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ITU Long Course World Championship - Triathlon

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Pontevedria, Extremadura
48F / 9C
Total Time = 8h 53m 21s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = M55-59
Age Group Rank = 42/54
Pre-race routine:

This was an epic experience race as part of Team USA! We arrived early for the parade of nations a week earlier as it is a multi-sport event with racing all week and hundreds of Team USA athletes. After a long pair of flights from JFK to Madrid, then to Vigo, we were shuttled to our hotel very quickly and were able to check in, change and walk to the parade. We took in the city, took pictures then slept soundly. I tried a run and to find the transition area, but got lost. Left calf hurt so I ended that and decided to let it rest all week. I walked the expected S>B transition and found out it was 0.2 miles. Water temp was 14.2 C=58 degrees. Next day was Team social at breakfast where the Duathlon athletes were telling us about the course. Got my Pontevedra Team pin. Later on had my first confrontation with the water. Temp was down to 14.0=57 degrees. Great. Jumped in and took 5 solid minutes to gain control of breathing. Hands went numb quickly, as did my feet-which turned purple later on from Raynaud's. Got out after 15 minutes rested and tried again with better results but I only swam 5 minutes that time. My hands wouldn't work as they kept locking up. My pinky and ring finger wouldn't catch any water because I couldn't hold my hand in position-weird. Back to the hotel for an hour long warm shower as I was chilled to the bone. Monday included an excursion with Denise to a winery where it was just us and our guide, who stayed with us for hours. Delicious and fascinating! I may enjoy a white wine in the future instead of just red. Learned a lot about the culture and wine making. Dinner at local Italian place-perfecto! Tuesday, I reclaimed my bike from TBT with no functionality of the DI2. Presumed dead battery but it wouldn't charge (because it was actually fully charged). Took it to ?Josh/Drew, our Team USA bike mechanic who was stationed at our hotel and he diagnosed it was in 'crash mode' from getting jostled. Held the button for 5 seconds and then you have to pedal to let it shift through all the gears for it to reset/reconnect. DONE! Back to normal. He gave it a full tune up and we chatted for an hour. Says he doesn't do as much outdoor cycling due to vehicle risk but still likes to mountain bike. A generous tip was in order. Made it outside to try to find the course but got lost. Hooked up with a GB athlete (who later finished 7th in MY AG) and we rode the course he had downloaded on his bike computer. Only made it halfway, as they would not let us back from Bordel as the cross tri race had started and roads were closed, so that was an experience trying to get back to the hotel. I do not think the Spanish police like USA athletes (I was wearing my team kit, he was not). Wed am was the 'official' pre-ride of the course with Tim/Pat-team managers. A couple of dozen people rode it. Those 180 degree turns are ALL on downhills. You have to coast, downshift, turn and stay on the road on race day or get a penalty. I rode it in 1:25 during the practice and went slower than that on race day-hmmm. Another fight with the water on deck for the afternoon and I swam 1500 yds-twice. Each a bit faster and relatively more comfortable-if you count numb as 'comfortable'. First time-28 min, Second-24.5 min. Temp was 14.4=58!. Another bout of purple feet and another hour long shower to recover. Thursday-registration and chilled. Sent post cards. Shaved. Delicious dinner-again. Another Italian place. Friday-found the athlete briefing online and watched the hour video and took notes. Went to breakfast/Team USA to update all I'd learned. Decided on a path to limit walking and do everything I needed. Brought bike/helmet, all gear in my bags for check in, swim stuff for final practice in the cold River Lerez and brought clothes to dress for team photo. Still took many hours to do all that. Put race tattoos on night before, as always, to save time. Cover with conditioner to help preserve them. Mixed bike bottles with 400 calories each. Went through checklists for eating/set alarm and to bed. Was pretty sure the swim would be shortened, and they cancelled any practice swimming, so I knew I had an extra half hour, which I added to the plan.
Event warmup:

Up at 5:30 (with the new plan). Original race time was 8:35, later changed to 8:40 with a split in the young men's groups. And later changed to 9:10 after the official announcement came at 7am to go with 'Plan B' and a shortened 1500M swim. Water was 12 degrees (54) at the check in the early AM. Warmed up to 14.9 (59) at race start. Ate my 700 calories, coffee/shower/BR per usual routine. Got 'race ready'. Kit/garbage bag under it to keep core warm in swim, timing chip/Garmin. Brought swim stuff and dressed warm and walked to transition-about 3/4 mile away from our hotel. Watched the start of the pro race and saw the lines they were taking from buoy to buoy-not realizing that stuff wouldn't matter in the end. Got in line when called. Immediately jumped in and swam to the far buoy as I knew that was the best line. Let's go!!
  • 1h 00m 10s
  • 1640 yards
  • 03m 40s / 100 yards

