I was pleased with my performance at Old Orchard Beach. It went a lot better than I thought it might considering I hadn't trained for the distance. I felt a lot more confident in my going to Miami Man for National Aquabike Championships. Could I defend my 2015 title? I really didn't even want to go there. Now that it was a qualifier for Team USA, I figured there would be more than two of us in the F60-64 age group. Time to up my training game.
So did I sign up for Miami Man as soon as I got to my next stop on my Tour de Maine? No. I signed up for my first 1/2 ironman. Lake Placid 70.3 on September 10th, 2017. My triathlon club, Rye Tri is an Ironman registered club so we got to sign up for the event before general entries opened. I had messed up my entry because I didn't have Rye Tri as my club on my profile. I didn't realize it until after the club entry deadline. I emailed and explained what had happened, and I was still able to enter before general entries. I gave it to God, and said if was meant to be, then my entry would go through correctly. It did. I'm not sure if I was happy, or thinking "What in earth are you doing? Are you nuts?" No. Nuts would have been signing up Ironman Lake Placid 140.6.
Before I could think about another aquabike race, I still had one more Olympic distance race on my schedule. I had a two year age group winning streak going. Would I make it three? I'm always trying to figure out who's in my age group and whether or not they pose serious competition. I saw some of the usual suspects, and then some names I was not familiar with. Though it turns out those other women weren't in my age group. They were actually in the F55-59 age group. However I didn't know at the time, so I'm thinking "Who are all these people?" Where I got really confused was when I passed a woman in a Team USA kit on the bike course, whose last name was Cook and the age on her calf was 60. I didn't remember seeing that name. It turns out she was doing the aquabike.
It was rather chilly in the morning. 48 at the start of my swim, and 52 when I got on the bike. With nothing but a tri-suit on it took awhile for my hands and feet to thaw out. However the trade off was having a wonderful run for a change. 58 degrees versus the 75-80 degree days in Florida and Nebraska earlier in the season. By the way, I did win my age group for the third year in a row. One of the women in my age group beat me in a running race earlier in the season, but when I get to swim and bike first she can't catch me.
Next Stop - Miami
The logistics for this race were a little more complicated than Age Group Nationals. It's true I wouldn't have to change planes, but there were other issues. The biggest one being how to get my bike to Miami. I'm really spoiled when Tri-Bike Transport is servicing a race. I drop off my bike at my local shop, Pacific Cycling and Triathlon. I get to the race venue and pick up my bike. (Okay there were a few hiccups in Omaha, but that was out of the ordinary.) When I finish the race I drop off my bike with the TBT guys, and pick it up at my local shop in about a week. No disassembling or assembling required. Taking off and putting on pedals doesn't count. Unfortunately Tri-Bike Transport was not servicing this race, so I was on my own in terms of getting my bike there and back. The race's official bike shop Mack Cycle had a rental option, but I wasn't sure how I felt about hammering 56 miles on a bike I've never ridden before. It's true I've ridden a lot of miles on rental bikes during my travels, but I just wasn't sure about racing on a rental. Now having seen the bikes they offer, I might reconsider for this year.
I haven't flown with my bike since 2005 when I went to Age Group Worlds in Honolulu. However that wasn't so bad because Team USA had bike mechanics who could help with the assembly process. This time I was totally on my own. I've made a number of changes to the bike since 2005. The biggest change being new aero-bars. I didn't realize what impact that was going to have until I attempted to close the bag. They are wider than the bag, so I had to take them off the stem. There was definitely a learning curve with this process.
"Big Bertha" AKA fully loaded bike case.
There were other logistical issues such as; where to stay and what size vehicle did I need to get "Big Bertha" in the back. I opted for a small SUV, but as I found out later it would have fit fine in the back of a compact car. A friend of mine in Miami stuffed it in the back of his little car when we returned the rental, and then had lunch before my flight home.
It was easy getting to and from the race venue. I stayed at a Hampton Inn that was about a 20 minute drive. The only problem was the easiest and fastest way was on toll roads. Like most highway systems they've gone to automatic tolling. It wouldn't be so bad, except my rental car did not have the Sunpass transponder, so every toll was at the bill-by-mail rate which is about double the rate if one has Sunpass. So months later after Hertz gets the bill, I get billed. Too bad EZ-Pass doesn't work in Florida. It would have saved me a good amount of money. I've got to figure out how to get around this problem for this year's race. Yes, I am doing the race again. That was the second 2017 race that I signed up for before the end of 2016.
So how was the race? A race report will follow in my next post.