I finally got to bed about 11:30pm, typical time for JT before races as I seem not to be able to sleep. Anyways, up at 4am and head to the race site. Got there in plenty of time, got things set up and was ready to go.
Timing for the RAGE Tri is completely old school style, all hand timed so your race number had to be visible at all times.
The Transition area is very long! It was about 100 yards from the edge of the water with a nice gradual incline, the overall transition area was about 100 yards long as well. As far I could tell timing began at gun time (mass start for Halfs) then swim time was noted as you entered T1, which really began your bike time ( I did not see a timer person at then bike exit but maybe I just missed them) if not, than bike overall time ended when you exit T2 on to the run.
So here is how it went for me. SWIM: Once I got to the edge of the 60-62* water my feet were totally frozen! I got out quickly and waited a few minutes closer till start time to get fully in, BAD IDEA! Once it got close to start I got in waist deep, I was standing with Baboo and I was completely nervous! The gun goes off and we start to move forward in the water and I quickly notice the water is freakn` cold. I dive in and HFS! I couldn't’t breath! I took a couple of strokes and just could not breath! The water was so cool and such a shock. I notice everyone was just taking off and here I was doggy paddling along trying to breath! I thought, shit, there is no way I am going to be able to swim this. Panic mode! OK, OK, settle down I told myself. Dunk your face in the water a few times, get used to it. Take your time and just float a minute. I did this and next thing you know I was off and swimming!! YEAH!! I got it now! The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful. I swam off line a couple of times (need to site better and more often) and the nice safety guy yelled at me to move to the right a couple of times. Then when the last 300 meters or so my right calf cramped and I swam with one leg kicking. When I hit the beach area and stood up, they both Cramped up and I had to just stand there for a few seconds. Then all relaxed and I got running to T1.
T1 and T2: Usual stuff here, change and go.
Bike: The bike starts at a nice steady uphill climb out of transition for about a ½ mile. Once on the main highway it then being some steady rollers before you hit some serious climbs. I started right away on drinking and taking my fig newtons in along with some gels and a power bar. I took water at every water stop except the one that ran out of water!! I even had to use a the bathroom at mile 25 and refueled my Gatorade bottle. By this time I was seeing everyone on the return and yelling at all the OUTLAWS!! Baboo was mean machine when I saw him screaming down the road on the return. The course was very hilly by this point and I actually wished I had another gear to create some more spinning but you know all those climbs I did seated and just powered up them, so I guess that’s a good sign. Overall I learned I needed more salt intake as my quads started cramping towards the end of the bike on the hills and I felt good on nutrition but need some other type of holder to carry everything as plastic sandwich baggies seemed difficult at times to handle also I need to get a bike fit as my low back was cramping and I felt compacted in the aero position all day, grr! I finished the bike in like 3:45 mins. Slow but made it. OK, but here is a funny story, at about mile 53 there was a serious climb which I was totally pissed about b/c I was ready to be off the darn thing and was tired of my quads cramping. Anyways, this freakn mountain of a climb was coming and I was already pretty tired in the nice steady incline leading up to it so I thought I would just stop rest a minute and stretch my low back as well. I stopped on the shoulder and I could some people on the run course on the other side of the road. I wasn’t even off my bike like 30 seconds and I hear “JT, Get moving!!!” I look over and who do I See busting me cat napping on the side of the road, S. BABOO!! I yelled back and clipped back in and took off thinking, SHIT! The only place on the course someone could have seen me taking a break and Baboo happened to catch me!! It was quite funny actually and we laughed about it later that night at dinner! But shit! I totally got Punkd` out! LOL.
Run: I started the run and it was a short run more walk due to my quads cramping. I took in salt tabs like crazy and finally they went away after the first mile. I soon caught up to SWTRIGAL and we started run/walking and just stated together the whole way. It was great to run with her as we kept each other company and made it through a nasty, I mean nasty run course. The course was on a dirt road for a mile or so then a little bit of pavement then back on to a trail that then uphill about 2.5 miles through thick ass sand, gravel, little and big rocks! It was totally impossible to run unless you’re an Xterra veteran! Really, it was a nasty uphill climb and we basically walked with several others to the top. Once on the top there was a pretty good hard packed gravel road that went through theses huge awesome tunnels that were made back in the day when the Hoover Dam was being built. Swtrigal and I took our time and although we were making our way it was hot and taking us a little longer than we both expected. I totally forgot to start my garmin on the run until the 8 mile turn around point but was happy that the next 5 miles was pretty much downhill. At one point around mile 9 I asked the aid station if there was cutoff time and they said “you two are fine, we already pulled the others off the course that were not going to make it” We both were like great, now we are the last two! HA! So we just kept moving. Again it was great to run with swtrigal and even though she told me several times to go on without her I really didn’t want to as I was feeling good and pacing well and I totally enjoyed staying with her. Once we got to the last ¾ mile we could see the finish line and swtrigals husband ran out to met us and then the OUTLAW gang came out to run with is as well! It was totally great that they all came out to met us and run us in. As I got closer I saw my dad standing on the side and ran over to him and he jumped on the course and ran in with me as well! As we approached the finished line the announcer was talking and congratulating us on finishing and both swtrigal and myself crossed together! We hugged and said thank you to each other! That was one of the best parts of the 8 hour day! Yes, it took us 8 hours, yes we were the last two to finish but we did it!
After we got some water, our finishers shirt and medals and swtrigal went with the OUTLAWS to the medical area as she had fallen on the bike and her legs was scrapped up and then slipped again near the end of the run scrapping her hand as well. I went and got my bike stuff and quickly packed up to head home.
Thank you SWTRIGAL for making my first ½ Iron Distance a great one!
I must say that the OUTLAW gang stated that this RAGE course is one of the toughest they have done. More so than Buffalo Springs they said! Yikes! And that this RAGE course had 2x’s more climbing on the bike than CdA will have!!!!
I have some pictures I will post later, until then…