Mother Nature is a Witch (Andy’s Race) – 4/10/22


(Photo courtesy of Happy Pace Coaching)

After almost 8 months since my last outdoor Triathlon, I was looking forward to racing in Greenville.  I felt prepared, and thought that I had everything I needed to succeed.  However, Mother Nature pulled a sneak attack, and caused a lot of issues…

As I was looking at the weather while packing, it looked as if it would be mid 50s when we got out on the bike, and a little better when we hit the run.  So I planned for a ‘normal’ bike/run — meaning no base layer.

On the way down to Greenville, Paul had to stop by Charlotte Running Company to help them out.  While he was, I took the opportunity to pick up a new pair of running shoes.  My normal pair had worn out, and my normal running pair were starting to wear.  These will be great going forward in the season, and the staff there did a great job helping me to find what I needed!

When I woke up Sunday morning, Paul delivered the news that a cold front had come through and that it was 32 degrees out.  While I knew the race would now be more of a challenge, there really wasn’t anything that I could do at 5AM with everything close closed.  Thankfully, it was a pool swim instead of an open water (OWS).  I know that if it had been an OWS with air temps at 32, I couldn’t have raced safely. 

The swim was a 8x50m snake swim, with relatively wide lanes.  Things went OK with it for the most part, even though I had challenges getting under the lanes / hitting lanes, and having my gogles fly off during the last lap. 

When we made it to T1, I threw on the only extra layer that would work.  Unfortunately, my running pants would have gotten caught in the pedals, so I just had a windbreaker.  To say the bike was brutal as the winds (10-15mph) hit on top of the cold would be an understatement…

At 5 miles in, we had to stop since I could no longer clench my hands around the bars.  At this point, Paul graciously gave me his heavy gloves and we went on.  At about 9, we had to stop again as my whole body was freezing up again.  At that point, I almost tapped out.  But even as miserable as I was in the cold and wind, I decided to go on.  The final stop was at about 2mi out.  The mental game here was won by saying ‘we can make it back to T2 before they can reach us’.  And even though it was another 5-8 min in high winds, we made it.

In T2, I was able to throw on running pants.  But at that point, I was completely frozen and stiff.  It took roughly 2 miles before I had full feeling back in my body.  While the run was essentially a walk, I did still sprint into the chute as normal.

While this race definitely did not go as planned, I learned a lot from it.  I will have a pair of heavy bike gloves and a base layer in my bag going forward for pretty much every race.  Texas will be the only exception, as a ‘cold’ TX race is say 60 with 0% humidity instead of the normal 90s and humid…

I am extremely grateful to Para Guide and Paul for all of their / his support throughout the weekend.  If you would like to help support Para Guide, please click visit https://www.paraguide.org/how-to-help.

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