Oh, yeah, that was a whirlwind of emotions. I started out really well. Had nice slow breathing. Was a bit cold and stiff. Still don't like all the bodies around me but no issues. Drank a little river a few times. Keeping up with the front packs and my pace was fast for me, but felt OK. Then I got a very big mouthful of water but some went into my lungs rather than my stomach and I stopped swimming and started choking and coughing. Tried to vomit-couldn't. Started wheezing. Tried to slow my breathing which is unnerving as the longer this was taking, the more ground I'd have to make up as the river was clearly pushing me backwards. Flipped onto my back and that made it much worse, so I treaded water and expended a lot of energy. Eventually was able to try to swim but only at the top of my breath with my lungs mostly expanded. Had to force the air out. Apparently I looked a bit panicked as I did this for a number of times garnering the attention of several people on kayaks/boats etc, not to mention my wife, who was watching me like a hawk, I found out later. Talked the first guy out of taking me out. Asked if I could hold his boat but not make any forward progress and he told me I was done if I touched it. I said, 'I'm ok, just need cinco minutos mas'. He was unimpressed with my bravado. Swam slowly for about 20-30 strokes then had to stop and be upright to breathe. Made it past the bridge and my wife was yelling encouragement nonstop. I do so love that woman. Decided that this might be the end of the day and made a big effort to go for the shore hard. Stood there (legal to do as long as no forward progress made) for a few minutes and regained a bit of composure. Still had a ways to go to make it to the turn buoys and get to go downstream. Several different caps were around me know, with no more green caps. Got to the turn buoy and felt a little delirious-just focusing on the far two buoys and exit. Swam, swam, swam and knew it would be close to the cutoff. Got the the exit, climbed the stairs with little energy and went over and kissed my wife. No one took my chip so I headed off towards transition. I was third from last out of the water in my AG.
What would you do differently?:

Not sign up for a cold water swim like this. I can do much better than 51/54 in my AG.
Transition 1
  • 08m 23s

So, I walked, then jogged, then ran. Dropped my cap, then dropped goggles, then an arm sleeve. I couldn't get my fingers to squeeze things. An hour in that cold water will sap your energy. Had to pick it up or risk a penalty. Very slow transition for me and I knew it was no longer a race for me. Still having trouble breathing and decided if it got worse, I'd pull myself out. It did not, so I kept going.
What would you do differently?:

Swim well enough to not allow myself to fall this deep into the well. Finished 29/54 finishers so I can't be too unhappy considering I was delirious and so cold my muscles wouldn't work.
  • 4h 07m 59s
  • 68.5 miles
  • 16.57 mile/hr

OMG, that was hard. I was still having some issue and felt that I was breathing too hard through it all. Wasn't sure if it was physical or due to effort/weather. Later realized, it was physical from asthma. I held my race pace for the first lap spot on. Decided to cut way back on effort as it was the only way I'd finish the race. No way that I could hold that effort at that point. Cadence of 81 included a lot of coasting, so it was actually much higher than that.
What would you do differently?:

32/54 is still bottom half. Really did not show my skills after the first lap. If (a big word) I could have held that effort, I'd have been in the top 10. Certainly achievable and was possible-just not to be.
Transition 2
  • 04m 33s

So I got to try leaving my shoes on my bike, as I knew it'd be faster since we had bike catchers. Unfortunately un-clipped my shoe twice on the approach and again on the dismount and had to hand the bike catcher my shoe which she couldn't take so I jammed it into my rear bottle holder. Waddled over to the changing tents again to get my run stuff and pack away the bike helmet.
What would you do differently?:

I'd have moved faster if I was racing at this point. Still, just going through the motions had me 25/54 in my AG.
  • 3h 32m 31s
  • 30 kms
  • 07m 05s  min/km

That was hard and I told myself that I will never do that to my body again. Each lap was worse and I questioned my sanity. Nutrition/hydration plan was spot on. Cramps were due to weather changes that I could not adequately prepare for. I had low points during this as well. Walk/running was the max I could muster on the final two laps.
What would you do differently?:

Pathetic run. 46/54. Came into this with the run as the biggest question mark due to injury and it was as bad as expected. Got hurt a lot by the timing of the calf injury 6 weeks prior to the event. My training was spot on.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat and locked up my muscles. Wife notices my breathing and is getting all tearful that I finished and am OK. She's a peach. Took an effort to move and still had to get my bike and gear and send the bike back to TBT. We had to walk 1/3 mile to get there, then back to the hotel with all the gear. Denise went out for food and brought it back to me. I just sat on the bed and thought about the day. I'm lucky to be surrounded by people who understand my need to train and help me all the time. I have family/friends/work support and the best wife in the world.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Unlucky water inhalation and it's consequences. I'm pretty sure that I could have swam that in 35-38 minutes, tops. Would have opened up the possibility for a solid bike and a late run crash. That was the gameplan. Finished 42/51 who completed the race with additional people who were listed as; DNS/DNF/DQ.

