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Gossip from Florida

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:23 am
by Stoney
Hi all,

Before I provide an update on events in Florida, let me say - I'm having a great time.

I was tossing up in my head what would go into a race report and I decided to keep it focussed on the race, but at the same time, there are a lot of thoughts I've had that may be useful for others wanting to do a similar thing at some stage. Therefore, what follows is a warts and all account.

Firstly, Florida is a long way away from Sydney. A long way. If you ever want to come to race, allow for some serious jet lag - especially if you have some loud mouth 2 seats behind you who talks all night on the flight from Sydney to LA. We arrived Monday night. On Tuesday night I went to bed at 11.30 but woke up at 2am - didn't get back to sleep until 6.30 and then got up at 7.

Secondly, Don't try to drive 300km and spend a day at Disney World when you've only had 2 and a half hours sleep. I did. It's hard work. But the Magic Kingdom at Disney World was great. My parents promised to take me there one day when I was 7. 28 years later, they made good!

We spent Tuesday doing some grocery shopping and then drove around the bike course. So the third insight, tip, whatever, is this: Don't come to Florida for this race so that you can enjoy the scenery. Come to race, come to say you've been to a World Championship, come because the second cousin of your old next door neighbour lives 20 miles away and you wanted to catch up, but don't come for the scenery. Clearwater Beach itself is fine, a bit like the Goldcoast in the 70's, but the one lap bike leg is the most ugly bike leg I've seen in any race anywhere. It's a rectangular shape and you start in the middle of one of the longer sides. The back straight is about 35km long. There are no turns. There are no hills. It's a bit like a dead flat, dead straight section of Parramatta Road. With (at last count) 341 fast food outlets along the way. Only the traffic lights break the monotony. Having said that, it should be fast - the surface is good, just depends on the wind on the day.

(For those that are interested, the 12 deg hill is not really 12 - I think more like 8. It is as steep as a steep section of Bobbin Head, but the elevation is probably only about 50 - 70m, so should be no probs there.)

This afternoon I will go and register and have a look at the expo. Welcome dinner is on tonight, then check in tomorrow and race the next day.

Thanks for the text messages, see you when I get back.
Stoney :D

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:50 am
by Stoney
We went to the welcome dinner. Tip number four - Find out whether or not there is a tent for the welcome dinner. This one was on the beach, in the open and it was blowing a gale. I was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt and a jumper. I lasted half an hour and then decided to come home. Two hours later, feeling has almost been restored to my face.

Hmmm, hoping tomorrow gets a bit better!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:41 pm
by Martin

This can only make you stronger!

If you needed motivations to finish in a fast time, you've got some.

Good luck


PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:29 pm
by steveh
Gidday Andrew,
Great to get your reports from Florida.

The course sounds pretty fast except for that steep little bridge. Good luck on the weekend - I hope conditions are kind and that your body holds up to the challenge. :D


PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:59 am
by Stoney
Thanks guys,

One more tip... When you're a long way from home, it helps to ride/run/swim with someone else. I hooked up with Dirk's mate Brett (thanks Dirk) and we rode and went for a swim. It was good to have someone else to chat with, watch out for cars and to remind you to stay on the right side of the road. Brett's also a funny guy, so that makes it more interesting as well.

Looking forward to the race now - only 26 hrs and 25 minutes til my wave starts. The gear is all checked in, just got to put on a wetsuit, cap and goggles and turn up!


PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:52 am
by Stoney
Ok, Here's a quick race report...

I think I was a bit nervous and still a bit jet lagged before the race. I went to bed at 10pm but woke up just before 1am. Didn't sleep for the rest of the night. The nerves were mainly due to the fact that I knew that I wasn't prepared as well as I wanted to be, but as well as I could be. But at least when my alarm went off at 5, it wasn't a struggle to get up!

We walked down to the race start, I got marked and then pumped my tyres and added bidons to the bike. With plenty of time to spare I then got my wetsuit on and soaked up some of the atmosphere.

