First I would like to congratulate UCLA on their win over my LSU Tigers. LSU just couldn’t pull it through to go to the National Championship, however they are a champion in my book for going at it the way they did. Remember all you Tiger haters, most of our squad are freshmen and sophomores. Keep hope alive!
This morning was like every race morning. I woke tired and edgy. I had been in Lake Charles for a few days working and the hotel I stayed in they decided to venture away from a traditional sleeping mattresses and provide its guest with 57 springs wrapped in fabric. I think masochist would have truly appreciated the experience, me, not so much.
I had my very best friend in the world with me at this race. Brent has just moved to Baton Rouge from Cincinnati to work with me. He is considering triathlon racing. He seemed to be excited to see his first triathlon up close and personal.
Amanda and Brent followed me to the race site and I checked in quickly since it was 7:20am and the race start was 8:00am. The topic of conversation with everyone was the water temperature. I knew it was nice, I had jumped in on Friday morning and then it was brisk, but no where near Meat Pie last October. Go to that post if you wanna talk about cold!
Mike Pate found me and we chatted up a bit as I checked in and set up my transition site. As some of you may know, today was the first of the pink Speedo challenge for us. This challenge, for those of you new to the blog, is a best of 5 race challenge. Lowest times win each race. The winner gets the winners trophy, but more than that, the winner gets to watch the non-winner race the last race of the year in a pink Speedo for the swim, a pink tutu with said pink Speedo, and platinum blonde wig, which can be worn in a ponytail for the bike and run. We are not saying that Individuals who wear pink Speedos are losers, or that Ballerinas’ are not winners, or that Platinum blondes are to be made fun of, however Mike or me in the outfit is hilarious and if anything we will do a disservice to those mentioned.
I was concerned about this race. It didn’t help that I had set a goal of finishing the race in 1:30:00 and when I asked Mike what his goal was he said, very nonchalantly, I better finish under 1:30. I have never beaten or finished under my goal time. The one time I thought I had made my goal was at Meat Pie, but after all was said and done, I didn’t by about 4 minutes.
We all went to the swim entrance. Mike is a better swimmer than I am. Sadly, the swim is my best sport out of the three. We started in the second heat. As we got going, Mike and I were neck and neck, literally. I kept feeling this guy nailing me in the side as I swam, I breathe on my left and see my buddy Mike. He wanted to swim zig zags so I stopped, let him go by and started up again.
Mike finished about 2 minutes ahead of me. He came out right behind my friend Robert, or Butters as he is known in our Rugby circle. I had to wait a few seconds to get out, I thought there was a wall or something in the water because there was a guy pulling people up and out of the water. It turns out I could have gotten out on my own.
Amanda and Brent were telling us at lunch that it is amazing to see Mike and I in the water going along and many people who stop and tread water or start swimming on their backs while we just chug on through. Not that I want to others to tread water, I want everyone to be successful, but it is nice to hear I am doing a good job.
I run into transition, Mike is almost finished and ready to go on the bike. I give him a holler, “Yea MIKE PATE!”, and I begin drying my feet and putting on my cycling gear. I couldn’t get my new LSU purple under armor on so easily, Mike helped me pull it down as he left transition. He got on the road about 4 minutes ahead of me. I have got to work on faster transitions. I don’t know if it’s mental or what, but I have got to work on being faster there. I want to see the times for the race. I think they kept transition times. I think I lost the race to Mike in the transitions.
I had decided this race to leave it all out there on the bike. Mike is a much better cyclist than I am. I decided that in order to be in a position to catch him on the run, I would need to be within 5 minutes when the run began. I did leave it all out on the bike. I averaged 19-21 mph on the way out on the bike. Most of you that ride with me know, I can keep 16-17 mph for about 45 min then it’s over.
We had a couple Baton Rouge Tri members there, two in particular would be my Platinum Challenge teammates Brian the Brianna, Konaboy, Nipps and the other, Charles THE Vanilla ice baby. Brian is an animal. He and I chatted for a few seconds before we hit the water. I asked him if he would take this race. The great thing about Brian is his humility and sense of humbleness. He is learning from the smak talkers of our club, MTB and Vanilla how to talk his share of smak, but his true nature is his humility. His response to my question was a shrug of the shoulders and a little bit of a “I don’t know man, uh . . .: I cut him off. “Good for you, humility, you be humble, I’ll tell it like it is.” You’re gonna smoke this race. Last week in Toledo Bend (see last post) I think he could have won that race. He won this one. He was smoking!!!!!!!!
