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Full Vineman AquaBike - Aquabike

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman Inc
80F / 27C
Total Time = 9h 10m 23s
Overall Rank = 59/96
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

C and rode together to race start after parking my car near race finish. It's a point to point and I wanted to be near my car at the end. Chatted with some VB's and some guys in the porta potty line. Got set up and to the bathroom and into my wetsuit. Didn't feel rushed and didn't feel like there was tons of time to think either. A good fit. Ate oatmeal and hot tea. Up at 3:45, showered off quickly, dressed and started packing the cars.
Event warmup:

Stretched a bit, ate my PBJ english muffin (or part of it) since breakfast was at 4 a.m. and it was now 6:40. It's always a warm up just getting the darn wetsuit on. Remembered to lube up with lots of body glide and took care of the nether regions with chamois butter and then aquaphor. Chafing down there really hurts I found out the hard way last year.
  • 1h 30m 52s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 21s / 100 meters

Started in the way back. Since this was all the aquabike people, it was mixed with women and men. I've been run over by a guy fun, so I didn't want that to create or contribute to my stress level. I was pretty much one of the last ones to cross the flag line. Got my breathing immediately and just started out with a nice glide and steady stroke. I knew 2.4 miles would be a new distance for me and I was unsure of the unknown. The giant pine trees and other wooded area was great to see as I came up for a breath. There were houses on the side and some people were down sitting on their decks just watching the parade of swimmers. I began to get more and more comfortable and could see red caps coming into the distance. Did not get passed by anyone in my wave, but I WAS toward the back and began to start passing others around the 1/4 mile point. I saw the guys/girls in kayaks that were supporting us and some looked interested in the swimmers, some just looked tired and bored. All this from the second I would raise my head to sight or breath. I was able to get into a 3 to 4 breath pattern and took turns breathing on each side. Kept practicing my catch and pull so that it coordinated with the body rolling to the opposite side. Figured 2.4 miles is as good a time as any.
When I got to the first rounding of the buoys, it became a bit congested and to my surprise I'd caught up with some of the people from earlier waves. Got around and onto the second 1/2 mile and was glad to have the wee bit of current helping.
The river gets very shallow at points and some people just stood up and walked. If I stretched my arm out too far down I would scrape the bottom and I could hear other swimmers doing that. It was a good reminder to push the water underme, not push toward the bottom of the river. I continued swimming and didn't want to walk. At about 3/4 of a mile, a guy in a white cap came up from behind me and his hand hit my goggles, knocked them off and they filled about 1/3 of the way with water. I just pushed them back on to seal and kept swimming. The water was a bit irritating and I debated in my mind whether to stop or not to fix them. I eventually did, but really just pulled my left arm up to empty and then snap them back on.

I could see the swim exit, but knew I had another lap. I heard the crowd cheering, for I knew that these were the first finishers of the swim for full Vineman participants. I wondered if anyone even looked at the rest of us smucks still swimming and approaching our second lap.

When I rounded the start point for my second lap, i thought, wow, I just swam 1.2 miles and I'm feeling pretty damn good other than the water collected in my left goggle. So, I quickly fixed it and didn't lose stroke. This is probably the most consistent swim I've ever had. At one point, I think I entered a meditative state (can you say ommmmm???) and my mind was just blank. It was just me and the trees, and the river and the hundreds of others out there. It was a very surreal and peaceful feeling. I knew I'd be fine and although I wasn't swimming at a very fast pace, I was consistent.

I continued to catch up with other swimmers from two previous waves and only had 3 or 4 of the first starters pass me up. When I could see the swim exit, I started to pick up my pace, because I knew I could. I started kicking harder and turning my arms over faster. It felt good. No, it really felt great to know I'd swam that far and didn't once lose my stroke or have to stop or have any anxiety issues. Running up the carpet to transition, I didn't even look at the crowd because I knew I wouldn't know anyone there. DH stay ed at home on this one and all my other friends there were racing as well. Wetsuit shuckers were helpful and got my suit off quickly.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe swim a bit stronger throughout since I know I can cover this distance.
Transition 1
  • 08m 36s

I took my time in T1. changed out of tri shorts into bike shorts. Figured it was worth taking the extra minutes for a more comfortable ride on the bike. I towel changed and had never done that before. Loaned my big towel to another woman who was doing the same thing. The changing tent was way the hell down at the other end and didn't want to go back there.

