Virtual Chicago Triathlon – 8/30/20

As I’ve said in prior blogs, I am not a fan of virtual races. In general, I will just do them in support of organizations that I want to support or that have supported me. To this point, they’ve all been 5Ks. However, last weekend I did my first virtual Triathlon.

While I’ll go into the details from each of the legs below, I want to say two things — (1) A virtual triathlon is nothing like the actual thing and (2) I look forward to seeing a substancial crowd at the Ron Jon Tri (SE Regionals) next weekend so we can have a ‘normal’ 2021 season.

While I’ve done running since the Pandemic occurred, I haven’t done much on the other two physical legs. I was able to get back in the pool about a month ago, but the last time I was on a tandem was in November 2019 in southen CA.

Leg 1 (Swim)
Since getting back in the pool, the longest sets prior were 200s. It was a planned build back to doing longer sets. But this needed to be a 750, and I found a way to do it.

Looking at the data afterwards, I went out too fast (-27s of CSS) and paid for it midway through. I do remember having to take extra time on the wall at 15, 17 and 19. But by about 21, I felt the rhythm again and was able to finish strong. Overall, the total was only about a minute off of the 2019 CSS paces. Not bad for being out of the pool for 5 months.

Leg 2, Take 1 (Bike)
As with every new pilot, we’ll do fitting and then ride around the parking lot to ensure that everything’s solid before we go out. During those test rides, we kept hearing an odd noise only when we were both on. As he went through all the checks, we found that it was spoke tension on the rear wheel.

As neither of us had the tools to address it, we had to temporarily scrub the bike. I then took a nap before what would have been the final leg.

Leg 2, take 2 (Run)
When I went out to get ready for the bike, it was a cool and cloudy morning — the perfect weather for a run. Thankfully by the time we were supposed to run, it was still overcast.

In the past, I have paid dearly for going out too fast. And a lot of the time it’s not even conscious action. So for this run, I told my guide to make sure that we kept mile 1 fairly slow.

While it wasn’t the run that I had hoped, the pacing did help. Mile 1 was still faster than I wanted, but slow enough that I had gas for most of the race. The overall time was about 5 minutes slower than 2019 times, but 3 minutes faster than 2020 races.

Leg 3 (Bike)
When my pilot returned, he brought a working tandem with him. After doing the proper fit, we went out on a 15 mile, mostly hilly ride.

At about mile 7 or 8, I felt my left leg sieze up as we were in the middle of an intersection. We were able to make it through, and after about 1-2 minutes, the cramps passed. We made it back to my condo without any other incidents.

I’m grateful to everyone who helped so I could complete the virtual Tri. I’m definitely looking forward to physical reacing in 2021…

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