After waiting for three years, having the race postponed for reasons we all know, this was the year that all the training came to fruition.
Flew into Sacramento on Friday, and did an early morning check-in. Was postponing my bike pickup until Saturday, as I had it all tuned up and ready to go. So was just planning on picking the bike up, spinning it out for 30 mins, and then dropping it off at T1.
However, fate had something else in mind. I went to the Tri Bike Transport booth, and after a search could not find my bike. Got told that my bike may be among the 2 bikes, that have been stolen. I did not believe it. My power pedals and race wheels were on the bike. I was stunned, but still not stressed, don’t know why. While the TBT guy was all crying, I still was not stressed.
After concluding that my bike is stolen, TBT offered to take care of me by providing me a rental bike from PlayTri sports. Great, they had a frame size for me, but the bike fit was pretty awful. The crank was 10 mm longer than I am used to, the aero bars were wider than I am used to, and my body was in a crunched position.
Took the bike for a spin 2-3 times for 30-40 mins each, so as to dial in the fit as much as I can.
Woke up at 4am after a night of pretty good sleep. Packed the bags, packed some oats, and off to the race venue 12 – 15 mins drive.
Special needs bag drop-off was pretty easy. After that headed over to the bike area, added the bike bottles, walked back into the changing tent, and in quiteness ate my pre-race oats. Had a lot of time in hand, and I wanted to head to the swim start sooner than later. Was lucky to get on the bus early, as later I learned that people were in the Transition until 7:30 am.
The swim was fast, in spite of poor buoy placements at the turnarounds. The swim was in the river, downstream. I clocked in a sub 1 hr swim for a 2.4 mile, which was pretty cool. The swim finish was not well marked, and therefore I kind of missed the finish, and passed the swim line, before being asked by a volunteer to swim back against the current.
The longest transition I have seen. 1.1 mile of running to get the bike, and then bike out.
112 miles on an unfitted bike. The bike course was flat and supposedly super fast. But the wind on the course was brutal.There was hardly much of a tail wind. Either head wind or cross wind, with gusts of 50 mph.
I kept the first half conservative for 1) course being too windy, so wanted to save the matches for the run, and 2) new bike with a poor fit.
Nutrition on the bike was also a challenge, as I could not fit in everything that I needed, so put the extras in the special needs bag.
Anyways, was able to complete the bike in over 7 hours (was expecting a conservative sub 6 finish here).
Bike to run transition was relatively easy. stretched out my back a bit while changing into run shoes. Meniscus on the both the knees had been irritated.
Started running from the Transition, and the run was perfect for the first half, about 12 -13 miles. Stomach was bloated, and it was getting hard to run with stomach irritation. During the run, I made sure to take in water, and coke from each aid station, but that did not help much.
After 13 miles, I started doing a run walk until mile 16, when I joined a very nice lady, whose walking speed was better than my run-walk speed. Walked out the rest of the marathon with her, as the legs were thrashed and felt jelly.
Conrolling the controllable was what I was doing. I wish I had my own bike, that would have allowed me to land a bit better on the run. Concluded the run by walking two loops around the capitol state building, and running the last 100m to the finish line.
I do not plan to do another full distance in the near future !!
As I write this post after 2-3 days of the event, I actually do not feel a big achievement. It feels like completing any other 70.3 triathlon and body has been recovering really well. Might just mean that my coach and I did a good job in the training.