This past weekend was the Ohio TTT race... and I have to say, it was wicked hard, wicked fun, and I definitely want to do it again next year!!!
We arrived in Portsmouth Ohio at 1pm Friday and headed out to Shawnee State park. Unpacked our bikes, and the nice park ranger agreed to store our boxes in his office for the weekend. (2 bikes, 2 boxes, 2 people, 1 rental car, and luggage... too much to tote around!). Walked our bikes down to transition and picked up our singlets and numbers for the weekend. The race gives a singlet the participants are required to wear... fortunately it's pretty nice. (After a serious cleaning I might even wear it later).
The first race was a super sprint, 250m swim, 5 mile bike (was actually shorter than that), 1 mile run at 5pm Friday night. The water was COLD so most folks wore a wetsuit, and those that didn't regretted it. Quick race... cold swim, up a hill and back down on the bike, and the same on the run. I didn't completely embarrass myself, being that I am a turtle in the midst of a pack of jackrabbits, and I'm sure the 15 folks behind me after this one were quaking in fear! Drew had a solid race, finishing 44th overall.
Saturday morning dawned with an Olympic race, and we got a sense of what we were really in for. 1500m 2 lap swim, starting off in bib number every 3 seconds. Then off for a HILLY 25 mile bike. Lots of short steep climbs, but a really gorgeous course. Humid and green, almost jungle like through the forest roads. Then a 6.5 mile run, on a gravel road. Basically uphill for 2.5 miles, then down for 0.7, return. Very challenging course, but with tons of butterfly's cruising around and nice scenery.. I swam okay, found the bike to be fun, and then suffered the run. Ran all the downs, walk/jogged the ups. Was ahead of a couple more people, but I saw the fear in the eyes of others! Drew again had a good race, finishing 30th overall.
We had 3 hours downtime to grab food, and tried to eat and drink as much as possible. Then, time for race 3. This was also an Olympic race but the format was switched. We started on the bike 2by 2 according to bib number 10 seconds or so apart. As bib 381 this took quite awhile, but finally it was time to go. The road was super smooth and nice, or it would have been if it wasn't for all those hills. And the heat and humidity! Brought in the bike quite slowly, and now time to try to shimmy into a wetsuit and hit the water for 1500m. This was actually easier than expected (my wetsuit is nicely roomy) and the water felt great. Cool and refreshing. I got into a nice groove and had clear water, til the last buoy when I got kicked in the ribs by a guy who decided to breaststroke. Ooof... Shake it off, and head in to transition for the final 6.5 mile run (same course as the morning). the coolness of the swim really helped and I felt reasonably good on the run. By race 3 I was recognizing people, and I knew for sure some folks that were ahead of me in race 2 were now behind... All in all a good race though I was not pleased with the bike. Drew was pretty tired at the end of his race, and starting to be concerned about the last day... but still was in the thick of things.
Time to eat again, and take off the smelly singlet and prep for the final day. Sunday morning was a half ironman. Same swim course, but kicked out a little for the 1.2miles. Water was still chilly, but after 3 races I was used to it. Same 3 seconds apart start but the bunnies were not so eager to get going. The swim went okay, out of the water in 44minutes. Then to transition which was pretty amusing. Lots of people taking their time getting to the bike... which was a tough one! 2 laps, 4 "major" hills per lap. Hot and sweaty. I had lots of company on this, and there were folks behind. I "took it easy"... nope. I rode as well as I could on the course and the conditions and came in at a whopping 4:24... Yeah, that's well over an hour slower than an "average" half IM bike split for me. Laughed it off, put on my running shoes and started in on the run... 2 laps of the same run course so I knew I was in for a time. Keeping cool was a big challenge, and the aid stations kept running out of supplies. Got a water bottle after the first lap and filled it with ice and carried it in the belly of my singlet. Was quite the fashion statement! I proudly finished 2nd to last, with a 9 (yes.. .thats right NINE) hour half IM. Many folks DNF'd... so I am sure that I moved up past some bunnies... Drew shut it down on the 2nd bike lap and eased in with a 7:20ish racetime...
All in all a terrific event. Challenging, fun, sweaty, dirty, hilly, and with butterflies. I LOVED it and will have it on my calendar for next year. Anyone want to join me?