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Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike - Aquabike

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New Roads, Louisiana
United States
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = 3/8
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/1
Pre-race routine:

First Olympic distance Tri in Louisiana. Parts of this course were used for other races and I had an idea of what I was in for. I was expecting a few mistakes by the race group as they were trying some new stuff (like Aqua bike).
Goals: I was looking at this as a warm up for B2B. I wanted to see how my OW swimming was progressing and how I would feel after 1500m.
Day before: Cut back on caffeine, lots of bananas, OJ, etc. Only one beer the night before (bummer). Practice my transition with wearing the wetsuit in the pool, climbing out, switching to bike mode.
Morning of: Got up at 4:40am, fed animals, got the kids up at 5am and fed and off by 5:30. Unfortunately the on-ramp to the freeway was closed and had to do some traveling to get back on track. Arrived at the race by 6:35. Should have left later, as I had plenty of time and could have used a few more minutes of sleep.

Event warmup:

Got my bike checked in and my timing chip, bike checked and then off to my rack. Let’s see I am number 357, assigned racks so: 200-225, 225-250, nothing? WTH? No rack space for the Aqua bikers? A bunch of us parked our bikes against the wall next to the bike out. Eventually they converted one of the racks for use by the aqua bike folks but the rack was too low! Couldn’t get my bike under it to hang it so I went back to my spot on the wall right next to the bike exit. Got my race number for the bike and then set up my transition area. Marty (MJLRun from Runners World Tri Forum) came over and introduced himself. Really great to meet him in person as we have missed each other on a couple of previous races. Put on my wetsuit and headed out for a quick swim. Got about 20 meters out when they called everyone back. Water felt good (perfect temp 75 degrees), wetsuit felt good and decided to use my shaded goggles. That would later turn out to be a bit of a mistake.
  • 34m 14s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 17s / 100 meters

The Aqua bike and relay went with the first wave of women which 29 and under. As our group headed down the ramp I noticed a fog bank coming but didn’t think anything of it. The swim is 600 meters out, 300 meters across, and 600 meters back. No problem, right?
3,2,1 and we are off. Okay, the women’s 20-29 group was freaking nuts! I haven’t had that much contact with a 20 something woman in a long, long time. At one time I might have enjoyed it and I am pretty certain that in some countries I would be married to a couple of those ladies. They were everywhere, going every which direction. At one point I am reaching out for a stroke and a woman swims sidewise into my arm and my arm catches her by the neck and dunks her. I look and I am heading straight for the buoy so it wasn’t my fault but say sorry and take off. I really gunned it at this point to get some clear water. Around the first buoy and try to site on the next one. I barely see it as there is fog rolling it. Next time I try to site on it I can’t see it due to fog so I just sight on the other swimmers. Finally pass buoy #2 and just stay with the group. Finally see buoy #3 and overall my swimming is fairly straight. Hit buoy #3 and make the left turn, can’t see the next buoy and just follow group but you can see that we are swimming towards the sun. At this point the group is thinning out as the faster swimmers get away and the slower swimmers fall behind. Finally come to the turn buoy and a safety boat. Make the turn and this is where the wheels start falling off the train. The people on the boat point the direction we are supposed to go but we can’t see anything and just start swimming. After a few minutes I pull up and the group is spread out everywhere. Several others pull up and I ask the guy next to me “Do you know the way back?”, “Nope”, “anyone know the way?”, “Nope”. Weird feeling to be in the middle of a lake and no clue where shore is. I look up and kind of see where the Sun is and figure swim perpendicular to the Sun and we should hit shore, right? Off I go, I swim for awhile and pull up. Still can’t see anything but I hear women cheering, yelling. I figure that it’s either the swim finish or a Sorority party. At this point, either will do. Keep swimming and finally and see outlines of buildings, I am almost there. Finally see the swim finish and gun it. Finish feeling good, not out of breath, arms not tired. Probably should have pushed harder.
Finished 34:11 or 2:17/100meters (4th out of 8) – Good enough for me, was hoping for 2:11 but I am happy with this. It was a great feeling to come out of the water feeling like you could do it again. Definitely should have pushed harder.

