"There is no such thing as bad weather, only soft people."
Well, I must getting soft. Then again, you be the judge.
The weather was a bit apocalyptic for the Winter Be Gone! duathlon held in Oronoco, Minnesota on April 26. In no particular order, there was rain-thunder-lightning-hail and then it really started to pour. Oh, and it was hovering around 42-degrees at the time.
In all, the weather was pretty awful. When I left the hotel, it was cloudy but still dry. As I drove to the course it started raining. I arrived about 80-minutes prior to the scheduled start and I knew something was up as there were only about twelve bikes in the transition area. I surmised that most people were waiting to the last minute, seeing what the weather would bring, before heading out the door.
The rain became steady and I just corralled the bike and headed to the outdoor pavilion where everyone was gathering. No one was warming up. Just standing around and talking. My shoes and socks were soaked just walking from transition to the safety of the pavilion.
I met Jeremy from the Tri-Talk forums and fellow blogger Jon and we started to chat up the conditions. More people came and immediately made a bee line for shelter as well. Much of the talk was now whether or not the race would be cancelled or if one would even race in the horrible conditions.
The it started to thunder and hail. Yep, it was getting better!
Bill Nevala, the race director, made a announcement that he was going to wait to make a call on the race. He had gotten word that we might have a window of opportunity in which to make it happen. He had some guy watching radar. He was communicating this as it started to hail, thunder and lightening. Some people started to leave. I was close to just bagging it as well.
Bill announced that he wanted to wait 30-mins as the radar still showed a window to get 'er done. I thought this was reasonable. Keep in mind everyone is still under the pavilion and no one is warming up...just trying to keep warm.
It was then announced that there would be no long-course event, and everyone would run the short course. So we're all standing around digesting that and then came the announcement, "Ten minutes to the gun. You have ten minutes to get to the start line". Christ, I hadn't even laid out my gear yet.
So I'm like, 'sod it all, I'm going home'. I go to take a pee and then decide, 'why not'. It's my birthday and it could be fun. I quickly lay out my gear and head to the start line, realizing I forgot to lay out this and that. Thank God some people had not picked up their timing chip so we had some time to warm-up.
Mind you, its like 42-degrees. Gun goes off and I'm doing OK on the first run. I was hoping to run 15-mins (2.25 miles first run) which would have been 6:40 pace. Per the results I did 14:25 (6:24). Actually the results show pace for 2-miles but the course was an announced 2.25 miles. In any event that first run was not too bad for a guy who had run a total of twelve miles for April. My right Achilles and heel were acting up a bit so I had to back off.
Note - For those using a Garmin, I show run One as 2.15 miles, the bike as 13.06 miles and run Two as 1.86 miles. What did yours show?
The bike was stone cold awful. 20mph+ wind into our faces straight off and it was a hilly course. I'm just trying to stay steady, let alone trying to master an effort since I was riding with a disc rear wheel. We hit the turn-around and the sky opens up and it's pouring rain straight into my face. I'm soaked, my shoes are totally soaked, and I'm miserable but I muster on. It was akin to riding in a bathtub. I hang in there anyway. Was shooting for 20.5 mph which I should have easily done and ended up at 18.4 mph.....so way off pace. But like I care at this point. I slowed waaaayyyy down for each turn. Damned if I was going to break a collarbone or something.
The second run was a 2-mile out-back. I start out with my bike helmet on...doh!..and have to turn back to throw it back into transition. My right Achilles/heel had reduced me to a steady limp. But I ended up with a respectable 14:11 (7:06 pace). I won my division (45-49) which is all one can ask at this point of life!
I figure between taking my time in both transitions to put on more socks, fumble with my shoes as my hands are cold, and the bad bike split I should have been 6 minutes faster. I had a lot left for the runs but the bad leg held me back. I gotta resolve that soon. Next race (tri) in 3-weeks.
All the fellow tri-geeks I met did well. Jeremy had a wardrobe malfunction, however. He was ahead of me on the bike and I see him suddenly pull off. As I pass him on the side of the rode he holds up his chain in both hands. It had broken on him. That was too bad as he had a good one going.
It was great to meet Jeremy, Jon, Stevel Stenzel, Mario Minelli and so many others.
Mario stated that Bill was considering not doing the event after this year as there has been bad weather the last two years. Too bad as the race is a good lead off for the season. Maybe he changes it to a single course (no dual long and short course)?
Send Bill an e-mail to thank him for putting on the race and if you want it to continue. Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had a nice chat with race winner Scott Penticoff who is shooting for IM Wisconsin and another shot at Kona. My congratulations to everyone who came and conquered the weather. Here's to ideal conditions at the next event!