All week we there had been reports of the water Temperature being a balmy 55, which in hindsight it would have been better had they just not told us what the temperature was because the water was warmer than the air at the starting point in the day.
I approached this race with some reservations, I am training for Ironman Coeur D’Alene so this was a workout in my plan, but one where I would have competition and thus really push myself.
As the largest showing of the Duckbill kicked off the water experience was not desirable. The large amount of people had made it a very crowded mass start in a course requiring two laps. When my face first hit the water it literally took my breath away because of the temperature, this was in addition to how eerily dark the water was with the cloud coverage.
After a few initial strokes I found my groove and really started to surge, so much so I questioned my pace due to many swimmers I was overtaking. I reminded myself that I had started at the back so it was bound to happen, telling myself “just race my own race” don’t pay attention to those around me. This lead to big PR on the swim with a time of 26:18, which amusingly was followed by a terrible transition time of 2:43, yes as in nearly 3 minutes putting on my helmet bike shoes and sunglasses….whoops
Fortunate for me I had no idea how terrible my transition was so I tore off on my new specialized Transition bike (compliments of Collins bike shop), this was the first race I where I had a chance to really get after it with some people to chase down. As I started to dial my speed up I was blown away by how easily I cruised past 23 mph with not nearly as much effort as I had been accustomed to. I finally found a pace where I was very uncomfortable but it was manageable and decided come hell or high-water I would race at this for the remainder. It took awhile for me pass enough of the field to find people who were racing at my pace for me to chase.
Throughout the bike leg I worked on pulling in two riders who were a quarter mile or more ahead of me and were keeping a difficult pace. At the half way mark I decided in my mind that I had made progress in gaining on them and my goal was to catch and pass them by the end of the bike assuming I could stay within my racing boundaries and not blow up. I did exactly this and managed to find myself strangely alone with less than 3 miles left on the bike course. When I came into T2 and finished my 1:05 40K there were not many bikes on the racks, which is when it finally occurred to me that I was actually close to the top 30.
With a 1:37 transition I kept my slow transitions streak alive and started out the process of regaining feeling in my feet. The first few miles I was negative splitting down from an initial 6:50 mile pace. At the half way point in the 10k, the uphill portion finally ended much to my delight and I pushed the pace. I got myself down to 6:30 and felt great, I hit the 1 mile sign as I crossed back over the Dam and enjoyed the beautiful Oregon view. Unfortunately the run ends with a fairly significant hill which pushed my pace back to finish me with a run time of 43:48.
Overall I finished with a 2:20:48 in 17th place within a rather competitive field that featured people like Jesse Thomas who just won wildflower. I would say it was defiantly one of my best performances to date and it was clear that the new bike from Collins bike shop made a huge difference in my ability to hammer on those bike times. Turned out to be a gorgeous day and a great race, with lots of confidence coming off of this going into IMCDA I will hopefully have a positive race report post Ironman!