Friday, December 30, 2011

ITU World Champs - Preamble

As in all things this year this race report is long overdue, some would say late......
So here it is ... The preamble.....

Anyway..... So myself and the support clan arrived a whole week before race day (mainly to help with the jet lag but also take in some sights and sounds of Las Vegas). The journey from the airport was fairly straightforward (not too many u turns) and we got to our nice little hotel, the Hilton Garden Inns at Henderson. Unlike most hotels in Vegas this had no slot machines anywhere in sight (thank fully), but if we needed one desperately enough we were pretty much located in the parking lot of SunSet station so all was not lost if we fancied a little gamble!

The jetlag barely happened (which was a good thing), on Sunday late afternoon I went for a little run in the surrounding area (basically I ran up a fairly long hill and back). It was still over 80 at 5pm. I hadn't really settled on my expected race pace for the 30k run, but the weeks before I was knocking out 10ks in an easy 5:50/ k... but with the hills of the race course I expected this to drift to 6:00 and then with the race fatigue probably nearer 6:15s..... however when faced with the prospect of 80 degree heat I thought I simply wouldn't worry about it and see what happened!

The days preceding the race I got my bike set up and headed down to what was the main talking point of the 120k bike course - namely the "3 Sisters". These are basic 3 rather nasty lumps one after the other which we would hit at about the 85k point of the course.... and when I say nasty I mean it, I believe the final lump had a 20% ramp in it. However having read all about this and finding some youtube footage I had geared myself (literally) for it, having had something like a 13-29 put on my bike - this would have been good enough to see me up a alpine mountain - and indeed probably saw me overgeared for these little beauties - however I was thankful of gear 28 on race day!! So - I bimbled out a couple of times to the three sisters and got less scared of them pretty quickly.

The other days before the race we spent doing some sight seeing:
  • Hoover Dam in truly awesome and an inspiration ... Amazing to see what past generations have achieved with little in the way of what we know as modern technology. If you are ever near it you really should go and find out about it.

  • Red Rock canyon - whilst geared up for tourism this seems to have been done so without any real invasion to the area which is an achievement in itself. Taking the 12mile scenic drive after a stop at the tourist information centre is well worth the short trip north of the strip. Spectacular scenary for sure - I would love to have had the time to walk and maybe camp around that area.

  • The Strip - well a trip to Vegas simply wouldn't be complete without a journey along the strip (at least the section from the Luxor down to the Belagio and on to the Venetician). Doing this the day after the flight in may not have been the greatest idea (as we were all tired and grumbly bears by about 6pm), but still an interesting if somewhat completely different spectacle from the above two.

I also did the usual thing (dragging the support crew around) of race reccie - taking a look at Lake Las Vegas (the swim), and driving the south and north shores of Lake Mead (the bike). Wasn't so worried about the run, I knew it would be hilly so why make it worse for myself by actually looking at it beforehand?!

Venue for the 4k Swim. Nice!
  Prior to race day I had seen many svelt like athletes around the expo .... and I mean the fat free type. Feeling a little bit out of my league (like what was I doing here type thing), I decided my best coping strategy come race day was to pretend I was the equivalent of a lottery winner at Kona. ie love the experience, be amazed you are there and don't worry about all the people coming past you, they are allowed (afteral they clearly didn't enjoy life as they don't have any body fat ergo do not dring beer and indulge in chocolate....)... now I'm sure this isn't the case, the fact is they train hard and are talented - but it helped me mentally speaking to think this!!

Anita looking in pain but actually this was excellent treatment!

The day before race day the inevitable phaffing took place when it came to bike racking - and without going into too much detail by this time the usual tri race buddies of Jules and Anita had arrived, although staying at another local hotel and yours truly had agreed to give Anita a lift down to the race start (it was a 12mile split transition) for bike racking. Significant amount of PHAFFING nearly led to me blowing a casket and I ended up taking Jules and Anita (incl all three bikes) and the every so calming Popey (sherpa) in our rental "car" (said losely as it was a substantial vehicle - to fit 4 adults and 3 bikes in with only taking off one front wheel (of a bike!!) you can see what I mean. We got to the lake and I had to phaff quite a bit (although not entirely my fault as my racking block didn't allow my back wheel in to rack my bike)... we finally said goodbye to bikes and got back to our respective hotels for some rest before the inevitable 4am wake up on race day.

Anita, Myself and Jules - race briefing D -2. READY NOW!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:31 am

    Lovely memories for us. We are very proud of you x