Lorain Olympic 2008

On Sunday was NCN’s Lorain Sprint/Olympic tri, at Lakeview Park [1] on the far west side. I opted for the longer distance; I missed my chance at an oly earlier with the swim cancellation at GTC, and needed to offset a fair amount of couch-sitting watching the actual olympics.

First, if you’re driving an hour to a 7am race registration, remember to leave time to find a bridge completely closed for repair and investigate detour possibilities. I did so, surprisingly. The sprint waves were scheduled to start at 8 but started late (par for the course, I learned), so the olympic wouldn’t depart until 8:30. That left me just enough time to break off my front valve stem while topping off to 120 psi, then jog over to the Bike Authority tent for a quicker (and more reliable) tube change than I could have managed myself. I racked the bike, dropped my gear into little piles on my stripy blue towel and headed toward the beach.

The weather was beautiful, though we could tell at 8:30 that the run a couple hours later would be toasty. The swim was largely outside the breakwall and featured reasonable rollers, enough that breathing into the waves was (for me, at least) impossible. Once I got that rhythm down I reduced my intake of crisp, clean Lake Erie and was able to start swimming; yet, it took me a solid 15 minutes to do so. That swim ate my lunch like a sixth grade bully. [2] (Fortunately, it would be nice enough to return it halfway through the run.) Regardless, starting at about the halfway point I did really start to enjoy the swim. I was slow, and a wetsuit wouldn’t have hurt, but I had a steady crawl going and it started to feel like a nice pool workout interjected by the occasional panicked search for and realignment toward the next buoy. I express my displeasure in histogram form.
The bike and run were uneventful. The bike course was fairly flat, two loops. I averaged 19.4 mph for 22-ish miles, which is about right for me but sub-median in this crowd, composed mostly of the 20-22 crowd. Transition to the run was fair; I had taken in one bottle on the bike but needed more, not having hydrated well before the race. That hit me on the run, which started off as expected (painful for the first mile, then picks up) but just died at about mile 4. I ran / jogged / limped through cramps and dizziness for most of miles 4 and 5; either my gel and generous use of gatorade stops or fear of a weak-looking finish in front of the crowd helped pick up the last mile or so. 10k at 9:19/mi, bringing me one bar further left in the aforeshown histogram.

[1] Not to be confused with Lakeside Park (willows in the breeze / so many memories?)
[2] As I recall, no bully ever actually did this to my lunch, not even on cucumber sandwich day

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