Last year at Timberman I did the sprint on Saturday followed by swimming on a relay in the 1/2 iron on Sunday. This year I'm doing the sprint again, but on Sunday I'm adding the bike to the mix by doing the aquabike 1/2. I've wanted to try this new format. It's made for someone like me. For years I've joked about being able to do a race with only the swim and the bike, and how I'd kick butt. Now I get a chance to test out my theory. I'd prefer doing it at Olympic distance, but this gives me a chance to test the long course waters without having to run.
Yesterday was part 1 of the rehearsal by doing a sprint race at an all time effort. I won my age group. For all the race details check out my race report at: http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=22679&posts=1
Overall I was pleased with my day. I also met an amazing lady. Marge Stahl is 75 years old, and still racing. She did the duathlon because she still was concerned about swimming's effect on her shoulders after last year's bike accident. She's the lady in pink. She reminds me so much of my mom in terms of build and appearance. She's a few years younger then my mom would have been if she were still here. I'm the youngster in that group photo. The lady on Marge's left is 63, and the one on my right is 57. All of us placed in our respective age groups.
Part 2 came today. I went out in the morning to do what is known as the Gimbel's Ride. Any serious road racer from the Metro New York area is familiar with this ride. It got that name since it meets in front of what used to be Gimbels department store. The store has changed many times since Gimbels went out of business. Ironically enough it's now Macys. The name has stuck around over the years. The ride has been around for at least 40 years if not longer. Many past Olympians and Tour de France riders have done the ride as hot shot juniors. Nelson Vails, and George Hincapie are two names that come to mind.
On a nice summer day the ride draws over 100 riders from New York and Connecticut. As the ride makes it way slowly up Central Avenue more and more riders jump on. By the time we get on Rte. 22 going out of North White Plains the has probably quadrupled in size since leaving Yonkers. It's a pretty impressive sight seeing this Tour de France sized pack heading up the road. Unfortunately many of the locals don't appreciate the beauty and power of such a large group so inevitably a cop from from one of the local towns we pass through gets on the loud speaker and reminds us to stay in the right lane, and ride two abreast. Today's cop was actually very nice about it. Sometimes a major blow hard cop comes out and demands that we ride single file even though the state law is two abreast on a 4 lane roadway.
Once we hit North White Plains the pace starts to pick up quite a bit. After we cross the resevoir, climb a short hill and start the descent the pace picks up some more. The ride splits into 3 routes and once that split occurs then the hammer goes down. I do the middle route so for 22 miles I'm hammering away and maintaining an average speed of 23.9 mph. At times I'm hanging off the back trying not to get dropped. I like to stay closer to the front, but my legs weren't exactly at their freshest. There was one point I got spit out the back, but I was determined to get back on, and make to the sprint line which is the border between Rye, and Mamaroneck. I was a good 10 bike lengths off, but just gave it all I got and caught up with the group just as they were cresting this little hill in Rye. I happened to glance at my HRM and saw I was at 174. Ouch!
Once the sprint is over the pace eases off as we head south on Rte. 1. However there is always a bit of a rushed pace in order to make it down to the Bagel Zone and be one of the first ones on line. The store has really good bagels and is one of my bike club's sponsors. In the summer we sit outside in a little park close to the store. In the winter we cram ourselves in at any available table we can. It's quite a sight in winter seeing all these cyclists come in from the cold for a cup of coffee and a bagel.
By the time my ride was done I had logged 57 miles. There was the bagel break, but it was a good 57 miles.
Part two of my workout day was a swim workout with my Team in Training group. We have a number of newbies that the coach works on form with. For the fishies he gives us a nice long set to do after the drill portion. The gal I'm sharing the lane with is one of my mentees. I've been helping her with her running and cycling, but when it comes to swimming she kicks my ass good. She swam in college, and it shows. I was starting to bonk a bit by the end of the workout. I really should have eaten a gel before I started the workout.
Now this obviously is not the order I'll be doing my events come August 21st, but it did give me an idea on how I might feel during the aquabike. I'm definately going to have to pace myself, and not hammer the swim and the bike the way I do in an Olympic. One good thing is that I won't have a 3.5 hour drive between days like I did this weekend. I should be better rested then I was this weekend.