I don't think I've ever started a race with more apprehension than I have with the 2011 Rumpass in Bumpass International.
It wasn't the distance or my training. I've done plenty of Olympic-distance races, including Giant Acorn last season, which is on the same course, and my training has been very solid this winter and spring. In fact, I don't think I've ever come into a tri season with such a good base so early in the year.
It was the weather. In a word, it sucked. A steady rain was falling, with increasing and gusty winds. And the temperature, in the 50s at race time, didn't do anything to keep me warm. After setting up transition and covering my gear as best as possible I sheltered for a while under the C-ville Tri tent, shivering in my wetsuit.
By the time I got into the water for the 6th wave I was thoroughly discouraged. Cold, wet, and with no confidence. But the activity of treading water started to warm me up as we waited, and being in the water took away thoughts of the rain.
The triangular swim course starts on one side of peninsula and finishes on the other, with the transition area located on the ground in-between. The first leg went smoothly, after the initial bumping and jostling. Turning to begin the second leg I had trouble sighting the second leg. After a while I realized I was well off to the left and had to adjust to get back onto course. Eventually I sighted the second turn buoy and got my bearings. By the second leg the wind was coming from our right, and the water was much choppier. For some reason this made me happy, and I found myself enjoying the pitching around I was taking as I finished this and the final leg.
Swim -- 32:54. (9/32 AG). This was ridiculously slow for me. Everybody seemed to have slow swim legs, but I usually place higher relative to the field. I can only assume that my navigation errors really held me back.
I decided before the race that I would put on arm warmers for the bike. I knew it would be slow, but I was afraid of the cool air and rain. My transition time, usually a strong point, showed the effects of this decision. T1 -- 3:32, (17/32 AG).
As I got on the bike I felt comfortable and warm, despite my earlier fears. I got down in the bars quickly and started overhauling riders from the previous waves.
Rumpass has a two-loop bike course, and it's one of my favorites. A few rollers, and several sections where you can really get going. I was surprised at how many riders I was passing as I got going.
By the end of the second loop I was feeling good and ready for the run. Coach Debi's infamous "double bricks" had me ready to go. A shoes-off running dismount and it was on to the final acts. 1:08:59 (4/32 AG, 21.5 mph avg) -- Very happy with this. A good bike leg.
Transition was a mud pit by now, but I got a pretty quick change and got out on the run with no problems. 1:35 (6/35 AG)
Despite the mud bog that was transition and the run start, I felt comfortable going into the run. Got in a good groove with a solid woman runner for the first few miles, then started to pick up my pace on the second half. Saw Mark passing the other way on both legs of the run, about a 1-1/2 miles ahead -- c'est la vie.
A strong run leg -- over 2 minutes faster than my run leg from last year's Giant Acorn, after a similar bike split. A good omen for the rest of the season. 46:12, 6/32 AG.
I had an enjoyable race, not what I anticipated when I was shivering at the start. Were it not for a lousy swim leg and T1, I had a good shot to fight for the 3rd podium spot. Nonetheless, I was very pleased for an early season race, especially with a strong run off of the bike. Next up, the Kinetic 1/2 IM, then a relaxing 6-day hike on the Appalachian Trail. 2:33:10 (6/32 AG, 109/435 males)