Team CurbCrusher is out racing again. Although what happened at the end can not be called racing, more like surviving. This month’s triathlon installment is the OUC Downtown Orlando Triathlon. This race starts with a quarter mile swim in Lake Underhill, located just south of Orlando Executive Airport, followed by two laps on the bike that takes you to downtown Orlando and back for a total of 12 miles. Then its a one way run of 3.9 miles from Lake Underhill to Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando.
I wandered downtown on Friday and picked up my packed at the Y. That made Saturday morning a bit nicer, but I still got up early and headed the three miles up the road to Lake Underhill. The pre-race email said they would close the road around Lake Underhill at 6:30am, and I wanted to park off Lake Underhill so I was there in plenty of time.
The transition area was set up very nicely. Not only did they have the range of numbers on the racks to let you know which rack to use, they actually had a number at the location where your bike was to be racked. Evens on one side and odds on the other. In addition, they had officials working the transition area making sure that all bikes were racked and equipment set up within the rules. Alta Vista was running they race, and they run a good tight transition area, only athletes in transition at all times, and they make sure they check body markings and numbers on the bikes when you exit.
I set up my stuff and did my usual walk through. I walk down to the swim finish and then back to my racked bike. Then leave through the bike start. Re-enter at the bike finish and walk back to my racked bike. Then walk to the run start. Sort of a rehearsal of the transitions so that I know where my spot is in relation to the entrances and exits.
Swim – 10:49
I’m in the third wave this race. The first wave is all the folks over 50. Second wave is the 20 year olds, and they put all the 40’s in the third wave. You start this race in the water, treading water actually. When the wave is called, we all walk down the boat ramp and dog paddle, tread our way over to the start line (an imaginary line between a no wake bouy and the dock). The horn sounds and I start swimming. The water is clearer than what you experience at Lake Mary Jane in the Moss Park races, but there are a heck of a lot of weeds in the water. As you look down, you see weeds. They grow high enough in a number of places that as your arm strokes through the water they get tangled on your arm. On the inbound leg of the swim, I have to slow down three times to reset my watch band, because the weeds have pulled the velcro off and it is working its way off my arm. Needless to say this makes for a very errie, weird feeling swim.
T1 – 4:11
One nice thing about this race is that the transition area is real close to the swim finish. Up and out of the water, and your at the entrance to transition. I put on the bike jersey, helmet and shade. Find my shoes and get them on grab the bike and head to bike start.
Bike – 41:22
On the bike you start with a smooth ride along Lake Underhill, then turn west on South Street. This is where the smooth ride ends. South Street has a number of pot holes, water and sewer covers, not to mention bumpy intersections, that the seat on the bike is just beating up your rear end. The nice thing is that the wind is out of the east, so I was able to get some pretty good speed, I was just waiting for a tire to go flat going over all those bumps. At Rosalind Street we turn north, and head up past Lake Eola, then take a left and head east on Robinson Street. Robinson starts out as bad as South, but smooths out just past Howard Middle School. The wind doesn’t seem like it is too bad headed east on Robinson, as a matter of fact it felt like it helped more headed west than hurt headed east. At Crystal Lake, by Herndon, you turn south. The first time you take a right at South and head back for another lap. The second time by you take a left and head back the transition. I was pretty happy with the bike time, I averaged a bit over 17MPH, and that’s a good bit better than I was doing last October.
T2 – 1:48
Easy transition. Rack the bike, change from the bike jersey to a dry shirt, grab my hat and go.
Run – 55:53
Ok, this sucked. It started out good. The run course went up Crystal Lake to Robinson and then to downtown. So it basically as the north part of the bike lap in reverse. So on the second bike lap I’d checked the distances to the water stations and back to the transition. I ran about 10-11 minute miles to the first water station, reaching it at about 14 minutes. Not bad. I’m thinking this is going to work out ok. Then I turned west on Robinson. The sun was out and shining bright, but I was running away from it. However, with a dark pair of shorts on, I could feel the heat coming off the road and cooking my rear end and thighs. I wish I could find some light colored tri-shorts to wear. I just kept getting slower and slower, and really not liking the run at all. I was at about 38 minutes at the second water station, which was a little over a mile from the finish. That last bit to the finish was bad, I walked a few times, and just sort of looked to survive the end.
Finish – 1:54:05
The race took you down Orange Avenue, then right into Wall Street Plaza to finish. Yay!! I’m done. I was really hoping for about a 1:45, but it was over. Wall Street Plaza is a crappy place to finish a race. There were so many people in that little alley that is was almost impossible to breathe. You had to walk all the way through the throngs of people to the end of that little alley, then they had blocked off direct access to the park in front of the history center. To get somewhere to breathe and feel a bit of a breeze on you, you had to walk south to Central (I think its Central). Because of the crowd in Wall Street Plaza it was almost impossible to find any post race food, I was lucky to locate the water and sucked down a couple of bottles.
To get back to the transition area, Lynx was running a special shuttle bus. I wandered over and was packed into a standing room only city bus with a bunch of other sweaty triathletes for the four mile ride back to Lake Underhill.
All in all a good day. It’s almost the end of the CurbCrusher triathlon season. There may be one more race at Moss Park in October. At some point I have to start concentrating on running, as I agreed to do the OUC Half Marathon the first weekend in December with a couple of friends from work. I’ve wanted to do the half-marathon for a number of years, and decided that this is the year that I’m doing it.