Another month, another triathlon. Team CurbCrusher continued the 2008 triathlon season with a race in Ormond Beach, Florida. This race is put on by the local YMCA, and is held where State Road 40 intersects with A1A. A picturesque swim in the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a ten mile bike ride and a three mile run. Great race setting and a great day for racing.
Ormond Beach is about an hour and fifteen minutes from the CurbCrusher homestead, so this and a 7:00AM start time meant another early triathalon morning. A little easier this month than last as Lady CurbCrusher and Little CurbCrusher choose to sleep in and go to church instead of watching CurbCrusher race. The drive over was uneventful, and I arrived around 6:00AM. This race was put on by AltaVista sports, the company that put on the very first triathlon that I ever did. Compared to the gang that put on Ft. Desoto, they were not as organized, but I was able to have my USAT card checked, get a number, champion chip timing device, t-shirt and body marking done in pretty short order.
Setting up transition was fairly easy. I like my bike at the back of the rack, and my number fell in the group that racked right up against the edge of transition. I got my coveted next to the netting spot, and set up the bike, towel and five gallon bucket. Putting my number on was easier this month, a I parted with five dollars and purchased a number belt, a stretchy belt that you attach the number to and then just put on in transition. No more crooked number for me. I was finished and ready to go by 6:30AM.
So I wandered across A1A to the beach, and watched the water and the life guards arrival. The wind was out of the North-North East, and the seas were probably 2 – 4 feet. I want to say they were taller, because when the swim started and I was making my way to the first buoy, some of the waves were breaking over my head. About ten till seven, the life guards put the buoys out and we walked down to the start line.
The Swim – 11:18
The swim would have been a breeze in a lake, or even in the Gulf, but this was the Atlantic. The horn blows and you start walking out to water deep enough to swim in. The waves are breaking over you, and you can’t really swim into them. You can dive through them, or hop over them, but it takes a while to get to where they aren’t breaking any more. This puts you just about to the buoy. Now you’ve got to swim parallel to the shore, but the current and the wind are blowing right into the shore, so you need to navigate to the left (seaward) in order to make sure you don’t go inside the other buoys. If you breathe during the trough of the swell, you don’t see anything but water. You have to time your breaths with the top of the swells so that you can see where you are. About half way down I’m thinking, darn I should have seen that middle buoy by now. A couple of breaths later, I turn my head to the right and wham! There’s the blamed thing right in my face.
Turning right at the final buoy is a challenge also. You’d like to swim perpendicular to the shore so that you don’t have to run a extra thirty or so yards on the beach. But the wind and the current want you to run that extra thirty yards. After about 20 seconds of trying to fight the angle on the current, I finally decided that it was a waste of energy, and let the waves carry me in.
T1 – 4:28
Not too far to run, most of it up the beach. Then you cross A1A and into the transition area. I get my shirt on, my sunglasses and helmet. Then sit on the bucket and get my shoes on. Grab the bike and head for the transition exit.
Bike – 32:26
So, I get mounted and headed west on SR 40. Not bad, then you turn right, north, and you get that wind quartering you on the right front. It is broken a bit by the houses that are between you and A1A and the coast, but you can still feel it. I change the cycle computer to cadence mode and concentrate on keeping about a 85 cadence. About two miles into this I start thinking “Hey, maybe I should have ridden my bike more this past month!” The reason I think this is because, except for the mile commute to work, I haven’t been biking since Ft. Desoto. Of course its too late to worry about it now, but it does strike me as something to remember.
Biking gets easier about half way through. That’s because you make another right turn and head over to A1A. Then you get to make the turn South on A1A. Now the wind is quartering on my back left and I get to use some of the high gears. Keeping my cadence around 85, I find myself running 22 – 23 MPH. I’m even passing some people!
T2 – 0:53
This one is quick, it usually is. Rack the bike, and two new things to do. Grab the race belt with the number and snap it on, and grab a hat. I’ve never run with a hat, but last year at the final Moss Park Tri, they gave away these “sweat vacuum” hats, and I’ve been running with it on for my long run each week. I actually sort of like it, so I figured today would be a great race day to try it.
Run – 30:56
The run course starts just like the bike course. But at about a mile and a half you turn right and cut back over to A1A and then back to the start line. At the first mile I look at the watch and find I’ve run a 10:01. That’s great! I’d love to keep this run under 30 minutes, but I also know that I don’t want to blow up on the run and take more than about 35 minutes or I’ll miss the time goal I’ve set for myself in the race. I try and keep the pace, and at mile two I’m at about 21:15. I’ve slowed some, but my time goal is well within reach, and I try an run a little faster.
Well, its over. I’ve run a 1:20:04 and I’m a happy man. Two weeks ago, I’d set 1:30 as my goal. Then I’d come across some race results from about ten years ago when I ran a different race on pretty much this same course. My time then had been 1:24. I’ve always thought of myself as being more fit back then. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I should shoot for beating that old time. So arriving in Ormond Beach this morning I was hoping for something better than 1:24. And I got it, by four minutes (give or take a couple of seconds). Yay!
The next scheduled race for Team CurbCrusher is the Baldwin Park Tri in Orlando the end of June.