My First Aquabike

18 06 2012

Is anyone else as bummed as I am that the weekend is over? I spent my weekend in Orlando with Bill, reunited after 5 weeks apart, while he was working in Alaska! The weekend was great, but far too short!

Bill and I are both competitive people, so what better way to spend our weekend than racing? A little over a month ago, I told Bill there was a triathlon in Orlando the weekend he returned from Alaska. He enthusiastically said “Let’s do it!”, excited to have a triathlon fit into his busy work schedule. I was extra pumped because this would be his first real triathlon; he’d only done a practice tri with the DC Tri Club one time when he was visiting me. So, I registered us both for the Moss Park Father’s Day Olympic Triathlon, and anxiously awaited Bill’s return.

About a week leading up to the race, I was on the fence about doing the full tri or dropping down to the aquabike because of my stupid foot injury. I really wanted to do the full, after seeing how small the field was, but I knew that I probably shouldn’t. I went back and forth a number of times, telling myself I could just push through the injury. But after some encouragement from Bill, reminding me that I have a half ironman in the fall to focus on, I decided it probably would be for the best to NOT run. I didn’t want to ruin the rest of my season by making the injury worse, and I haven’t ran more than a mile since the Crystal River Tri at the end of May. Running almost 6 miles cold just wouldn’t be smart.

So, when Bill and I picked up our packets on Friday, I switched to the aquabike.

We got up bright and early on Saturday morning, and headed over to Moss Park. We arrived with plenty of time, thank goodness, because we had a little incident while pumping up my tires. Bill stuck the nozzle on my back tire valve, and started pumping, saying “No whammie, no whammie!” Now, I’m familiar with the game show, Press Your Luck, but I was wondering why Bill was saying this when he was only pumping up my tires. No sooner did I ask, “Why are you saying that?” that I heard the unmistakeable “PSHHHHHHH” sound. Oh, that’s why. The pump got stuck on the valve, and when trying to pull it out, the valve came off the tube. Crap. No big deal, we can change a tire.

So, Bill took a new tube, got it in the tire, got the tire on the wheel, and then started pumping the tire up. I noticed the gauge on the pump wasn’t holding a steady number. The needle went up, and then fell back down. I felt the tire, and it felt really full. I told Bill what I had observed, and the next pump he took, “PSHHHHHHHHHHHHH.” Double crap. Now I was getting nervous. I had another tube, but the clock was ticking. I ran over to see if there was bike support to help us, but there wasn’t. I asked a triathlete who was setting up his transition area if he could help us change the tire, and he said he’d help when he was done setting up. Phew, ok. But it was getting closer and closer to the time when transition would close. The man asked if I could bring my bike over, so I ran back to the car to check on Bill. He had successfully changed the tire and was putting my wheel back on my bike. PHEW. Crisis averted.

We were not this smiley 15 minutes ago!

We walked over to transition, got marked up, and then, because the race was so small, we could choose wherever we wanted to rack our bikes. Bill and I picked the rack closest to the bike in and out. He and I were the only ones on the rack, so we had plenty of space for our stuff. I set up my stuff, including clipping my shoes to the bike. This was the first race I was going to try this, since Bill and I had practiced bike mounts and dismounts on Friday afternoon. I was a little nervous about it, but I knew it would allow me a much faster transition.

It was so weird not putting my running shoes in transition!

After we set up, we walked down to the water for the pre-race meeting. The water was a warm 79 degrees, and murky, murky, murky. Seriously, it was a dark as a cup of black coffee. I couldn’t see my hand 5 inches in front of my face. Gross. I tried not to think about it, that and the fact that there were probably gators in the water. Florida triathlons bring me different worries than the tris up north.

Bill was in the first wave, so I wished him luck, gave him a kiss, and then they were off! The swim course was 1.5K, two laps around the lake, marked off by big orange buoys. My wave was sent off six minutes later, after the other men’s wave. My wave included all women, triathletes and aquabikers.

I started the swim feeling really weak. I don’t know if I hadn’t eaten enough, or if my arms were still feeling like Jello after the crazy amount of pulling I did at Wednesday night’s swim practice. (Thanks, Felipe.)

I was the first woman to the first buoy, and  shortly after turning the corner, I started passing men from the wave in front of me. I still was feeling tired as I swam, but tried to focus on having good technique. As I rounded the buoy to make my second lap, I finally started to feel a little better in the water. Maybe I just wasn’t warmed up? I kept swimming, and the whole time I was wondering where Bill was. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but I know that the swim leg is his weakest leg, and I just wanted to make sure he was doing okay. I rounded the last buoy to head in, and as I was sighting for the beach, I spotted him, a few strokes ahead of me. I swam up next to him, gave him a tap on the leg, smiled at him when he looked at me, and swam to the finish. I was so glad I saw him. He was doing great!