Event comments:

Amazing to be a part of Team USA. That experience is worth everything. The race itself was, um, complicated. Physical issues often derail athletes and that is what happened to me. AG athletes who are talented often seem to have an arrogance which I did not like. I felt hugely supported by all USA athletes before and during the event. Support was exceptional. Highly recommended if you are invited to go. Bring your support-I did and it means the world to me. XO to you, my wife.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2019-03-08 12:00 AM
01:00:10 | 1640 yards | 03m 40s / 100yards
Age Group: 51/54
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
1500M=1640yards. No HR monitor. No laps.
Suit: Roka sleeveless with arm warmers/sleeves from S/R
Course: Start up river, against the current, for front half and then down river for the back half. Water was very, very cold. Allowed to wear booties as it was 'wetsuit mandatory'. I did.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Bad Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:23
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
04:07:59 | 68.5 miles | 16.57 mile/hr
Age Group: 32/54
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
No HR data. 3 laps with slowing. 1st-1:15; 2nd-1:24; 3rd-1:29. I held goal power on the first lap only. Then wanted to die. Got dizzy/overheated. Forgot to take off my cycling cap/garbage bag until too late. I was hot and overheated. Drank a lot and actually peed on the bike for only the second time ever.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Crazy course with flat roads/speed bumps in town with rotaries/multiple 90 degree turns and loops/out and backs. Oh yeah, lots of hills, twisty technical sections and don't forget 3 out/backs ending each time with a 180 degree turn on a narrow street-on a downhill. And do it 3 times. I labelled each of the 180's: the quick lollipop, the 3.5 mile to Bordel and back and the mile down to town and back.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 81
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:33
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
03:32:31 | 30 kms | 07m 05s  min/km
Age Group: 46/54
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
The slow fade occurred. I became one of the 'zombie' runners, as I'd feared. Mentally challenging to go out onto the next loop. I hate, hate, hate multi-loop courses. No HR monitor. Surprised by the consistent slowing. 1st-47min; 2nd-51 min; 3rd-55 min; 4th-59 min. Had to run/walk due to cramps starting with the third lap. Plenty of course nutrition so I didn't really need a bottle holder with me but it was a nice safety net. Pretty hot and I dumped a lot of cold water on me at each aid station. Shocked they had enough as I used a million gallons myself.
Course: 4 loops which include 3 distinct sections. Leave transition and head across the river for 1.5 miles in a light trail around a park.Cross a tiny bridge with a 10 foot hill which actually grows-ha. Dirt/grass/trail/walkway with some shade in the trees. Wind noticeable along the river. Come back and cross the river for a mile out/n/back right next to the river. Last, head past transition and loop around and into town for another 1.5-2 miles. This was the hardest part despite the largest crowds. Several hilly streets and a zillion 90 degree turns. Had to be aware of tangents or we'd run a much longer course, we were told. Loop back with a slight down hill back to transition and see the sign that says-left-finish; right-lap. I hated that sign. Always great to see/hear my wife on each loop/lap. I had enough energy to only wave at that point.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Bad
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2019-05-07 10:06 AM

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: ITU Long Course World Championship

2019-05-07 10:58 AM
in reply to: #5258493

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Subject: RE: ITU Long Course World Championship

Firstly, Congratulations on making Team USA!  What a huge accomplishment in and of itself.  Secondly, you overcame huge challenges including a calf injury that derailed your Run training leading up to the event, and a very unfortunate adverse physical reaction to frigid waters.  But you overcame the challenges and had a very respectable showing on the Bike and Run.  Way to represent Team USA!! 

And aside from the event, sounds like you and Wifey had a pretty nice vacation in Spain.  

2019-05-07 11:01 AM
in reply to: #5258493

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South Florida
Subject: RE: ITU Long Course World Championship

I had a few friends/ locals do various events and from what I hear it was a beastly course! Congrats on just getting it done!!  And wow, the pics looked amazing!! I would like to go eat and drink and be merry there     

2019-05-07 11:27 AM
in reply to: #5258493

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: ITU Long Course World Championship
Epic day! Congrats on muscling your way through..
2019-05-07 11:50 AM
in reply to: alltom1

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: ITU Long Course World Championship
Thanks all. I began at 'Beginner Triathlete' 8 years ago and it's ironic that after that amount of time, I've come full circle to almost finish last in the swim-ha! I did have a great year in 2018 racing 70.3's and was lucky to have done well enough to be invited to this and the IM WC 70.3 race in Nice, France later in the year. I am happy that the water will be ~70 degrees for that one. I've learned so much from people here on this site and you all know who you are.

I appreciate all the continued support and encouragement from everyone.

2019-05-08 3:37 PM
in reply to: dtoce

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: ITU Long Course World Championship
OMG that swim sounded scary - but I'm glad you made it through.

Congrats on being part of team USA - that's so great!

And BTW, your wife sounds awesome

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