To the left of my run shoes, I had my cycling shoes and socks and Oakley RPM sunglasses and a wafer (180 calories) for the ride. I wore my compression sleeves under my wetsuit.
Prior to laying out my transition area, I put my three bottles (each with 300 calories) in my bike cages (two on the frame and the other in the right rear cage). I had my spare tubular, CO2 and bike levers in a cut-in-half water bottle in the left rear cage. My primary bottle to grab is in my down tube of my frame but I am also very comfortable grabbing my right rear bottle when I am aero (although I typically drink sitting up).
I decided to not turn on my Garmin 910 for the swim so I put the sleeve of m wetsuit over my watch on my wrist and didn't turn it on until the run (it was set to run mode for when I turned it on in the last mile of the bike).
After Karel set-up his transition area, he came over to pump up my tubular tires with just enough pressure for the wet roads. We each made a stop at the potty once more and then with my old run shoes on, I did a few pick-ups outside the transition area. We then put on our wetsuits (and sunscreen and body glide) and put our morning clothes in our transition bags and headed to the swim start (about a 5-10 minute walk).
As we were waiting for our swim waves after the pros started, we spotted my mom and Campy. Campy was not happy about the rain but he was a great trooper as a spectator. My mom took some great pics (below) and managed to take care of Campy.... she deserves a medal for being out there all day in the rain!
I love my Xterra wetsuit - so comfortable! Karel is still getting use to the wetsuit "feeling".
Karel had an amazing swim time but he did experience a bit of anxiety in his wetsuit as soon as he got into the water. It's kinda hit or miss with Karel when he feels really uncomfortable in his wetsuit as a non-swimmer (just learned to swim 3 years ago). He said that for the first 10 minutes or so, he vowed to never do another triathlon ever again and he was really struggling to breath in his wetsuit. However, he managed to settle into a rhythm and he even said he broke away from a pack that he was swimming with so all things considered, Karel managed to have a great swim despite a major obstacle to overcome when he started his race. Even though Karel is crazy fast, he still deals with issues that many other athletes experience. The same is true for me....just because you are experienced, it doesn't mean that you don't learn new things or make mistakes on race day.
It was really nice to be in the water (in a wetsuit) as the water was very comfortable (around 73 degrees). I was able to do some warm-up strokes to adjust my wetsuit and to loosen up.
When the gun went off, Amy shot out of her cannon (or it looked like it!) because she was long gone and there was no way I could hang. I managed to stay with a small pack of female (pink cap) athletes until the first turn buoy and continued to settle into a nice rhythm with my stroke. With so much ankle strap/band work, I really felt good in the open water - really feeling every catch and pull-through.
However, after looking at my time of 30:30 and Karel's time of 32:28, I either took it too easy on the swim or I really need to step-up my swim game. Karel's goal is to someday beat me in the swim (even if it's just once) and my goal is for Karel to never beat me in the swim.
We have a very loving relationship but there has to be a little competition to spice things up in our marriage. :)
I'm thinking that it's all going to go down in Kona in October after Karel gets a few more months of swim training to see if he can beat me for 2.4 miles.
Neither Karel or I felt a current in the water but it was a smooth swim with several red buoys to help with sighting. I wish there would have been one more sighting buoy toward the swim exit as we had to swim at an angle and with the falling rain and dark skies it was hard to see the swim exit.
I smiled at my mom (and Campy) when I spotted them as I was running toward my bike. I was beginning to come up with a few reasons as to "why" I was racing and the first thing I thought of was how special it was that my mom and other spectators and volunteers were out there supporting all of us athletes. Although we as athletes never say it, the day is really all about us and what we are doing on the race course.....but we (athletes) all know that we couldn't do what we do, without the help of our friends/family and volunteers who are out there cheering us on. My second "why" was the amazing Challenge Family team who put on this event for us to do something amazing with our trained bodies. So much goes into planning and putting on a race and it reminded me that I choose to be an athlete...not an exerciser. Swimming, biking and running makes me feel great but what feels even better is putting all that hard work in training to good use on race day.
When I got to my bike, I put on wet cycling shoes and my wet Giro Attack helmet and decided to put my Oakley shades in my tri suit rear pocket until the rain stopped (if I had clear shades, I would have worn them as I was fearful of debris getting into my eyes - my dad would not be happy that I rode without sunglasses for half the bike). I grabbed my wafer (which was a bit soggy as I had opened it up ahead of time for easy chomping) and put it in my other tri suit rear pocket. I was not aware of my swim time and it really didn't matter to me because my only goal for the race was to chase my nearest competition.
I started my Garmin 500 bike computer as I was rolling my bike out of transition and then mounted at the mount line and off I went for 56 very wet and rainy miles.
Swim time: 30:30, 6th fastest female amateur swim, 2nd AG swim
Swim time: 32:28, 42th fastest amateur swim, 8th AG swim