Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Hong Kong Dragons Winter Warriors Race #1 - Race Report

2011 Hong Kong Dragons Winter Warriors Race #1
Date: February 12, 2011
Swim: 600m
Bike: 16K
Run: 6K
Time: 07:00
Air Temp: 13 Degrees Celcius
Water Temp: Damn cold.
Location: South Bay Beach, Hong Kong Island
Hours of sleep the night before: 3
Why 3?: Because I am dumb.

The Swim

I am flabbergasted by the amount of swim fitness that I have lost in the month away from the water.  This race was a welcome smack in the face to remind me to get back in gear both for IM 70.3 Singapore at the end of March and of course IM France in June.  I think there were 6 or 7 Dragons that toed the line that morning.  That's a rather small turnout and I can't help now but to think that the no-shows were the wise ones.  Wait, scratch that.  The no-shows are the weak.  We strong, strong like bull.  (I'm still not convincing myself)

I made a rookie mistake during frantic packing the night before and forgot to throw my goggles in the bag.  Fortunately another Dragon had a spare pair to loan me on race morning.  Lesson learned: Do not expect a borrowed pair of goggles to fit well, keep out water or not fog up.  As someone shouted out "30 seconds to start" I was standing there tugging and fiddling around with my goggles to try to keep them attached to my face.  My fingers were numb from the cold and I don't think I could feel my feet at all in the cold sand. "15 seconds!"  I was still messing with the damn goggles when the horn sounded and we ran for the water.  That first splash was pure hell.  I may as well have jumped into an ice hole (I seriously do not understand how some folks enjoy ice swimming in Speedos as a hobby).  Within seconds my heart rate went from 60 to an estimated 175 bpm.  Having not swam since the sun took a vacation more than a month ago I had absolutely no feel for the water and no muscle memory of stroke mechanics or breathing technique.  By the first buoy I had succeeded in reaching dead last place in the water--and it got progressively worse from there.  Freestyle became nostyle to side stroke to breast stroke to back stroke to floating and gasping.  It felt like total pandemonium in the brain.  I was cold, out of breath and pissed off at myself.  Despite repeated efforts to just relax and have an easy controlled swim (not fast but at least respectable) nothing was working and I was stuck just sloppily splashing my way through the 600 meters.  When I came out of the water the beach was empty and everyone else was already on their bikes.

600m - 13:40

The Bike

There isn't much to say about the bike course which consisted of 4 loops of 4K with some moderate climbing and descents through traffic that we had to take slow for safety reasons.  My T1 transition was about 2 minutes (relatively fast considering I had to climb a set of stairs and strip off a wetsuit)  After about 2 kilometers I caught my breath, shook off the swim and got down to business.  I managed to pass one person on the bike saving me from being last overall.

16K - 41:01

The Run

My T2 transition was about 5 seconds.   I was determined to make up more ground on the run.  I was hoping to pass at least 2 others but only managed 1.  I had major stomach cramps on both sides but still managed to hang on to a decent pace.

6K - 33:10

Conclusion: Overall this was a sad performance but much needed benchmark.  I will put this behind me and get to work on all 3.

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