There is a local race here in Central Oregon called the RAT Race. It is a sprint distance triathlon held in Redmond, Oregon. Redmond is a small city just north of Bend. I decided to enter the race about two weeks before race day and figured my other training would get me through. In the two weeks leading up to the race I decided it would be a good idea to get into the pool once since it had been 9 months post Silverman. I also did the same by getting out on my tri but decided after the ride to stick with the road bike for the race.
The Redmond Area Triathlon is in its 3rd year and has grown every year since it began. The swim is a 500m pool swim in the Cascade Swim Center. You then have a 12 mile bike ride through the NW side of town before finishing with a 5k run through the Dry Canyon. Due to the pool start there are waves for the swim based on projected swim time. There are also relay teams competing in the race so it is really tough to tell how you are doing compared to the rest of the racers. I was optimistic going into the race and was hoping for a fast race but luck ended up not being on my side.
Race morning came bright and early. I had to have my transition area set-up by 7 am even though my heat was not until 9:50 am. The day was forecasted to be 85 degrees and sunny so it was not going to be a bad morning to just relax in the sun, I just wish I could have gotten more sleep. My mom and sister were in town for the weekend so they came with my wife to cheer me on. At about 9:30 I got my final preparations ready and lined up in my wave. The pool is a 25 meter pool and we fit two to a lane for the heat. I got in the water and after about 2 minutes we were ready to go. I started off a bit too fast and had to dial it down a bit. Melissa mentioned later that I did not take advantage of the walls enough; nonetheless I got more comfortable as I went along and finished the swim in 10:37. This included the run out to the transition area. I was aiming for 10 minutes so I was happy with this time.
I am not used to these fast transitions but I did my best to get out as quick as possible. My transition time was 1:10; I need to work on that. Once on the bike I felt much better than in the pool. While I do not have as many miles in my legs as I normally do, I was much more prepared than I was for swimming. I started pushing the pace right out of T1. The first half of the bike course slowly rolls down hill and the second half comes back up. I was on my road bike so I tried to stay in the drop as much as possible. Around mile 2.5 on the bike I was getting a drink of water and could hear a car approaching. I took a quick look over as it was going by and happened to drift slightly to the right. I had been riding about 3 inches to the left of the white line as there was only about 3 inches to the right side before the gravel. As I drifted right I went off the road onto the gravel. The gravel shoulder was a 3-4 inch drop from the road and according to my Garmin I was going about 25 mph. I was able to get my front tire back onto the road but when my back tire was coming back up it slid out and down I went. I ended up sliding down the middle of the lane and fortunately there was no traffic at the time.
I immediately hoped up and checked my bike, there was no major damage fortunately but my chain had come off and it took a little bit to get it back on. While stopped I was passed by a couple racers and I let them know I was okay. After what seemed forever I got back on my bike and rode as hard as I could. I could feel places all down my left side where I had obviously damaged something and I had also torn a whole in my race suit. I finished off the ride the best I could and passed several people along the way. I had hoped to ride the course in 32 minutes but ended up finishing in 34:34. Without the crash it may have been close, it is hard to know. Coming into T2 my family was there to cheer me on and of course started to worry when they saw the cuts. T2 went a little bit faster than T1 but I still have to work on this, my time was 0:51.
Once out on the run I knew it was going to be a struggle. Besides being in extra pain, my stomach was not agreeing with me either. I spent the whole run going as fast as I could without making a trip into the bushes. Even though it was a 5k run it felt much longer. Mentally I was not in it anymore and I just hurt all over. I had initially hoped to run around 20 minutes but now I knew that would be long gone. I ended up finishing the run in 24:45 which was not too bad looking back but I was not too happy at the time. My overall time was 1:11:57, good enough for 15th place overall and 2nd in my age group. Needless to say my family was all wondering what happened on the bike and they made sure I went to the medical tent. Apart from the cuts I actually felt all right. I had to get them all scrubbed out and bandaged which was quite a chore. I had cuts from my hip up to my shoulder in differing degrees and depths. My hip, elbow, and shoulder took the brunt of the fall and were not looking so good. MY bike only got a couple scratches, mainly the left brifter, rear skewer, and left pedal. A little sandpaper and a new hood and the bike should be good to go. If I wanted it perfect, I would not ride it. Looking back I was happy how I still finished strong but wish I had not gone down obviously. The RAT Race is a fun race; hopefully I can do it again next year. It is always fun to see people racing in a triathlon for their first time. It really is a different atmosphere than at an Ironman race, it is kind of refreshing. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
- Desoto Forza Tri Suit – May it R.I.P. The crash took its toll on the suit, it is unfortunately beyond repair. It was a great fitting suit until its untimely death, bummer.
- Bell Sweep Helmet – Solid helmet with good venting. Even though I crashed I did not need it but it is always good to wear.
- Saucony Progrid Kinvara 2 Shoes – this was the first time I had worn these without socks and they felt good. My pace was pretty good considering how bad I felt. Must have been the shoes!