any point of the day.
Saturday Morning Swim: 700 yards, easy with 3-4 race pace efforts; focused on sighting, technique and comfort in the lake.
The lake was fairly calm, but very murky. The swim felt pretty good with two minor exceptions. The first was that when you got in the lake there was nearly 100 yards of this thick sludge (who knows what it was, but I’m still alive with no degenerating limbs - so it couldn’t have been too toxic). The second was the cooler water temperature. Us Floridians get cold when the temperature drops and I am no exception to this rule. Luckily, after about 5 minutes in the water I warmed up and the fear of having a cold water induced “ice-cream headache” on race morning subsided quickly thereafter.
PIC: Trudging through the sludge.
PIC: The scene on the beach Saturday morning was awesome.
Saturday Morning Bike: 11 miles (give or take) at about 18mph average. I had 3 goals for this ride. First, make sure that everything was okay on the bike (gears, etc.). Second, ride the start/finish of the bike course down the rough road along the coast of Lake Erie to get a feel for how it would be on the way out and back. Third, and most important, loosen up the legs a little bit with 3-4 race efforts for 90 seconds each.
The bike ride went great on all accounts! I learned that the road was rougher than I thought, but holding a bigger gear would be the best way to get through it. Additionally, it would be important to check my back bottles after getting through the section on the bike as I saw a couple people lose them just during this ride. It felt great to get the legs warmed up and I had to hold myself back a couple of times from going too hard… a great place to be!
Saturday Morning Brick Run: an easy 2 miles right off the bike at around a 11 min average pace with 3 pickups for 90 seconds at approx 8:30 pace with full recovery in between and a couple steady race efforts at 9:30-9:40 pace.
Throughout the run I felt focused, and happy. How could one not be when all things are firing in sync! Not much else to say about this one.
After the run I headed back to the room, showered, ate some lunch (orzo with lean turkey) and kept hydrating with Hammer HEED & Cytosport. Lunch done, it was off to the Athlete meeting and bike check.
The REV3 crew did a great job with the athlete meeting. They provided a full update regarding last minute bike course changes and answered all sorts of questions. The bike course had to be changed due to construction on part of the it, which was promised to be finished by race day - but wasn’t, the REV3 team had to make a few last minute adjustments. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big issue, but heading out of Sandusky, OH towards the country there are lots of things to deal with - namely railroad crossings. The local police, officials, and race director were able to find a route that was not impacted by any such obstacle.
PIC: Athlete meeting Saturday before the race.
PIC: Racking the trusty steed. Loved these racks - so much nicer than the normal “A-frame” style racks.
PIC: Nice touches from the REV3 folks - personalized name plates.
PIC: Bike racked, wrapped, and ready to spend the night! Note: I find that 3 Target bags work perfect to wrap the bike - two on the front bars and one tied on the seat.
PIC: View of transition area from my bike rack location.
After getting my bike racked, I walked through transition as a practice for race day - exiting the water, grabbing my bag off the peg board (I scored a great location right at the end of the first rack), through the transition tent, back to my bike and then through Bike Out. It’s always good to do a quick walk-through to help visualize the motions.
Once that was done it was back to the hotel room to settle in for the afternoon which consisted of double checking my special needs bags (then setting them aside so I didn’t keep checking them), keeping my nutrition and hydration plan on point, and relaxing.
Last solid meal was at 4:30pm and lights out by 8:30pm.
Next up - Race Morning & the Swim!
Thanks for reading!