Friday May 31 I packed my race and camping gear into the truck and made the drive to Show Low, Arizona along with my support crew (wife and dog). From 2600ft to 6400ft elevation. After arriving, I set up camp at Fool Hollow lake under the pines.
After a little relaxing I rode my bike down to the race venue (about 3/4 mile from camp) and picked up my race packet. After riding back to camp I enjoyed a pasta dinner with a view.
Final prep on my gear and then a little more relaxing as the sun set over the lake.
Early to sleep, early to rise. Alarm woke me at 5. A quick breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel. I then grabbed my TriSports.com TYR gear bag and rode down to the transition area.
I racked my bike and set up my gear in my assigned spot. Body marked #345. After a little socializing it was time to squeeze into the wetsuit and head down to the boat ramp for the race start. On the way down I slurped down a gel. I had been told the day before that water tempature was a brisk 57 degrees. As I entered the water to warm up I was expecting the cold shock on my face. It never came. water felt like it was at least mid 60’s…perfect for a wetsuit swim. I did a short warmup and then found my spot on the start line. At 7am the start horn sounded and we were off for a 1.2 mile 2 lap triangle shaped swim. I quickly got into my pace and felt good during the swim. I swam straight along the buey line. The 2 loop swim made the swim seem to go by quicker. I had clean water for nearly the entire swim. You definately have to pace yourself at 6400 feet elevation. I hit land in 32:35. A solid time for me. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they yanked my wetsuit off in one swift yank. Then it was a run up the boat ramp into the transition. The run up the ramp is an anarobic venture! In and out of transition in 0:44…goggles,wetwuit and cap on the ground, helmet on, go. I ran to the mount line and threw my leg over the bike. The mount area is uphill! It took 2 attempts to get going with enough momentom to get my other foot on the shoe. Once under way I slipped my feet into my shoes and then got up to speed. The course is a single lap of 56 miles (my garmin shows it a bit over 57). The first 40 miles are big rollers and gusting side winds. I was feeling good and picking off some of the speedy swimmers. At mile 40 you turn into the town of Taylor and begin a 10 mile climb back to Show Low. The wind became tail wind and the sun began to heat up. The tail wind created a vacuum affect and made the heat feel even hotter. I was still feeling good and picked off a few more people. After getting back into town there are a few more rollers and then a nice downhill the final couple miles. As I approached the transition I slipped out of my bike shoes. I hit the ground running at the dismount line after a 2:35:10 split. During the bike I consumed a large bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water and my consentrated mix of Carbo-Pro. I racked my bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and was out of transition in 1:15. I finished getting “dressed” on the go. The 13.1 mile 2 loop run is slightly rolling with a combination of groomed trail, cement road and dirt road. The first 1.5 miles of trail running I felt fairly good. As I exited the trail onto the cement in the campground a nasty little hill brought out the cramping in my legs. I backed off the pace to try and get the cramps under control. At the top of the hill I stopped and took a few seconds to try to strech out the legs. This relieved the craamps for a short period but then they returned. I took in water and gatorade at the aid stations and downed salt tablets. As I hit the out and back section, lovingly refered to as the “death road” due to its lack of shade, my pace was slow but I was still moving forward. After the death road you return along the lake, climb one more hill and then do it all over again. As I started out on the second loop my energy levels were low. In my focus on getting rid of my cramps I had neglected to take in any fuel other than the gatorade. As I hit the first hill aafter the trail I was slowed to a near walk. I took in a gel at the next aid station and continued to get liquids in me. The next aid station I took in another gel. Just as my energy levels started to return the fluids in my stomach began to slosh around…not a good feeling. I struggled through the second trip through the death road. The sun was much more intense this time. As I returned to the campground/lake area I just wanted to get to the finish line.
I had lost quiet a few places as i was being passed during my meltdown. Full on damage control. 1:58:23 and my “run” was over. I crossed the line in 5:08:44. I had held on for 14th overall and 3rd in my agegroup. It wasn’t my best day out there but I hung on to finish. A nice dip in the lake afterwards was refreshing although a bit chilling without a wetsuit.
On Sunday I backed up my race with volunteering at the Xterra race. On sore legs I spent the morning body marking and then kept everyone on the correct path on the run.