Got on my shorts, shirt, shoes and headed out. Made sure I rode up the first little incline out of transition. Most were walking their bikes up. Huh? What's up with that?
What would you do differently?:

Maybe hurried a bit more, but it's okay.
  • 7h 30m 55s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.90 mile/hr

Longest bike ride of my life in many ways, but literally, never had gone this far. Saw lots of lost gels, gus, one gear bag, water bottles, etc. on the road due to all the bumps. You'd be riding along fine and then, whoa! bump. Some of the rough areas were marked with chalk, which helped, but not all of them. The course starts at a river, so lots of lush vegetation and trees, then winds its way upward, slowly via twisting and some very moderate inclines and some moderate hills to wine country. Rows upon rows of vineyards. My favorite is Yellow Dog, that has a drawing of a yellow lab.

The first lap was good. I got passed some and I passed some people. Breezed by the first aid station but stopped at the #3 one for potty and water refill. Shortly after filling my water bottle, I hit a bump and lost my VB water bottle. Considered going back but knew that might be risky with people behind me and there were aid stations and I had two others on my bike.

Early on, around mile 30, I thought I should have just signed up for the full Vineman. I've already come up here, already done this much of it, hell I should have sucked it up and run. I also knew I may feel differently in another 50 or 60 miles.

Loved the sign before the biggest incline,Chalk Hill, that said May the Course be With You. Also loved the guy in the green wig waving a cowbell and cheering. He wasn't there on the second loop though. Great support by Highway patrol and volunteers, too. The Highway patrol guys were very supportive and clapped for us sometimes. Usually all they say is "License and registration."

Talked with some people on the end of the first lap who were finishing and then rounded the school to start my second loop. I was feeling pretty good at 56 miles. I was glad for the aid station at mile 60 or so. Only one porta though. It's amazing how much of a respite you can get from just stopping and talking to some one and getting a drink and cliff and banana. Those vols and rest stops are the best. I realized I wasn't racing here, I just wanted to finish and ride as strongly as I was able.

Without my tunes or podcasts, I needed something to occupy my mind, so I made up a song to Brother John. Can't exactly remember the words now, but something like, I can do this, I can do this, yes I am, yes I am. Watch me go up this hill, watch me go up this hill. I am strong. I am strong. :)
Then sang Sweet Home Alabama in my head (have no idea where this came from) and Black Eyed Peas Boom, boom pow. Whatever it takes, is what I say.

No major physical issues until around mile 75. My watch died and my left shoulderblade was starting to act up. This had plagued me on my long training rides. Then, the bottom of my right foot felt like it was on fire. I tried to lift up to peddle more and that seemed to help. My back was tight but not in terrible pain. My right pinkie was starting to feel a bit numb but it was hard to tell with all the jarring from the bumps. I kept alternating from aero to just handlbars to change my position and give my neck a break. Also, came out of the saddle every so often just to release the pressure on my low back. At times the tops of my knees would hurt, too. All part of it. I realized I forgotten to take any aspirin in the morning as I had planned though. I had to rely on the vols or other racers to tell me what mile we were on after the watch pooped out so around 80 I realized I would soon be in unchartered territory since my longest ride was 82 miles. We were on a long stretch in the sun and I continued to stay in my big chain ring much of the time. I found myself going down to the small one more in the 2nd half though. Over the course of the day I ate 4 bananas (at least) and 1/2 PBJ and several mini cliff bars, plus my personal bar stash and a cliff blok and two thermolyetes. I was SOOOO hungry, after about 45 minutes into the bike. It's like I couldn't eat enough. But I didn't want to feel full.

Around mile 85 I knew a couple of climbs were on the horizon and that this was the hard part. I knew it would start to be uncomfortable and a bit challenging and here I was. I'd arrived at this place. I wanted it to be OVER. I knew I wouldn't quit and that I'd soon be thinking about this ride in retrospect, but I was very ready to be off my bike. The last loop had us going up chalk hill at around mile 90ish, so the legs were tired, but I was able to just gear down and spin. After that I got another wind and really started moving faster again. Don't know how fast, but when I had my watch on I was consistently at 17-20 on the flats and then slowed up the hills. I passed a few people coming in on the last few miles. Those downhills are really the best, with the dapple and curves and then slight incline you can just get right up from going downhill.

One funny from a young woman, who I passed and said "on your left." She smiled and said, "Oh, yeah, sure, just leave me here, go on." Very cute. So when I passed her on the second loop, I remembered her and asked if she was my drama major. She laughed replied yes. Not sure how I passed her twice, unless she went by me when I was at an aid station.

