Monday, September 5, 2011

Split Double Header

Last weekend I had two "events" on my calendar - the Quassapaug Sailing Center Open Water Swim Festival on Saturday and the Golden Apple Century on Sunday. One was a fail and one was not hence the split double header metaphor.

Lake Quassapaug is the site of the Rev3 Quassy and I did the aqua velo there earlier this year. I didn't have a good swim that day but the QSCOWSF race didn't leave at the amusement park end of the park but was held at the "other" end. The swim festival had three races: a 3 mile race, a 1.5 mile race, and a 1/2 mile. Many people did all three. I signed up for the 1.5m and the goal was to get a sense of a timing for my upcoming ironman swim.

When I showed up it was a very low key environment. The leaders of the 3 mile swim were just finishing and I noticed that the leaders were not wearing wetsuits. The water temperature was 73 degrees (which I consider perfect wetsuit temperature) but the later finishers did have neoprene. You could easily tell the swimmers from the triathletes and not just by time. I ran into a problem where my smoked lens goggles weren't that comfortable due to an issue with the rubber around the lens but had a spare set of clear goggles. Since the sky was overcast that would work fine.

I have a tendency to go out too conservatively on the swim and my times often don't reflect my ability. I didn't want to hammer on this swim but I did want to go faster than I would normally go. The course was set up as 6 buoys out and come back. Buoy 2 was a 1/4 mile, 4 was a half, and 6 was 3/4. I said beforehand that if I was over an hour I'd be disappointed.

The race was uneventful. I felt my siting was a bit off. There was more contact than I expected but I made the turn in 26:07 and was happy. On the return the wind kicked up a but causing a minor chop. I finished in 56:37 which translates into a 90 minute or so Ironman swim. I was happy and it didn't take too much out of me.

Sunday was a different story. Years ago I rode the Golden Apple Century and it completely kicked my ass to the point that I was considering not cycling any more. It was time for a rematch and the Golden Apple kicked my ass again. Without mercy.

This is a difficult ride. There are no real monster hills but I describe the day as death by a thousand cuts. It was very humid and the sweat was pouring off me. Then I realized I was in the hydration danger zone when the sweat stopped. Most of the route is via country roads and there were not enough opportunities to reload enough water to keep going. Still, I did. Even though I drank 9 bottles, I was parched. Riders were talking about short cuts to get back to the start/finish/cars but I kept going. I couldn't find the mini rest stop at the 88 mile mark. I felt very shaky. I walked up a more hills than I care to remember. I saw another rider and asked if he saw the rest stop and he said no. I saw he had fluid and begged some water off him. He saved me as I was considering drinking out of a pond. I finished riding when I saw a Dunkin Donuts near the end. I wound up doing 99 miles and didn't feel the need to go the mile+ to the finish just to come back. I called it a day.

Why did I do so poorly? Was it the course? Was it that I failed hydration? Was it that there were not enough rest stops (although the baked potatoes were a godsend)? I doubt I'll ever know. On the positive side, even though I got schooled, I learned some lessons that will help me for my Ironman.

There still needs to be a Golden Apple redemption ride in the future though.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

So the swim was a huge success. yay!

and as you said, there were lessons to be learned from that "bad" apple. lessons are a success, even if the ride wasn't so much a success.