The swim start came quickly enough, and soon i was running the 20m or so down to the beach and plunging into the cool, but not cold water. It was very busy for the first 500m or so and I took a little while to get into a rhythm. Once I did, I started to relax. As I neared the turning buoy, my thoughts as I saw plenty of green capped swimmers around me were "Hey, I'm competitive with the world's best in my age group" and I felt quite happy. Upon turning we were facing directly into the sun which made sighting buoys impossible. I just kept following the splashes in front and hoped that everyone else was heading the right way. The smooth conditions with a slight swell made for a fairly quick return so as I checked my time on exiting for the run up the beach the "32" on my stopwatch was a bonus. I was hoping for a swim of between 34 and 36 minutes. With about a 70m run up the beach to the timing mat, I clocked exactly 33. I waved to my supporters as I ripped off the cap and headed into transition.

The bike leg was soon underway and I quickly settled into a rhythm heading into a slight headwind. A flat course with few turns made it fairly uneventful although I did manage to crash into a four foot high traffic cone on the back straight. It was only a glancing blow so no harm done but I did chuckle to myself as I thought of Nev's quiz question (#8 I think?). The wind strengthened somewhat but was coming from over my right shoulder, so it wasn't too difficult to keep a good cadence on the big chain ring. I was disappointed to see tight groups of cyclists going past me, not just testing the limits of the law but blatantly drafting. The penalty box was full as I went past, so some at least, paid for their misdemeanours. It was difficult to judge my progress as I lost my bike computer at Port in April, but I felt like I was making good time. With 11 miles to go, however, heading into an ever stiffening breeze, I realised that I was starting to find the limits of my undercooked preparation. I popped a few salt tablets to try and ward of the cramping in my quads with moderate effect, but I was clearly slowing. I started to really worry about the run as well as wishing for it to arrive so I could get out of the aero position.

Eventually I made it out of T2 with 3:21 on the clock. I was reasonably happy with that. A couple of cheers from Yee-Foong and my folks helped and as I trotted past the 1 mile marker and thought of the 12 to go, I thought "this isn't too bad, 13 miles is much better than 21 km - it seems so much shorter". The down side was that the markers seemed to take forever to appear. The first 6 miles, to be honest, were horrible. I had to consistently fight the urge to stop and walk. My legs were cramping, my knees were starting to really give me trouble and I was getting hot and cold flushes. As I tried to take on fluid I made the mistake of taking half a banana at an aid station. It wasn't ripe enough. Somewhere between the 6 and 7 mile mark, my brain kicked into the right gear. I stopped thinking about everything that was going wrong and how much it hurt and kept thinking of positive things. Yes it hurt like hell, but I just thought of how close the end was and how good it was to still be running. It made it much more bearable. I caught someone from my age group with about 3 miles to go. I passed but he stayed on my shoulder. I used the competition to keep myself going and we stayed in step for almost 2 miles. Every time I thought of slowing, I thought "he's hurting just as much, probably more". With a mile and a half to go I put in a surge for 100m and managed to break the elastic. I held on to bring it home in 5:16 - about a 5 min PB, which I was pretty happy with given that 6 weeks ago, i thought I wouldn't be here.

Final tip: Don't try to run a half marathon with only 30km of running in the previous 4 months, and if you do, expect it to hurt!

Adios amigos, I'm off to Crabby Bills for some stone crab for lunch. Enjoy the next biathlon and see you when I get back!


PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:08 am
by Lisa
Great blurb Stoney, great result! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope the Crab lived up to your expectations!!!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:40 am
by Martin
You sure did a great race. A PB after the hold ups you've had is unreal.

Not so sure about hot and cold flushes, mate?? I'll let that one go through to the keeper.

Work on your Aussie terminology some more and get rid of those 'miles' etc or they'll make you sit an Australian citizenship test before they will let you back in!

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