Mrs Cert and I went to Oklahoma City on Friday, May 30, so I could compete in the Route 66 Festivus Triathlons. The races are sponsored by Tri-OKC and consist of a Sprint Triathlon on Saturday (500m swim, 20K bike, 5K run) and an Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday (1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run). The option is to do one or both. A local triathlon stud, Mike, recruited me to go to these races along with Julie, who works in my office. We're all entered in Ironman 70.3 Kansas on June 15, so Mike convinced us that doing both races would be a good tune up.
On the way to the race, I told Mrs Cert that I had got an e-mail from Tri-OKC and they were looking for volunteers for the races, including strippers. I inquired whether she wanted to be a stripper
She immediately rejected the idea, then asked why they'd have strippers at a triathlon. I explained that strippers are there to strip people out of their wetsuits after the swim, which got her a little more interested ("you mean I'd get to pull neoprene suits off studly guys?"), but not enough to sign up.
When we got to the hotel, we put down a couple of Shiner Bocks and then went to dinner at a nearby Texas Roadhouse. A couple of margaritas and a half rack of ribs later, we went back to the hotel and had another Shiner before turning in for the night. At the time we went to bed, I had left the bikes locked on the rack on the back of the Nitro, but about 11:00 I got nervous and went out and brought them into the hotel room. I caught my big sprocket across my right achilles tendon, leaving two half inch gashes which bled liberally.
Saturday morning was the Sprint Triathlon. The race venue was Lake El Reno, about 30 minutes from our hotel in OKC. We got there in plenty of time and I set up my transition area. Tri-OKC assigned rack spots and all age group competitors are close to one another, which is kind of nice. About 6:30 they announced that the race would be wetsuit legal.
About 7:10, I got into my wetsuit and went to the prerace meeting and then into the lake. Because of the number of athletes, they went with a two wave start. Men first, women and relays five minutes later. The wind was blowing 20'ish mph out of the SW, which really roughed up the lake.
When the race started, I headed for the first buoy. Naturally, it was a madhouse in the water. Lots of kicking, hitting, etc as everyone swam for the same goal. I felt like I avoided most of it and fought through the rest pretty well. My swim time was 10:33
I felt like I swam hard and I was winded at the end, but clearly, I was just thrashing around. I came out of the water and ran toward the strippers, before I had time to raise the zippers which close my leg opening, they had me on my back and were tugging away. "Zippers!!, I've got leg zippers" I hollered. By then it was too late and they ended up having to pull the legs off one at a time to get the opening over my big ole feet.
The rest of T-1 was uneventful. I threw on my shoes and headed out on the bike. 1:02 total T-1.
After a short climb, the bike course had a screaming downhill. The stripper zipper problem had my adrenaline really flowing and I busted 30 mph, with the wind at my back.
I passed quite a few people on the bike and got into my bike pace - target 20 mph. The wind was at our back on the way out, so I was a little faster out. A combination of hills and the headwind slowed me significantly on the way in and several riders, including four or five in my age group passed me.
My 38:16 bike split works out to a 19.45 mph average. I dismounted at the line, and ran my bike to my spot on the rack, changed shoes and took off. But I took off the wrong way and still wearing my helmet :dork: I was stopped at the wrong entrance, told to go the other way, and "Oh, you might want to take your helmet off, too."
T-2 with this snafu was a slow 1:00.
Once I hit the run course, I felt like I was in my element. I've been doing a lot of brick workouts, so I didn't really have that wobbly leg stiff gait at the start. I fell into a nice pace with quick stride turnover and started passing people. It was hot and windy, but I knew it was a short run, I figured I could tough it out. Then I passed more people. Tri-OKC's body markings include your age on your calf, so when I was passing other runners, I knew what age group they were in. Within the first half mile, I passed all of the guys from my age group who had passed me during the bike.
I just didn't know if there was anyone in my age group still in front of me. I eyeballed people as I approached the turnaround and tried to figure from their bib numbers whether they were in my age group. My miles clicked by at 6:24, 6:35 and 6:23. I ended with a run split of 20:19, which was 3:36 faster than anyone else in my age group.
My total time for the Sprint Triathlon was 1:11:12. I caught all my fellow age groupers during the run and ended up with an age group victory.
Mike, who is 53, won the Sprint with 1:04:49. Julie won her age group. There were a few flip remarks about people from Kansas coming in and taking all the awards.
Coach's Brewery is a race sponsorer and had three varieties of kegs, of which Mike and I partook liberally
When we lined up for pictures after the awards, the guy who got second said to me "Dude, you came flying by me on the run and I said I got no answer to that."
