Sports Spectrum’s, River Cities Triathlon has been long touted to me as one of the best races in the south. That is a mighty claim considering I have raced in many a good triathlon here in the South.
Heading into Sunday’s race I was a little apprehensive since I had been training in San Diego for the last week in 76 degree weather. I don’t mean 76 here in Louisiana, I mean little to no humidity California 76. It was awesome. However, it left me wondering how I would acclimate to our Louisiana 97 degree, 80% humidity weather.
Macaroni Grill. Such a good place to enjoy a pre-race carbo loading dinner, unless . . .
Bear, Angel and their twins, two people I have already forgotten their names, sorry. Laurie (s/p), Derrick, Matt and myself all sat for dinner. We are all members of http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/ and we were sharing time together before the race. As we were sat we realized there would be little to no communication between us during dinner. We were sat in the kitchen.
I don’t mean “in” the kitchen, but more . . . Hmmm? How do I relay this picture?
Ok, picture our table of 8. Now picture a small thoroughfare walkway loaded with people grabbing plates of food, loading them onto large trays and hollering “RUNNER!”. I almost jumped up a couple times thinking, Hey, I’m a runner!
Then just past the long stainless table loaded with rush hour dinner plates and managers calling for runners, were the chefs in a slightly messy cooking area. This may have been the most exciting meal I have eaten. It was busy!
Our server was super cool and took very good care of us. At some point she asked if we were celebrating anything special. Someone at the table with an unusual sense of humor quickly responded that we were celebrating Bear’s acceptance as a United States Citizen.
Now Bear was born just that, he is from down home Louisiana, but she took it hook line and sinker. She offered to bring a nice cake for him at the end of dinner, we assured her he would appreciate that AND even more, he would be honored if you would have him stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance which he had to do when he received his American Citizenship.
OK, so none of that has much to do with triathlon, except I think it shows there is more to racing and training in the triathlon family you join. We enjoy one another’s company.
At the hotel I am all packed, I have checked my list three times so I know I have everything, I have loaded the truck. I am ready to get a good night sleep.
Not going to happen. You may be able to see a thread in my race reports. I never sleep well the night before a race. I wake up on the hour every hour until I am supposed to get up. I am going to fix that.
Matt and I ride to the race site together. It takes a while to get in the park since there is only one road in and there are 1300 participants and probably another 100 volunteers and 500 cheerleaders!
We unload, set our transition and warm up in the water. Wow, the water was warm. My friend Mike Pate whom I refer to quite often, called me the day before to give me a couple pointers for this particular race. He said the water would be warm, but this, this was hot.
I was well hydrated. I began two days earlier pounding water and Gatorade.
The swim was actually ok. It seemed more in the neighborhood of 900 to 1000m, but who’s counting! I held a nice strong pace throughout the swim and again, I passed several folk.
Coming out of the water this time was a unique experience. I have been sprinting out of the water the past 7 or 8 races. OK, sprinting for me. However, coming out of this warm water, I began to sprint, but my legs almost gave out on me. It was a little scary for a second. I continued to run, but cautiously.
Transition sucked, both of them. I just lollygagged around trying to catch my breath.
As most of you know my goal this season is to average 15mph on the bike. Last season I averaged 12.9mph. I heard through the grape vine (do you think of those California raisins when you hear that phrase?) that this was a really fast bike course. Needless to say I was excited about this, until I actually began the bike.
About 5 miles into the bike I was trucking, average was about 16mph. Then.
Mike Pate warned me. The hills. Poop! I was averaging 7 and 8 mph up a few of these hills. Now, I kicked it up to 32 mph on one down hill, but the hills kicked my hiney! On a couple of hills I had to psyche myself out. I don’t recommend everyone try this tactic, but it worked for me.
As I was halfway up one of the larger hills, I wanted to stop and get off my bike and rest. My legs were jelly, my butt was sore, my feet were hot. I were not happy!! (I used bad grammar there on purpose as opposed to all the times I use bad grammar unknowingly!) So, I motivated myself by yelling, out loud at myself.
It went something like this. “Come on you fata$$! You will not stop! COME ON! COME ON!!!!!!!!!” Repeat as needed.
Luckily most people were passing me so quickly they didn’t have a chance to enjoy the crazy fat guy yelling at himself on the bike course.