Funny thing, when trying to strike up conversations with people seems like most of the men are way more friendly than the women. I did talk to a couple of women, but more men. One guy from Long Beach, one from SF, one from Sacramento. Some I could tell were hurting way more than me. By the time I was almost at the finish, we passed an Ostrich farm that also had horses or goats. There were little young ostriches or maybe they were another kind of bird. Also a big flock of geese. I guess being raised as meat? Or perhaps for eggs? Probably meat. When I got near the finish, I just had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I could finish this distance. I knew I hadn't done it in record time by anyone else's stsndards, but I was able to finish this and fairly strongly. My number had blown off my helmet so I re-posed with my bike sideways so the photographer could get me and my bike with number on it.
What would you do differently?:

? Maybe train more than one long 6 hour ride. Realize this is a big deal and 112 miles is a long effing way. I think it is still an accomplishment for me and I'm not diminishing it in any way.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked toward my car to take my bike there, call my DH and get those shoes off!! Saw another VB who told me she'd won her AG and another friend had placed 3rd in hers in the 1/2 AB. I was happy for them, truly, but I wanted to enjoy my accomplishment of just doing this darn thing. So it took the wind out of my sails somewhat.

Got my call made and then some fruit and veggie patty and a couple water bottles and talked to some really nice gals from TX.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Limited training and not being the biggest fan of the bike.

Event comments:

Excellent volunteers!!! Line was a bit long at registration at the start but died down. Good aid stations, wished more would have had PBJ or some other thing than bananas. They got old after a while. Good water and even drank some G2, that was always cold. Again, great venue, good organization, nice community support and GREAT volunteers.

When I got back to my room, this 2x3 foot poster was on my freshly made bed, courtesy of my thoughtful DH who didn't make this trip.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-06-09 12:00 AM
01:30:52 | 3862 meters | 02m 21s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/96
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix
Course: Two rectangular loops down river and back in counterclockwise direction.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 08:36
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:30:55 | 112 miles | 14.90 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/96
Course: Two loops, rolling hills, bumpy roads at times and lots of false flats. Through wine country and endless (seemingly) vineyards. Lots of horses, goats, sheep, cows, donkey, ostrichs in various farms along the course. Some roadkill as well, unfortuantely, raccoon and possum.
Road:   Cadence: 74
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2010-08-02 8:21 PM

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Vista, CA
Subject: Full Vineman AquaBike

2010-08-02 9:00 PM
in reply to: #3019752

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Extreme Veteran
Wesley Chapel, Florida
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Sounds like a tough course, Lynn!  Great job.
2010-08-02 10:13 PM
in reply to: #3019752

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Too Long?  Are you kidding, I wanted more!!!  I really get what you were describing on the swim...when you're swimming along, and observing, you get bits and pieces, like a movie, but you're only catching a frame now and then.  I know it is not in vogue, but sometimes I think we triathletes don't do enough long continuous swims...they are so different from sets, and such huge confidence boosters.  

Loved the bike description.  yeah, I rule the world at 30 miles, and hate it at 80.  Hah.  SO true.  And the course sounded tough.  I don't love the idea of all the bumps, yuk!

Congrats congrats congrats!  Thank you for sharing! 
2010-08-03 7:45 AM
in reply to: #3019752

Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike

Atta girl Lynn! Dang that course sounds beautiful. Sounds like you rocked the swim; if you were breathing every 3-4 and then hopped on the bike rather than walk it, it was well paced. Love that meditative state from swimming, it is a piece of heaven.

As always a thoughtfully written rr with interesting reflections on the whole experience.

Pretty studly distance to cover. You should be proud.


PS I am not a fan of the bike either. Meh. 

2010-08-03 9:01 AM
in reply to: #3020274

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Awesome job out there and great RR.  I really enjoyed reading felt like I was almost there with you.  But if I was I am sure I would have been way, way behind you haha.
I like the idea of being in a meditative state on a long swim.  I hope to get there someday. 
Again, congratulations!
2010-08-03 2:25 PM
in reply to: #3019752

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Northridge, California
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike

Great report, Lynn...thanks for sharing and congrats on the finish (and on taking your longest ride distance to a whole new level in one fell swoop). 

2010-08-03 7:47 PM
in reply to: #3019752

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Liverpool, New York
Gold member
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Awesome race Lynn!  As always you inspire!

it is funny about the men being more friendly isn't it?  i've noticed that as well

great job!!

2010-08-04 9:01 AM
in reply to: #3019752

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Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Awesome race report!!!!  Like Quincy, I wanted more as well

You should be incredibly proud of yourself, you accomplished something absolutely amazing!

Congrats!!!  You kick hiney!
2010-08-05 11:11 AM
in reply to: #3019752

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike

Beautiful swim. It is really lovely out there, isn't it?

I make up songs in my head too

That is not an easy bike course and you were amazing. What an accomplishment. Way to push the limits.
2010-08-06 9:01 PM
in reply to: #3019752

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Extreme Veteran
Eastern Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Full Vineman AquaBike
Congrats Lynn, great job!  You're my hero!
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