What would you do differently?:

Bring a compass? Swim felt good, bi-lateral breathing worked somewhat but I found I swam off course every time I tried to bi-lat breath and gave up on it. Need to work on that.
Transition 1
  • 01m 13s

as they were helping everyone out of the water (the ramp was very slippery) one guy was reaching over and unzipping folks which helped. Wetsuit down to my hips, swim cap and goggles in arm sleeve. Get to bike, wetsuit off, helmet, sunglasses on. Head out, flying mount (no socks this ride) and up the hill.
What would you do differently?:

Run faster out of the water
  • 1h 19m 35s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 18.74 mile/hr

Had trouble getting my feet in my shoes, not sure why but got them in and I gunned it. The plan was to burn my legs since I wasn’t running. At first roads were decent. About mile 4 I see Marty, didn’t realize it at first but assumed it was him yelling at me ;>). A couple of miles later I am thinking I will need to pull up a little and take a gel. About that time I see a bunch of bikers stopped at the railroad tracks with a passing train. Oh you have to be kidding me! Sure enough, had to stop while train went by. Took my gel and watched as all those I had passed caught up to me. Nice. Of course those that were waiting longer probably thought the same thing. Oh well, no biggie.
Once train was past the road we all waited for the RR arms to go up, except one lady who was trying to get a jump on us and ended up riding right into one of the arms and tumbling over sideways. She was okay, probably more embarrassed then anything. I take off and fight thru traffic and find an open area and gun it. At this point I am thinking that the roads here were pretty good for Louisiana, I was a bit premature. Eventually come to a turn and the volunteers are yelling “out to the end and back, rough roads!” They weren’t kidding; I was beat to death and fully expected a flat tire or a broken something. Need to learn how to ride these rough roads.
As I was finally nearing the end of the out and back I decide to take another gel but found I had none. The only thing I had were this Honey Stingers package that I had picked up at Sports Authority and stuffed in my bento box thinking I would try them on a training ride. At this point I figured WTH, never had them before but no other choice. Not bad, worked well. Gun it and follow a couple of riders until we hit a line of cars. We zig-zag thru them until near the end when they waved us over to ride in the oncoming traffic lane which they blocked. Down the hill, flying dismount and I was done. Legs didn’t feel fried so I should have gone harder but the roads prevented that somewhat.
Bike Result: Garmin says 1:17:15, 24.52 miles, and averaging 19.0 mph. I started the Garmin late and auto pause was on so it didn’t factor in my train stop. Actual results show 1:19:35, 18.7 mph. 3rd out of 8 in division.
What would you do differently?:

Pack better to have plenty of gels. Get a bike that handles rough roads better or put shock absorbers on my QR. Work on the engine (probably the most important item on the list).
Post race
Warm down:

Packed up and grabbed some food

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Fog, Train, road, and just not pushing hard enough.

Event comments:

despite the mishaps this was a fun race and will do it again next year. Hopefully I will do the full. I am happy with my times and definitely see some improvements. Will need to ramp up the swim and bike for next year and get my running legs going.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-07-09 12:00 AM
00:34:14 | 1500 meters | 02m 17s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/1
Overall: 4/8
Performance: Good
Course: The swim is 600 meters out, 300 meters across, and 600 meters back.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:13
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
01:19:35 | 24.85 miles | 18.74 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/1
Overall: 3/8
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-10-25 7:49 PM

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Baton Rouge area
Subject: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike

2010-10-27 7:09 AM
in reply to: #3171696

Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
I LMAO at your description of the swim start! A lot of folk would have freaked swimming in fog like that. Nicely done Gary!
2010-10-27 7:19 AM
in reply to: #3171696

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Gurnee, IL
Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
Good work and great report Gary!
2010-10-27 7:51 AM
in reply to: #3171696

Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
Enjoyed reading the report.  Fog and and a train stop all in one race!  Good job giving  a hard effort regardless of the obstacles.

2010-10-28 11:43 AM
in reply to: #3171696

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Central Ohio
Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
Great report Gary!  Can't believe you had to swim in fog and then got caught by a train.  B2B here you come!
2010-11-05 11:27 AM
in reply to: #3171696

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Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
Gary thats funny about the train. Good job though.

I once missed an overall win due to a tractor getting on course and blocking the road. The leader on the bike just biked away from me while I sat coasting at around 5mph and everyone I worked to pass caught me.

2010-11-05 1:18 PM
in reply to: #3171696

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Baton Rouge area
Subject: RE: Big Cajun/NRG Aquabike
Thanks everyone,  I did like the race (except for the 6 miles of horrid roads).  Will do it again next year!
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