The Quick & Dirty
2018 Waterman’s International Aqua Bike
Rock Hall, MD
72℉, Sunny, dry roads
1500m swim, 40km bike
Overall Rank - 6/7
Age Group Rank (F-AB) - 6/7
Pre-Race & Warm Up:
Slept in my own bed, got up, packed up my gear and my J, and started the drive out to Rock Hall. I ate two Uncrustables for breakfast as we crossed the bridge into MD on 495. I also clearly drank a bit more water than intended, as I spent a good hour after we got over the Bay Bridge looking for a bathroom that was open at 5am. We very nearly had to stop at the side of the road!
Once we arrived at the race site, which was equal parts breathtaking view and disgusting mudpit, I picked up my packet and did the usual stickers and transition setup. There was a brief “oh crap” moment where I thought I forgot my race belt, then remembered that I wasn’t running so didn’t need one. J and I took a few pics of the harbor view, then made our way over to the Team Z tent to wait for the start.
My warmup consisted of getting my wetsuit on and walking from the Team Z tent to the swim start. Getting on the wetsuit was insane! I definitely need to practice, as once a few kind teammates gave me some pointers, I was doing much better. As Jen and I headed over to the start, I mentioned that maybe I needed a bit more trislide….a comment that wound up being all too true.
1500 meters, 40:09 (2:41/100 meters)
I’m surprised this was over 40 minutes, considering I was in a wetsuit in salty water. Granted, I told myself to take the swim super easy, but I thought I’d be closer to 38 minutes. It did take a good amount of time to haul myself out of the harbor. The “steps” were up at my armpit level, but fortunately a kind and sturdy volunteer grabbed my hand and helped me out. I kept everything calm and relaxed. There wasn’t a lot going on in the way of landmarks, so I really depended on the buoys for siting. I feel like I swam fairly straight. This was my favorite swim to date. 70 degrees, fairly clear water, and just lovely. Minus the neck and underarm chafe, of course!
Someone has never gotten herself out of a wetsuit before, and paid the price today. The only ever time I wore a wetsuit there were strippers. This was so embarrassing. I had to eventually sit in the mud and it STILL took forever to get the suit off my heels. It was a longish walk/run from the water to transition, but wow. Practice!
40 km, 1:38:43 (14.9) mile/hr
Oh so very close to 15 mph! My plan was to get faster with each 5 mile chunk, and I was successful! The course was pretty, with lots of corn fields and other “exotic” views for this suburban girl. It was a little bit lonely out there, since the Aqua Bike athletes were the last wave. Since I’m a slow/average swimmer and a slow cyclist, I didn’t see a lot of people. I did, however, manage to pass a couple of fellow competitors, which was amazing.
Right at the beginning I heard a terrible noise every time I pedaled. Within the first five minutes I realized that my frame pump had come a bit loose and had fallen down towards the drivetrain. It was getting smacked by my pedal with every stroke. I hopped off, stuffed the pump in my hydration pack, and got going again. Its worth pointing out that both at the mount line and here that getting clipped in was practically impossible. My Speedplay pedals have always been a nightmare to clip into, and the muddy transition area made it worse. Any idea why they’re such a pain?
The last few miles did start to get tough. I had to bargain with myself to keep on pushing and not let off the gas. I’m so proud of myself. For the first time every, I’m really pleased with my bike. Yes, I wish I were faster, but that will come with work and some weight loss. I really gave it everything I had!
Once I got back to transition, there was some confusion about where Aqua Bike athletes were supposed to go. Eventually I just took my stuff back into transition, picked up a medal from a group of kids with clipboards, and then found my way back to the Team Z tent to wait for my friends to finish up. I was feeling pretty goofy, which usually means I need some water and salt. I did not have any heart pounding or any other bad symptoms.
Goals & Race Post Mortem
I met all my goals! Good relaxed swim, positive thinking, and a negative split for the bike course. Triple win! I wasn’t very consistent with my workouts this season, so even though I had a lot of improvement as far as bike confidence, it didn’t translate into speed. I’m also significantly heavier than I was last season. I would love to come back to this course and have another go at it after a winter of training.
This was my first time doing a Kinetic race. I’ve heard really good things, and overall, this was a nice race. I think perhaps the volunteer coordinator didn’t give very specific instructions to some, as there were several volunteers at intersections not waving flags or moving at all. Fortunately I had studied the course map and knew where I was going. That wouldn’t stop me from doing another race from Kinetic. Hopefully my run will be in good shape and I can make it a triathlon, although it is really nice to know that Kinetic has Aqua Bike as an option for all their races.