But the surprise for me was, I saw Brian and very soon after I saw Charles on the bike. He was cruising! I was amazed at how close he was to the front since he started the swim in the second group with me which was 3 minutes behind the first group. I don’t know where he ended up on the overall, but it had to be top 10, easy. I gave both of them a shout out on my way out on the bike.
At the turn around I found out why I was going so fast on the way out. I was now riding against a head wind. It wasn’t too bad, but enough to piss you off, it happens. I tried to maintain at a minimum 15 mph. I think when all is said and done I may have averaged 17-18 mph overall on the bike.
I cruised into transition and mike was leaving. CRAP! I hadn’t caught up like I wanted to. Did I mention I need to work on my transitions? Yeah, I do, a lot. I get out of transition. I felt spent. I was afraid I used up my legs. Brian and Charles were done and yelling at me to pick it up! They were telling me to go get Mike Pate. I caught my breath and started running. I was having a problem keeping my legs moving, so I started sprint running. I would pick a spot ahead to start and to rest, I would run hard for that distance, then walk hard and repeat this over and over.
I was so pissed at myself. I wear a Garmin Forerunner 301. It straps on my wrist with a Velcro strap. My wrists are kinda big so it doesn’t go on real well. I know this, but I still decided to slap hands with my friend Butters as he was coming back in on the run. My Garmin went flying off my wrist. “SH@T!!” as I ran back bent over, picked it up and started running again. Guess what?! My friend Devin from the BR tri club, we slapped hands too. Garmin, it goes flying, AGAIN! Same thing, run back, pick it up, start running again. What was it the President said once? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me . . . You won’t fool me again.” Or something comparable. Well, not this guy!!!!! A third, yes a third time, this gentleman I see at almost every race puts is hand up to give me five and . . . I do it. You know what happens. Dumb A@@!
I see Mike on the run, he was about 500 yards past the turn around, so I figured I was about ¼ mile behind him. I felt like I was gaining on him, but my legs were also cramping. I picked up my run a little harder on the way back. I would look at my Garmin and I was under 15 minute miles, which again for me is great, but would it be enough?
As I made a turn downhill on the last ½ mile I saw Mikes red shirt ahead, I was gaining on him, but not nearly fast enough. I see Amanda and Brent. “How far ahead is he?” Amanda tells me I can catch him. I pick it up hard and I actually start feeling good. I ask myself why I couldn’t do this 10 minutes ago. I can see the finish and I know I have lost.
I begin to get pissed, but then I see the time on the finish clock. 01:19:54. Are you kidding me!!!! I begin to get excited and pissed at the same time. I cross somewhere around 01:20:50 or something?????
Don’t misunderstand me. I am happy for Mike. He is my friend and I am so happy to see him do well. I am also happy that we push each other like we do. I don’t think I would have pushed this hard were it not for Mike.
I am and was more pissed at me. When I came into the finish I realized that I had a lot left in the tank and that I didn’t leave it all out there on the race course. I am not saying I would have beaten Mike. I am saying I didn’t push myself hard enough.
I am thrilled with my finish time. I am thrilled that only about 4 to 5 people passed me on the bike and that I had the experience of passing 4 or 5 people. It was a good day.
The first triathlon of the season. It was a victory. I will return again. I will continue to succeed in this goal of weight loss.
After the race Amanda, Brent, Mike and I chowed down on some Cajun food at Steamboat bills and had a good time. It is good to have friends.
The sad part was. My Cousin Michael had driven all the way from Houston to see me race and he didn’t find us and I didn’t have my phone. We missed him.
Michael, it meant so much to me that you drove all the way from Houston to see me race. I am so sorry we couldn’t hook up. By the way, you need to sign up for Iron Star ½ Ironman in Conroe TX on the 29th of October.
To my blog friends. Get up, get out and walk, jog, ride, swim, or whatever, just be active and make good decisions (which I don’t) with your food intake.
You can do it!!!!!!!