To be perfectly honest... I went into this event with a new attitude... really an adoption of a new philosophy I got from my buddy Jonser... last year I was trying to win every event I competed in and judged my success on that statistic... and that statistic alone. Following an exchange of emails with Jonser...
"When it comes to placing- it is a (for the most part) a meaningless metric. What I mean by this is for most in the pack racing, there is no value in the placing, as it takes the focus off the individual athlete and can distract the athlete from what is most important-their individual effort. Nobody is you. No one has your pressures, your challenges, your physical issues, etc. So in that, the effort is yours alone and is not tied to others."
The light bulb goes on... and thus a new philosophy for 2012... now... couple that with the fact that at this point I am not in race condition as my physical activities were curtailed due to the ongoing neck issues! Regardless... I was stoked for the event... it felt so good to print off the race checklist and gather up all of my stuff... I was excited!
I went into this event with zero expectations other than to simply finish... and one personal goal of trying to beat my previous best time on the bike course... I have ridden it nearly a dozen times and that was my metric of success!
I gathered up all my stuff... brushed off the cobwebs on transitions, nutrition and number placement... got up early enough to make the drive up to Birmingham so as to arrive just as packet pickup opened. It was an uneventful drive up.... Almond Butter and Sugar Free Raspberry jelly on Ezekial bread, coffee and water for the trip. I arrived just as planned... changed clothes, picked up my race bag and headed to transition with my stuff.
As usual... you meet some incredible people doing events like this... and today was much the same... as I set up my stuff I talked with some great folks and just felt really at ease. One difference today was that I was wearing my new team colors... Team MMS!
So after getting everything all set up... and refreshing myself on how to use my Garmin 310XT in Multisport Mode... it was show time... I made my way up to the Start/Finish line and watched the earlier waves go off... they event this year was modified from last year... 5K/20K/2.5K and part of the runs were off road.... more on that later... so it is the old dude wave time... bang... we are off... I started the first run on just an nice even pace for me... zero concern for all of the speed demons that took off... or the fact that guys older than me were passing me... again... I was just happy to be there! So the run is an out and back 5K... on a hilly unimproved road in the park... I continue to run with relative ease and comfort as I reach the turn around... but on the way back I am starting to pass those speed demons... hmmmm... at about 2.2 miles we exit the road and enter the trail portion... it was scenic but it was also single track and full of roots... you could not pass and your had to remain very vigilant to watch your footing to prevent turning an ankle... we exit the trail at about 2.8 miles and finish up on the asphalt road... I enter transition... 25:32 (8:13/mi avg)... WOW... I am somewhat shocked with the relative ease at which I had just run that 5K... but quickly don my cycling gear and head out of T1... 58 seconds... I have trouble getting my right cleat in for some reason... takes 3 tries before I make a solid connection... then off we go...
Now... the bike is only 12 miles but it is a brutal... hilly 12 miles with 2 really good climbs... and the last one comes right at the turn around... so you climb then don't get to take real advantage of the descent due to the 180 degree turn around... only to have to climb it in reverse again! But.. I know this course... I immediately start to pass people... with relative ease... it isn't until I am at about 8 miles into the ride when I get passed by not 1.. but 3 of the Elite athletes... I can hear them coming... the unmistakable sound of a high end, all carbon, disc wheel bike... WRRRHHHH.... WRRRHHHH.... WHHHHRRRR... they were the only people to pass me on the bike... then just as I start up the last climb I throw the chain off the front on a double shift... DAMMIT... I have to stop, get off the bike and get the chain back on... as I am fumbling with it I get passed by 3 riders... I get it back on and then have fight getting clipped back in on a steep uphill... I get clipped in and now I am just pissed off... I start hammering it... pass the 3 that passed me and push hard to T2... 40:03 (18.3 mph avg)... WOO HOO... beat my previous best by 40 seconds... WITH THE THROWN CHAIN! I am stoked... but quickly get changed and head out of T2.... 56 seconds...
The second run was only 2.5K but it was in reverse of the first run... as I make my way onto the asphalt... a woman (Team Magic member) comes running up along side of me... "I was happy to see you got your bike fixed so quickly"... another great example of the sportsmanship that I have witnessed multisport events... we run together for a few minutes... and catch a group just as we are about to enter the trail portion of the run... she quickly sprints ahead and gets in front of them going into the woods... DAMMIT... that was a brilliant move and I was stuck behind them for the entire trail run... ZERO chance to pass... so I follow them closely as I watch her pull away... we exit the trail out onto the unimproved road at which point I kick it into high gear... now... up to this point my right IT band was really aching... but the faster I ran the less it hurt... so I ran hard... and quickly approached the finish... 12:24 (7:59/mi)... 1:19:52 total... mission accomplished!
After I am done... I make my way up to the food... get something to eat and drink while I wait for transition to open up... I compare notes with Greg Miles of Montgomery Multisport... and then hear that transition was open... I make my way down and gather up all my stuff... I am just about to head to my truck for the drive home when one of buddies comes over and says "Congrats!"... "On what?"... "You are on the podium"... HA... I walk up and look at the Unofficial Results... sure enough I am 2nd in my Age Group... AWESOME... maybe there really is something to this new philosophy... I was thrilled to say the least!
Great event by Team Magic... looking forward to the next one in late April... Colby and I will be both competing in the LJCC Super Sprint... should be fun!
Attitude Trumps Pain!!