Friday, April 1, 2011

First Race of the Year

It's been a long time since I've written anything and I'm not even sure what I'm going to write.  Think perhaps I'll stick with the more recent stuff seeing that's what I remember the best.

Job update.........I do believe that it may be just about time to call the brewery gig quits.  Since the new year there have been a couple of turns for the worse happening there and morale among the staff isn't what it was in 2010, and the benefits aren't what they used to be.  It doesn't make much sense sticking around in a job that is starting to bring me down.....particularly when I really don't have to work at all.  I am still working "occasionally" as I am a person who thinks carefully before burning his bridges......and it is good beer, (although there is a lot less of it).

So what's next then?  Well, there is a federal election coming up and I think I'll try to get a few days in working as a polling clerk.  That would be different....and not too strenuous or long term.  If I don't get hired,...no big deal.  Spring is coming (I hope) and I'll spend my time enjoying the sunshine. 

Talking about strenuous,  during the new year I have been working out regularly in an effort to get this old body super fit.  My first goal during the new year was to compete in the Desert Classic Duathlon down in Phoenix February 20th.  During January and the first half of February I followed a fairly structured workout schedule to prepare myself for that race.  I ran and/or biked 5 days a week and by mid February I felt I was ready.

I flew to Phoenix from Kelowna on February 16.  I was originally scheduled to have about a 2 hour stopover in Vancouver, but due to the fact they had to de-ice the plane in Kelowna, I got into Vancouver an hour late.  I just barely managed to catch the connecting flight in Vancouver (had to actually run through the airport ----- training till the last minute).  Finally got into Phoenix in the early afternoon where my brother and his wife met me at the airport.  Waited for my baggage to arrive.  No problem getting my suitcase.........but, unfortunately, my bike was not able to run as fast as I was in Vancouver, and missed the flight.  Westjet was very apologetic and did everything they could to get me my bike ASAP.  It eventually arrived late afternoon the following day.  They brought it directly to where I was staying with my brother in an RV Resort in Mesa.  Although I was stressed out and worried about my bike, Westjet did all they could to make the experience as painless as possible.


Once my bike arrived, I was able to relax a bit and prepare myself for the race.  On the Friday we headed to Focus Cycle to pick up my registration materials (ended up with the coolest number....99).
  On the following day we headed up to the race site to pre-ride and pre-run the course.  However, the weather was such that we were able to do neither.  It was about 8 - 10 C, raining like heck, with wind gusts so fierce that everything that had been set up at transition had been promptly and unceremoniously blown down again.  So, aside from driving around the bike course in the warmth and safety of the car, and walking around the transition area while being buffeted by the wind and pelted by the rain, I really didn't get the pre-race experience I had hoped for.  It should also be said that my brother stayed inside the truck while I bravely slogged around the transition site.  Everyone was hoping that the weather would dramatically improve by the next day.  I couldn't see competing in the conditions that we had just experienced.

The next day dawned cloudy and cool, but at least it wasn't windy or rainy.  I was ready for the long anticipated battle. 

My wave of the race started at exactly 8:15, and off we all went.

The first run was about 5.6 km long, and the first 2 k or so was a gentle uphill section, first along a paved road and then on a service road through the desert in McDowell Mountain Park.  Later we made our way through up and down single track before getting back to transition.  Once back there I changed shoes, got on my helmet, grabbed my bike and headed out onto the road for a 33 to 34 k bike ride. 

Although I was grateful to get onto my bike (we are pretty good friends) the next hour plus was a tough grind.  I  didn't maintain the speed I had hoped for and consequently ended up taking more time than I had hoped.  I think maybe my legs were feeling the effects of the previous run.  By the time I once again got back to transition I was really looking forward to getting this torture over with.  My legs were not thrilled with having to run yet another 4.6 k.  My quads and calves were loudly complaining from the get go, and reluctantly permitted me to plod around the final leg of the journey.  This final bit of desert trail was actually an intermediate mountain bike trail that was composed of brief but more intense elevation changes than the first run.  I suffered through this section, being passed by a few runners, mostly of the opposite gender.  I did follow this one 40 year old fellow for a good distance and passed him a few hundred metres before the finish.  I talked to him a bit and he was having trouble with his back.  I jokingly like to think that the only guy I passed on the run had a broken back.  I finally made it to the finish line.....yaayy!!!!!  During the latter portion of the race the temperature had been falling, and about a half hour after crossing the finish line the skies opened up.  I hardly noticed cause I was too tired to care.



Overall, I was a bit disappointed in my performance at the race, but I'll be back next year and I'll be better prepared than I was this year.

These are my official times.  I was 4th out of 5 men in my 60 to 64 year old age group
Overall----2:22:20  
Run 1 - 31:04      Transition - 1:56       Bike - 1:14:35     Transition - 1:39     Run 2 - 33:05

I have a lot more to say, but I think I'll save it for the next time.  If I don't get this post published right now, it might take me another 2 weeks to get it out there.