Throughout the summer, I went into the city for Dare2Tri’s bike / swim sessions and Chicago Tri Club’s swim / run sessions. After the issues in June, the focus behind them was getting ready for Chicago. Even during the ‘washing machine’ swims, things went well for the most part. All of this was great practice for what was to be my Tri season finale.
Knowing that traffic / road closures could cause delays Sunday morning, I
decided to do packet pickup myself. IMO,
the Expo is set up like a Vegas casino – in that even when you see an exit, it
isn’t always an exit. At least pick up
went smoothly once I finally found the right place to start at. Having gotten all of the race materials, and
just as important, the alcohol bracelet, I was set to do the Tri. And then the water decided not to play nicely…
The first e-mail dropped the swim to 750 for everyone and offered people the option of a Du. When that happened, I told Eric that I still wanted to do the full Tri. Unfortunately, early Sunday morning it became a mandatory Du.
Upon making it into the city, we ran into lots of closed streets and delays. The closest we were able to get at 6:30 was Navy Pier. So it was a mile walk to transition. Eric met me at the entrance, and we still had plenty of time to set everything up. As a Du, the set up was much more simple (just helmet, sunglasses and bottles on/next to bike).
After making sure that everything was properly set and we had the layout for ‘swim out’, bike in/out and run out properly mapped, we made our way to the start. It’s a 3/4 mile walk that is best done in shoes. Even if it hadn’t been a Du, I still would have been in shoes pre-swim. But with it being Run/Bike/Run, I just walked there in my run shoes.
Given the duplicate run leg, I had planned to do the first one more slowly than normal. I figured that this would save my legs for the second run. After we started in a time-trial type one, the pace was a little bit faster than I had planned. We ended up passing a few of my Dare2Tri teammates, making it to T1 in about 8:15.
After a quick T1, we headed out on a challenging 15.8mi bike. Because one side of Lake Shore Drive was closed, the bike was reversed. You could tell who didn’t pay attention during the briefings – those were the ones riding right. They were also the ones serving penalties at mile 1 of the run.
As with the past several bike legs, we passed a tremendous amount of people during it. We had a tailwind on the way out, which helped us to almost catch Alberto and Justin. But we paid for that wind ‘help’ on the way back – doing hills into a headwind aren’t fun. Even still, Eric told me that we topped out at 39.8 and had an average of 21.
We had a solid T2 and left it just seconds behind Alberto and Justin. The first 1.25 miles went well, and then the hills came into play. I remembered the first one at about 1.5 from 2017. However, because of course changes, we had a ‘new’ second one at about 1.8. With the heat and climbs, I ended up having to walk part of these hills. As we were at about 2.2, Val and Andrew came past us headed the other way. While I was starting to struggle, my main thought was ‘I need to finish strong and not let the bike go to waste’.
Going into the race, I knew that I was giving 5-7 minutes up on the run to Alberto and Val. With that solid bike, I had probably 12 minutes on Val going into the run. I would have been distraught for giving up 13 minutes on the run. Even though the last mile was a moderately painful run/walk, I turned it on when we made the final turn and finished strong.
A huge THANK YOU to Eric and to Dare2Tri for all of their support. Not just during the race, but also leading up to it. Eric was my pilot during many of those bike sessions.