Welp… Once again I decided to start a big race with very little taining. I remember nearly a year ago discussing this race with Adam. He was giving me the usual hard time to register and meet him in San Diego for another 70.3.
While we were
arguing about discussing the details I was actully sitting on my bike doing a trainer ride. So I was motiviated to train and race… or so I thought. But somehow I lost that motivation throughout the course of the year and opted to be fat(ter) and lazy(ier).
I would do the occasional trainer ride, or maybe swim, but I did ver little. I hardly ran at all. Around Christmas I remember saying “I think I might sit this one out.”
Adam wasn’t having it.
I kept that mentality through January, when, the night before I was going to run the Disney Marathon (mostly untrained), I got a text from Adam wishing me good luck. He said he was so confident I was going to do well that he had a surprise for me. The next text was a screen shot of my flight confirmation.
He booked my ticket so I couldn’t back out.
I still didn’t put much effort into training. And as if being out of shae wasn’t enough, I hurt my back two days before flying out there… So this race had the foundation a be a disaster.
So here we were in March, and I was flying into San Diego.
I was still excited, becuase, as much as I dislike training, I really do love racing.
I flew in Thursday and met up with Adam who had been there for about a week already. We kept the day pretty low key, just hanging out, eating and drinking.
Friday was a little more serious. We put our bikes together and went for a short ride to make sure everything was in working order. After a few deraluer tweeks and some help from a local bike shop, we were headed to packet-pickup and bike dropoff.
It was an early call Saturday morning. Our waves were 40 minutes apart with me going first about 7am. Transition seemed to be a mess. But what ever, I was dressed and ready to go.
This was a wet start, meaning you had 3 minutes to swim to the start bouy to wait for you wave to go off. The whole swim course was covered in ver dense fog. You couldn’t see the bouys until you were right on top of them.
Before I knew it they made the call “30-34 Men get in the water!”
I walked down the ramp, dove in and BOOM it hit me… I had a MAJOR panic attack! I tried to ignore it and just swim to the start, but I couldn’t breathe. I kept turining my head, but couldn’t inhale.
I made it to the start and tried to calm down. While it was happening I knew it was stupid. I kept taking deep breather while treading water.
It’s going to be fine I kept thinking, once the horn goes off I’ll be ready to go.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORN”
I was off… No I wasn’t… I still couldn’t breathe. I kept trying to justify the issue. Was the water too cold? No it was 70. Am I too fat for this wetsuit and it’s squeezing the life out of me? No… Well maybe, but I don’t think so. Is it the fucking fog?
I swam (if you want to call it that) to the first bouy to try and get my self together. The look on my face must have been awful because a rescue paddle board came to assit. After a couple minutes of trying to escape y own head, I got back out on the course and did some conglomeration of freestyle breat stroke and god only know what else.
About half way though the swim I got back to normal and began swimming as if I had done this before. The fog was still very dense and I ended up getting way off course. It was hard to tell where exactly I was on the course. I kept swimming and trying to sight until I nearly swam PAST the swim out ramp.
Excellent I was out of the water. Now it’s on to the bike!
If you look back at my races, I always do the best on the bike course. My back didn’t seem to be a big issue so I was hoping to make up an signifigant amount of time.
I hammered away and was holding 17mph. Not flying but good enough for today. About 20ish miles in we cam the the first climb of the ride. I wasn’t terribly long, but it was steep. It wasn’t more that a 1/4th of the way up I got out of the saddle and tried to power up. But once I stood up, my low back injury kicked in. I stopped for about 15 seconds and went at it again. I continued with these little 15 second rests until I got to the top. I refused to join the group who dismounted and walked their bikes up.
It took a bit for the bakc spasm to go away and I definately lost a lot of time becuase of it. I again tried to make up time but It just wasn’t happening. The 2nd and thrid climbs followed the same plan, climb until it hurt too much then rest for 15 seconds. Finally I was approaching mile 50, just 6 more to go before I’m on to the run.
Out of the corner of my eye I see I’m getting passed again. Since my average speed was only 15mph It’s not surprising. What was surprising was that the athlete passing me was Adam. He was flying! I yelled some four letter words of encouragement but he didn’t hear me. And trying to hammer to catch up wasn’t working either.
Eventually I finished the final 6 miles of the ride and I was off and running… Well jogging. My back didn’t like that run so much either. There were few large inclines up pedestrian ramps that really made me engage my low back and caused a lot of pain.
Overall the run was pretty un eventful. It was more of a mental game, telling myself that I could push and be done sooner or walk and drag this disaster out for a longer period of time. It was a run/walk combo for most of the run. Adam and I passed each other a few times, which was cool. And I even saw Fireman Rob a couple times.
Finally I had hit the home stretch. Running along the beach with the finish line off in the distance was excellent. Overall It was a fun race, but I was glad to be done. We hung around the post race party for a bit before getting cleaning up and going back out for more fish tacos and beer.
What is nice about the 70.3 distance is that even after having a very slow race, there is still time to enjoy the rest of the day. We spent the later part of the night packing, dissassembling bikes and ordering late night Domino’s pizza.
I flew back late on Sunday and pretty much had just enough energy to drag my carcas to bed. Monday afternoon I started sorting my gear and re-assembling my bike, which became a huge problem.
When I opened the bike case I found a note from TSA saying they opened my bike box for screening. The issue became that they didn’t repack it correctly. All of the parts were just shoved back inside and tightened down. Becuase of the negligence of Southwest Air and the TSA I have 2 fairly large cracks in the frame of my bike.
Southwest was my first call. Theire customer service person right away said they weren’t responsible, the issue was with TSA. My argument to her was that I released the bike to the Southwest desk, so they have the responsibility to make sure bags are handled correctly. She ended up taking a report and filing a claim.
Next I called TSA. Who (by recorded message) told me to fill out a very lengthy form online.
In both cases I guess I just have to wait the estimated 30 days to see how they plan on handeling this. Just based off some photos, I was already quoted over $1,000 to repair the bike and that is a best case sceneario because of the location of the cracks.
So now we wait.
I have to say that this does make me think twice about traveling with my bike again.