When I arrived back into transition I was a little disappointed. My bike average on my Garmin was 14:9 mph. Oh so close!!!!!
Here is an additional thread you may be picking up on. As I put on my running shoes, sweat cap, and glasses I decided I didn’t want to finish the race. It is funny how my feet continued to move forward even when my brain was screaming “Stop”!
I was sick. I was not feeling well, but I was not quitting. After a couple jet propulsion-ed pukes I began to feel better, but my legs were shot. One thing that made the run bearable was the shade. Basically the entire run was shaded, minus maybe ½ mile total out of the 3.1. There was an interesting trail run that actually got me going. That is, until it went up a hill and I was back to being a little hot and not so happy.
The most exciting part of the day happened here, on the trail part of the run.
I run with a sports bottle that I fill at each water station. I shove it into my spandex in the back. I accidentally dropped it on the hill part of the trail. Now, when you are exhausted and doing everything you can to make yourself go forward, the last this you want to do is, turn around walk down hill and pick up your water bottle that slid half way down the hill.
I almost left it.
I turn, wobble down this wet and slightly muddy red clay path. It is a little slippery. I reach for my bottle, almost fall over and miss it!!! Argh! I take a breath, focus, and go for it again, got it! So I don’t knock it out of my own hand again, I immediately shove it down my pants.
About a half mile further I begin to notice that my butt is on fire. It feels as though someone is running behind me and sticking me with safety pins! I look. Nope, no one is sticking me with safety pins. OUCH!!! I reach back pull out my water bottle and it is covered with ants!!!
At this point, I begin to laugh! As I am shoving my hands down the back of my pants and through the front of them, attempting to run out all of the ants. I hit my water bottle on a tree as I run by. Oh, yeah, by the way, I am doing all of this as I am running!
I began to laugh harder thinking about the people who would later that day be talking about the fat guy in the purple spandex who on the bike course was cursing himself out and then a person in that same conversation says, “yeah! I saw him on the run course, he was laughing and violently shoving his hands down his pants!!!”
Then there was the last mile.
There is something about that last mile. Whether it is a 10k, 5k, or 2 miler, that last mile is so awesome. All the pain, the mental stress I put on myself, all of it, gone for that one mile. Timbeaux’s wife approached me with about ½ mile to go and introduced herself. I tried my best to hear her say her name but all I heard was “Go Chris! Hi I amTibroo mite yoo aee os okf !!!!!!!!” I was a wreck. She was awesome to go with me towards the finish.
I found out later that their son and daughter did the kids triathlon the day before and did very well in it. By the way, Timbeaux, your wife is beautiful!
My new friend Mitzi from Alexandria was also there with . . . I’m gonna be wrong here, Lori???? Mitzi had a cup of something cold and I reached for it, she warned me it was beer. HA! I said she warned me . . . She announced to me that it was beer and I think, I am not sure, but I think I was prepared to tackle her for it if she didn’t give it to me! She did and it was so cold.
As I made the turn into the finish line I heard the announcer say my name over the loudspeaker. Such a great feeling. Then I saw another person with a cup, he was standing about 50 yards from the finish. I was so hot, I reached for his cup. He mumbles something like, “It’s not water . . . It’s a deer.” I grab it and it is another ice cold beer.
Yeah, I was almost drunk before I crossed the finish! Just kidding.
I was so happy to finish this race. It was an awesome race course, but one you were happy to be done with.
Is it the best race in the South?
So far I have to say yes for a combination of reasons.
1. The SWAG! The race packets are too awesome! We received a race bag, not some knock off cheap tri bag, but a really nice race bag. 2 shirts both awesome, a hat, and sunglasses, again, not some cheap glasses, nice ones. I wore mine during the run.
2. The volunteers. There were many and there were water stations all over the run course. Awesome.
3. The race course was pretty nice. I loved the run course and the shade. The water is a little warm. Maybe they could airlift an iceberg in the night before and drop it there? Maybe I’ll write the race director?
4. The after race event and medal was very nice.
Heatwave in Jackson Mississippi is still my favorite race course, but I have to say RC is now my favorite overall race venue.
I had a blast and can’t wait to do it again!
Thanks to all of my friends and club members, you guys rock!