You know that feeling you sometimes have during a triathlon or a brick workout? The one that makes you realize that you pushed way too hard on the bike? The one that you hope you won’t feel as you finish up your bike leg?
The beauty of the Aquavelo is that this feeling never comes. Because when you get off your bike, you don’t run. You hand in your timing chip and call it a day.
In other words, instead of swim-bike-run, it’s swim-bike-beat everybody else to the finish line celebration food.
Good deal, right? That was what I figured when I signed up for this weekend’s Eagleman Aquavelo last fall. I’ve been looking forward to the 1.2 mile swim and super-flat 56 mile bike for months. It provided good motivation for focused bike work this winter and spring, which will pay off big time not only this weekend, but at IM Louisville as well.
And while the fact that it would provide that motivation was one reason I signed up, another was the winning time for the women in last year’s race.
The time goal I set in December happened to be 3:25. No coincidence whatsoever.
I might have based my target on the winning time last year, but there was some reasoning behind the goal. I knew that I could put up a 1.2 mile swim in around 30 minutes, and I knew that with some targeted work, I could improve my bike speed on flat courses from the 16-17 mph range to the 19+ mph range.
Of course, getting a new bike helped.
But there was still the work that *I* actually had to do myself. And I did it.
That doesn’t mean that a win, or even top 5, or even top 10 or top 20 is in the cards. You can’t control who shows up on race day, and there are some amazing cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic region who can put up a pretty good swim as well. If somebody pulls out a sub-3 race, I’m not going to beat them. Which is why I have other race goals:
- Win something. There are awards for the top finisher in each age group, as well as for the top 5 competitors overall. In my continued quest to win ALL THE TROPHIES it would be most excellent to get an award in some form on Sunday.
- Beat the long-term target of 3:25. I have a time goal in mind that would represent a spectacular day (who wants to go 20+ mph on a windy course?), and while it’s attainable, I want to keep sight of the fact that I thought even 3:25 was a reach when I set it back in December. 3:25 would be pretty solid and would require a sub 3 hour bike along with a swim just around 30 minutes. That would still be a pretty good race.
- Stay on course At the 5k Reston lake swim two weeks ago, I did a terrible job of swimming a tight course, and took much longer than I should have to get out of the water because of it. I’m in the very last wave, so I’ll be able to watch others tackle the course and figure out how the tide is affecting the water. I plan to take advantage of that.
Oh, and I need to stay on the bike course as well.
Yeah. That is NOT THE BIKE COURSE. Not going to repeat April’s ride.
- Stay in the aerobars. This isn’t that hard for me physically, since I have a good bike fit and pretty good back flexibility. The difficulty will come with the fear of the wind that is inevitable on this course, which is ridiculous because staying in the aerobars is the best way to deal with wind. Many, many miles on Hains Point has driven that concept home, and I won’t forget it on race day, especially since I can go even faster in the aerobars which will bring me closer to my goal to bring home a prize.
- Embrace the pain. At both Columbia and Charleston, I felt like I gave up and didn’t push until the end. Not this weekend. I plan to take advantage of the opportunity to HAMMER the bike without consequences, especially the last 10-15 miles. So what if I can’t move when I come out of T2? For this race, T2 isn’t the transition from bike to run, it’s the transition from bike to collapse.
Now to finish packing tonight and head out over the Bay Bridge tomorrow. If you’re racing this weekend, have a great race! If you aren’t racing this weekend, keep yourself otherwise entertained, perhaps by watching this video that my ex boyfriend posted of himself trying to learn how to ride a unicycle.