Swim time: 0:20:16

I got out of the water and began running on the beach towards transition. I knew that transition was a LONG way away, I’d guess at least a tenth of a mile. I had run maybe 200 yards down the beach, and I was breathing really heavy, and I was feeling really lightheaded. I stopped to walk for a little bit, let a few guys pass me, and then I jogged slowly to my bike. No need to kill myself! When I checked my results after the race, I was really surprised  to see that they had timed the run to transition! I’ve never had a Run 1 time, unless I had done a duathlon! So, my run time was 0:02:47, pretty slow since I had walked.

I was putting on my gear at my bike when Bill ran up to his bike. It was great to see him again in transition. We exchanged a few words of encouragement, and I was off!

T1 time: 0:01:01

The time I spent in transition was still a little longer than I had liked, but I definitely didn’t have clipping in problems like I had at the Crystal River Tri, since my shoes were already on the bike! Thankfully, I had a clean mount, and started pedaling out of the park. I don’t even think I had started to put my feet into the shoes when Bill passed me. I knew the bike leg was his strongest, so I smiled, waved and told him to go get it!

The bike was 40K, two loops around the Moss Park neighborhood. I was pretty nervous going into this ride, because it looked like it had a lot of turns, based on the map posted on the website. The map was really poorly drawn and I wasn’t familiar with the area at all, so I was REALLY hoping there’d be volunteers at all of the intersections. I did not want to repeat Rock Hall!

Thankfully, the course was well marked and there were police and/or volunteers at ever intersection. It was really flat, and there was a lot of shade on the course (at least I thought so!).

I knew I was the first woman out on the course, so I was just trying to see how long I could go before the speedy cyclists passed me. Not long at all was how long I kept the lead. Around mile 3, the first female cyclist passed me. I knew I wasn’t really competing with her, because she was marked with a “T” for triathlon, but I still was hoping to do well. I stayed in second for the next three miles, when a group of three women passed me, also doing the full triathlon. Doh!

Since the course was really loopy, I could see just how far in front of me these ladies were. I kept trying to catch them, but I was unsuccessful. Oh well, at least I got to see Bill a few times on the bike. I smiled and waved every time we crossed paths. I was so happy to see him doing so well!

I came in to the bike dismount area and unclipped from my bike. As soon as I got off the bike, I realized my mistake. I was supposed to get my feet out of my shoes before getting to the dismount area, and then get off the bike, and run barefoot. WHOOPS! I guess I didn’t practice enough?

Oh well, I ran with my bike shoes on, through the grass and sand back into transition. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, threw off my shoes, and ran to the finish line. I know I probably didn’t need to do anything other than rack my bike, but oh well! I crossed the line as the first aquabike finsher in 1:35:37.58.

My bike time was 1:10:31, which puts me at about 21 mph for the bike. I think the bike was a little shy of 40K, so I’m not sure how accurate that bike speed is. But, if it is accurate, I’m quite happy with that!

After I finished, I headed back towards the transition area, because I knew the run passed by there (the run course was also 2 laps) and I was hoping to catch Bill. I saw him looking strong, and I ran with him for a few meters, before telling him I’d see him at the finish. He was looking good!

Less than 30 minutes later, I watched Bill cross the finish line of his first triathlon.

I am SUPER PROUD of Bill. He did amazing for his first triathlon, and now has the experience under his belt before our half irronman in October. Icing on the cake? He got 2nd in his age group! Oh, and he did all of this after traveling for about 27 hours – Thursday early morning to Friday mid morning, without taking a nap on Friday! He’s an animal!

I’m really glad I didn’t let the competitor in me do something stupid and race the full tri. I think my foot still needs to rest a bit more, but it feels like it is getting better! Better to be safe than sorry, right?

This was a fun, local race, and a great one for newbies. With a small field, and a little shorter run, its a great way to break into an Olympic triathlon. Besides the gross lake and the ugly tee shurt, I thought it was a pretty good race!



9 responses

18 06 2012
Victoria (District Chocoholic)

Congrats on your win – and on being so far in the front of the field for a good part of the race!

18 06 2012

Thanks Victoria!

18 06 2012

Woot! First place! great job steph and love that picture of you two holding hands 🙂

18 06 2012

Thanks Sarah!

19 06 2012

Congrats, girl!!!! And congrats to Bill!

I should have warned you about Moss Park. I did a tri there last summer and there are pictures of me coming out of the water and I am black with nasty lake water dirt. It was gross.

19 06 2012

Congrats to both you and Bill! Sounds like a great way to spend your first weekend together in a while.

2 07 2012
Training with Team XP « 321delish

[…] the Wednesday after the Father’s day Tri, Felipe made us do a 1500 (meters) for time. But coach, I just did one at my race! Felipe told me […]

27 12 2012
2012 Highlights « 321delish

[…] On Father’s day, Bill and I raced! He did the triathlon, and I did the aquabike! […]

11 04 2014
Gator Half Goals | 321delish

[…] entirely possible. This is my second lake swim tri since I’ve moved to Florida and I survived my first, so I’m hopeful that I’ll survive this one too, but I’m actually kinda nervous […]

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