Friday, September 6, 2013

Tri Barry

Rule 42 from the Velominati's Way of the Cycling Disciple states that a bike race shall never be precede with a swim and/or followed by a run:

I have recently violated this rule by competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon last Sunday. Not only does that place me in the cycling penalty box, but I suppose that also makes me a regular Tri-guy.

I prefer Tri-Barry.

For my regular readers, it should come as no surprise that a common theme around here at steel-cut goodness is that I try to keep the playing field level. When I pick on something -- or tease someone-- it's usually because I'm just as guilty as charged on the subject matter. Promise. This was the case with triathlons. You see, back in June when I lamented about the tri-guy, I had already signed up for the Hy-Vee Triathlon. In short, I was already that tri-guy, guy.

Not only that, but I had also begun super-secret triathlon training. Secret, if you don't follow my Strava feed, because it was all laid out there. Triathletes do specific bike-run workouts called bricks. I also did open water swims before many of these bricks. And plenty of track workouts (run). All of these were dutifully recorded on my public Strava feed.

Some of my Strava friends took notice. Jordan Ross and my brother Brendan gave Kudos for a couple of my brick workouts. And Dr Eric O'Brien commented on one of my open water swim segments that he didn't know me anymore. The same goes for Paul Webb, who had left this ribbing on my MWCC Trek Team Triathlon kit:

As a result of this specific training, and the amount of time I invested into the race, I recently skipped the Papillion Twilight Crit (bike) race and volunteered as a corner marshal instead. While volunteering, I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen in a while. She commented that she heard that I had gotten into mountain biking this summer and wondered how that was going. Mountain biking was so two months ago. So while I explained that my current focus was getting ready for Hy-Vee, she cocked her head a little sideways, then said, "Mountain biking, road racing, triathlons... you're kind of all over the place, aren't you?"

"Well, Jackie," I said, "I just really enjoy riding my bike a lot, and -- squirrel!!"

The race itself was a lot of fun. The Hy-Vee triathlon is an olympic distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) race. It's also huge in terms of participants -- well over 1,000 entrants. Why so many? For one, the winner gets a $100,000 pay check. But it's also managed well, and comes with a lot of extra goodies besides prize money.

Leading up to the race, my training bricks were going well. Swims and bike were good. And I ran a number of sub 40 minute training 10Ks right off the bike. As a result, I was excited to toe up to the starting line. In fact, I was ready to open up a huge can of whoop ass on the field. The problem was that, as an age grouper who's no spring chicken, I had to wait a long time before my wave started. On top of that, a thunderstorm delayed the race start 45 minutes. So I waited an extraordinary long time. In fact, the pros had already finished their sub two hour race before I even started. So what did I do during all that extra time?

I peed. A lot. In the lake. And it was good.

The swim portion is in Gray's Lake. A better name should be Yellow Lake. Or, Lake Ur-In. Because I peed in it at least six times before my race started. That's a conservative guess. True story.

I suspect that all that peeing had some effect on my performance. And not in a good way. My quads started quivering to the point of cramping near the end of the swim. Fortunately, I had no troubles on the bike. But I suffered on the run: my left calf cramped so severely 20 minutes in that I had to walk for a moment to let it relax. From there in, I gutted out 7:15/mi for a +42 minute run (results).

Oh well, I still had a lot of fun hamming it up with the rest of the tri-dorks afterwards. Here are a few pictures from my post-race press conference:

So yes, Jackie, I'm all over the place. Especially if there's a bicycle involved. Does that make me an obnoxious, over-the-top tri-guy?

If the tri-suit fits, I'll wear it.


  1. NOT Paul Webb. I added that note--as an addendum to my earlier Strava-trolling. Continuity leads to humor.