There were a lot of prerace logistics involved in this race. We went to pick up the race packets on Saturday. The athletes guide said they opened at 8:30 and we got there and found out they did not ope til 10, so we hung out for a while and started the line. That was a very good decision because if we got there any later in the day it would have been a 2-3 hour wait to pick up the race packet. I picked up some shirts and a hat during the expo.
The race started at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett, RI which was about 45 minutes away but finished in downtown Providence. This meant you had to get your bike down to the beach on Saturday for storage overnight. You also had to have a “clean” transition area. That meant everything had to be in one of the provided bags.
The green one is for your morning clothes to be transported to the finish. The black one is for your bike stuff and then your wetsuit after you get out of the water and put your bike stuff. There was a red bag that was used for the run gear and dropped off in downtown Providence.
We got everything taken care of on Friday and did some swimming to see what the current felt like.
Sunday was an early wake up call. The race started at 6:00 am and the shuttle bus to the race start left at 3:30 so that meant the alarm went off at 2:55. What was interesting about this was seeing all triathletes walking in their spandex with their families to the bus loading area while a good stream of people were coming back after a night out parting. There was a lot of weird looks exchanged.
We got to the race start fine and I made sure the bike was ok. My wave didn’t go off until 7:05 so I had a lot of time to wait. I was able to see the pros start and do the transition.
Swim (1.2 miles, 35:52, 1:53/100m)
These are some pictures I took from Saturday. It looks like a really long way when you stand on the shore and look out, it’s all the way out to the orange in the first picture. The swim was exactly what I was expecting in terms of time. The course was a counter clockwise loop of a narrow rectangle. I started towards the front and on the outside right. This was first rae with an ocean swim and I enjoyed the start with running into the waves and diving through them.
The out part of the course was uneventful I stayed off towards the right and only had to navigate through two or three people and was able to stay on the feet of someone about as fast as me.
It started to get congested at the turn and I had to slow down as I caught up to some people in an earlier wave. Heading back toward the beach I got pushed off course a little by the current and had to correct myself a few times.
I tried to catch a wave back in when I got towards the beach but wasn’t able to. I looked at my watch to check my time and was very happy with it.
There was a decent run from the beach to the bike area. My time was on the longer side because I decided to visit the bathroom before the bike instead of taking a break once on the bike.
Bike (56 miles, 3:11:44, 17.52 mph)
The course was point to point and covered most of the state. The first half of the bike was fantastic. It went along the coast and we biked under this bridge/castle thing near Narragansett state beach before heading along some gorgeous coast line. The race photographers got some good pictures with the water in the background that I looking forward to seeing.
I was also moving along very fast I avered about 22 mph over the first 24 miles on the course. We drove the course on the way back from the beach Saturday which was good because I knew what to expect and where the hills were at.
At about mile 25 I rode over a fairly large rock in the road and I think that’s how I got my flat. But however it happened I got a flat and stopped to fix it. This was my first flat ever and the first time I had to change a tube with my new race wheels. I took off the tire and removed the tube. Because the wheels have deep rims there is also a valve extender that needs to added so you can still have access to the valve when the tube is on. I put the extender on and put the tube and tire back together. I then went to use the CO2 to re-inflate the tube.
It didn’t work and I figured I used to the CO2 wrong so I took out my other carterige and tried it again. Same thing, no pressure in the tire. I thougth about it for a second and realized I forgot to open the valve on the tube before I put the extender on. I fixed it but I was out of CO2 so I had to wait and hope someone with a pump came by.
I waited for about twenty minutes and luckily someone stopped and had a pump for me to use. It was a guy and his two kids driving the course just helping people out. I thanked them and continued on my way.
I got a half mile down the rode and realized my quick release lever on the front wheel was on three quarters of the way closed so I had to stop and close that.
Afterwards I finished up the bike uneventfully. There was one decent climb but the rest was fast and somewhat flat/downhill. I took it easy on some of the downhills because I was worried about the tire the whole way. The roads heading into downtown got really rough and narrow which cost me some more time but overall it was a nice and fast course.
I stopped my garmin when I went to fix the flat and started it again when I got going. Without the flat I would have gone about 2:45 for about a 20 mph average which was what I was looking for.
T2 ( 2:30)
The transition was on the state capital grounds which was really neat.
Run (13.1 miles, 2:16:43, 10:26/mile)
This was the part I was worried about. With the ankle injury a few months ago I missed a lot of run training and knew that I wasn’t where I needed to be at to have a fast run.
I got out of transistion and onto the run with my legs feeling good. The course was two laps so there was a lot of people out on the course, the atmosphere was amazing. After about a 1/2 mile I came to the hill that went up to Brown University. This was like nothing I have run on before, it was used for street luge when the X-games took place in Providence. I ran half way up the hill and walked the rest when I relized I was going so slow it wasn’t worth the extra effort to run. Once you got up to the top of hill it was less hilly but there really wasn’t a flat spot on the course.
I made sure I was stopping at every aid station to get water, gatorade, and an orange every other mile. This seemed to be just the right amount of food for me. They also had sponges that were soaked in ice cold water which where fantastic since it was starting to get hotter out.
You also had to go back down the hill which was interesting to be doing on tired legs. I got to the turn around in about 1:02 which I felt was a good time.
I saw Adam coming down towards the finish on his second lap as I was going out again, he came in at just over five hours because of an awesome 2:30 bike split. He set a PR by about 20 minutes.
The second time around I stopped at the aid station at the bottom of the big hill and walked up the entire way. When I got to the top of hill I was exhausted. The rest of the way was a jog/walk between aid stations and gutting it out to the finish.
I came back down the hill and the last aid station. The volunteers asked if I wanted to be drenched in water and I said yes, they all emptied their cups they had on me and felt great. All of the volunteers and spectators on the course had a great attitude and were so helpful.
I ran the last mile and half to the finish which was in a great spot right on the steps of the capital building. It was such a rush to come down the finish chute and complete the race.
I was exhausted. I stood for the finish line and then stumbled around to get some food and sit down. I watched some more people finish and then grabbed all my gear and went back to the hotel, showered and went out to get some food. We wound up at the cheesecake factory which was right across the street from the finish line and had an enormous amount of food and watched some the last people finish up. I went back to the hotel room and took a four and half hour “nap”, woke up for about two hours and then went to sleep for the night.
The overall time wasn’t what I was looking for but considering all the things that I had to go through with the ankle injury and the bike incident the fact I was able to finish was great. I would have exceed my goal by a wide margin if I had taken care of the flat correctly which also feels good.
This was a fantastic experience and I am ready to sign up for the next one and set a new PR. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the race. I am also thinking there may be a full Ironman in my future but I’ll wait and see on that one.
What I found extremely motivating was the disabled athletes division, particularly a wheelchair racer. If I recall correctly from the local paper he was injured in a boating accident and lost both legs. I saw him getting into the water right after the pro start and get beat around by the waves as he was heading out.
I saw him again on the run course when I was going the down big hill and he was coming up it. He was in a wheelchair like the one below.
How he got himself up that hill I have no idea but that was absolutely amazing. He had one hand on the crank up front and the other on the back wheel acting as a brake to stop him from rolling back down the hill. I came back up for my second loop and saw him just over the top of the hill. It probably took him about twenty minutes to make it up that hill and he had to do it a second time. When I saw him at the top of the hill I noticed he had bandages on his shoulder and arm, it turned out he had a crash earlier in the race but got cleaned up and kept going.