After the awards, we went back to OKC and made plans to meet up for dinner in the Bricktown area. Mrs Cert and I needed lunch and wanted to see the National Memorial, so after a shower, we headed toward Bricktown. We saw a place called TapWerks, which I figured to be a microbrewery. It wasn't. Instead it was like a tap beer world emporium. I'd estimate that they had 125 - 150 beers on tap. Mrs Cert said I looked like a kid in a candy store. I started with a Beer Town Brown and while waiting for lunch to arrive, I scoured the menu for my next selection. When I saw "Dirty Hoe" I knew that was what I had to have. It's a combo of Hoegaarden and Lindeman's Framboise (both Belgian). A little - no, a lot - too sweet for my taste, but I couldn't pass on it. for dinner, we went to Coach's, where I had a couple of their Downtown Browns and a High Country Hefeweizen.
While we were a dinner, Mike analyzed my race with me. "Ok. So, you won your age group. The more conditioned guys will be there tomorrow and they didn't race today," he says. "Why is your bike split so slow?"
I tried to rationalize it, including saving something for the run, but Mike countered with the theory of pounding the bike, two to three minutes faster. If it costs me a minute on the run, I'm still faster overall. apparently, it's not all about the run. Ultimately, he told me, to try to pound the bike Sunday and if it hurt my overall time, then I could go back and do it the way I have been. Ok. I'll try.
It was cooler and less windy on Sunday morning. I didn't feel any ill effects from Saturday's race. The race was declared to be wetsuit legal, but "just barely." Since I was swimming three times as far as the day before, I figured I needed to take it out a little easier than the day before. Sunday there was just one mass start, and it seemed much more crowded than the day before. The water was less choppy and I fell easily into a nice swimming rhythm, which was interrupted only by contact with other swimmers, throughout, and my inability to sight very well. I swim pretty crooked, so probably covered a lot of extra water. My swim split was 29:37, which was about two minutes faster than what my Saturday pace would have produced. Go figure. Mike had told me to pull up my leg zippers before I came out of the water, which I did, and as a result, the wetsuit stripping was fast and easy. T-1 was 55 seconds.
As suggested, I decided to go substantially faster on the bike. The course was the same as Saturday, but went 6.2 miles farther out. The bike course follows original Route 66, which is concrete, constructed in 1937 they tell us. For 71 years old, it's in pretty good shape, but where it's been patched, they have done so with asphaly and it is uneven and extremely hazardous and rough. I saw several people flatted out from hitting asphalt and there was one point where I had to jump my front wheel up to avoid a 1.5 inch lip. It was at the bottom of a long hill and I was going about 30 mph at the time. A little scary. On the way out, no one passed me. On the way in, I was passed by about four other riders, including two in my age group.
My bike split for the 24.8 miles was 1:09:18, which is 21.47 mph. Just a hair over 2 mph faster than Saturday, over twice the distance. Mrs Cert and Mike's wife both said I looked a lot more tired coming into T-2 on Sunday. T-2 was much better. I remembered to take off my helmet and ran in the right direction. 59 seconds was the time, probably because I took time to sit when I changed shoes.
The run course was a double loop of the course from yesterday. I again fell into pace pretty quickly and did not feel ackward at all. I decided to just run and see what happened. It's twice th edistance, but I figured I still ought to be able to cover it without too much trouble. During the first out section, I passed all of the age groupers who had passed me on the bike, but today I was pretty certain that there had to be someone else in front of me, so I kept trying to hold my pace. At the aid station, I dumped water on my head. By the time the second loop started, I was running in wet shoes, and without socks. "Uh oh," I thought, " this is gonna hurt when I'm done." I could feel my feet sliding around on every stride, but tried to block it out and just keep the pace. Mile splits came in at 6:32, 6:35, 6:30, 6:36, 6:40 and 6:35. My run split was timed in 40:23. Hmmm. 15 seconds faster than yesterday's pace. Clearly, Mike has got me onto something here.
My total time for the Olympic Distance race was 2:21:13, which is a PR at this distance.
It's also less hthan twice my Sprint time doubled, which is neat, since the swim distance was tripled. I also was fortunate to hear my named called as the winner of my age group again.
Mike was 4th overall on Sunday. Julie was second in her age group after flatting on the 1.5 inch lip. They give a Festivus overall to the athlete who races both days and has the lowest combined time. Mike won it.
Two days. Two races. Tow AG wins. Strippers and Dirty Hoes. And valuable lessons learned.