Thursday, May 26, 2011

4th at Memphis

Yvette will tell you every race with me is an adventure. This is not news to me and as hard as I try not to make it one, it always is. This weekend was a three day adventure to Tunica, MS for the great spring classic Memphis in May Triathlon. This was the first year in its new location at Tunica, MS amongst the recent Casino development. If you have watched any news in the last couple of weeks you likely saw reporters live in Tunica boating amongst the Casinos, which were under water, and residents evacuating. Although still flooded on arrival we were fortunate that the race location was just over the levee and out of harms way. We still were made acutely aware of the damage and destruction from the flooding as we made our way through Memphis, across the now wider Mississippi River, and even in places along the course.

Race morning dawned with uncertainty in the weather and thunderstorms looming. As the first racers set off it began raining and a short while later thunder could be herd rumbling. After a conversation with the race staff the day before it was determined the elite amateurs would likely go off around 9-9:30 with the pros at 10. I was down warming up at 7:30 and keeping an eye on the single file start line (TT style) that was inching ahead. We were not given much leeway on our checkout and feared I would not be finished in time to clean up and get out without an over charge. At 7:45 it was looking that way so I went to help Yvette carry a few things out to the car. We walked back around the hotel around 8.10 to see the line was gone. Starting to get a bad feeling I walked up and asked when the elites would be going off. “They’re in the water” was the reply, “you need to get going.” I had gone through my pre race warm up so I didn’t panic, slipped on my wetsuit and took off.

About 500m in I had started catching people and it began to downpour. Swim split was 21.26, a new best I believe. A muddy run through transition and I was on the bike with the rain still coming hard as I set to work. The course was flat and fast minus the corners due to quite a bit of water sitting on the roads. I kept the pressure on rolling past the bare fields and slaloming the competitors which is typical when they start us last. At the halfway a bump from a bridge spelled disaster for a lady right in front of me who’s bike seat disintegrated into the pieces that hold it together and nuts and bolts went flying across the road in front of me as the seat fell off the back. A near miss. Bike time was 57.54 for the best amateur split of the day and my best Olympic bike split as well.

I started off on the run comfortable and controlled clicking off 3 quick miles at just sub 18. Things changed drastically after the halfway as I began to fade. I have struggled with my nutrition in the past at this distance and although I thought I had it figured out also had a back up gue in my pocket for just such an occasion. Too little to late and I was in survival mode with two miles to go and contemplating walking. I had been there before and could not believe I had let it happen again. I dragged myself to the finish line (run course was 1/2m long adding insult to injury) and couldn’t believe I had likely just driven all the way to Memphis to finish outside the top 10. Run time 43.33. Total time 2.04.57.

The relief I felt when Yvette told me I had managed 7th was immense and I knew at least I had gained my qualifying spot to Des Moines for the 5150 Championship. After a delicious BBQ spread we headed out for our 10 hr drive home since we didn’t have to stick around for awards. Back home that evening we again made the startling discovery that some pros had been mixed in by mistake which bumped me all the way to 4th. I had just missed the podium, and my first automatic pro card qualifier, by less than two minutes.

After all that went wrong or could have gone wrong in the end the only thing that matters is results. The results will show that I placed 4th and qualified for the 5150 US National Championship. All the rest will only affect how I prepare for my next race.

Next up Kansas 70.3. Train safe and don't forget to bodyglide your neck when you wear a wetsuit.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Hi Kevin, Good job at Kansas the other day! A 2:25 bike split is pretty darn good... right up there with the pros. Just think, you are just about as fast as Chrissie Wellington on the bike!

Those Felt B2's are awesome bikes aren't they?