Bike: 47:18 (61/175) -- 33kph
T2 + Run: 26:23 (96/175) -- 25min 5k!!!
Overcast, hard misty rain, warm temperatures. The conditions before the start weren't really the greatest, but it was still race day. This was my first race of the year, and a lot has changed since last year. Training schedules have been modified, a new bike, and much less fear than last year (the half-irons have been done).
Misty rain, and lots of it. Then it would stop, the sun would come out and make it humid and muggy, then it would rain again. Everyone and everything was wet even before the race started. Lesson: bring bags to keep things dry.
Swim: 500m @ ~10min
I felt like I'd be close to getting a PR in this race, so I thought I'd swim without the wetsuit to save time in transition (se below). I think I was the only person in my wave without a wetsuit, so my ego ballooned. :D I seeded myself in the middle of the pack, and then we were off (it was a deep-water start). Things went well for about 100m, then the width of the swim area narrows. All of a sudden, there were people crisscrossing all over the place. I nearly took feet to the head about 3 times, so I moved to the near-outside of the group and got some clear water. My form felt good, but my kick was weak for some reason. Right near the end, I got a bit dissoriented and had to lift my head a lot to navigate to the final turn. Lesson: Need to start swimming more than once a week.
T1: ~4min ?!?
You'd think I was wearing a wetsuit and had swam 2k. I'm actually floored by this, and I should have known. I saw tonnes of people getting out of the T-zone before me, but I wasn't concerned...I guess. I do attribute this to being too calm in getting my spot ready, and forgetting just what to layout. I kept having to dig for stuff in my bag, and double- and triple-check stuff 'cause it felt like I was forgetting stuff. Finally, the "got helmet, shoes and bike - that's enought" moment occurred and I headed out. Then I had a clump of cut grass stuck to my cleat and it wouldn't get into the pedal. But finally, finally, I was off.
Bike: 26km @ 47min18 (33kph)
I'm almost entirely happy with this ride. This is only slightly faster than last year's ride on my Ridley crossbike, and I would have liked a bit more on the Felt, even with the sort-of-wet-sort-of-windy conditions. But there was a big difference still - comfort. I was super comfortable on the Felt S22, and my form was solid the entire time. At the beginning, my legs were funny from the swim, but I managed to persevere with sub-2min/km pace (over 30kph) for the entire duration. Lesson: Need more big-gear/hill/low-cadence work for strength.
Two points of inspiration: passing a gentleman doing the Sprint Du - he was 81 years young and going strong; and playing leapfrog with a woman 53 years young and taking me to task.
One bad thing though. About 2k in you need to cross a metal swing bridge. The platform is a metal mesh that isn't friendly to cyclists of bike tires (i'd rather crash on pavement or gravel any day), and when they're wet, they're like riding on ice. The elite wave hit this bridge and ended up with 2 or 3 of them being ambulance-d away. :( After this unfortunate mishap, everyone else was forced to dismount and walk across the bridge.
This transition was much better. I was still kind of slow (still dealing with all the grass clippings), but I was out in much better time.
Run: 5km @ ~25min
This was a good run for me. I was tired, but I pushed through for once and kept a much better (and feasible) pace. I was definitely pushing, but it was alright. I think I'm still learning just what my limit is, and that I'm still far away from it. So I sucked it up for 4km, and picked it up for the last km. I was certainly uncomfortable, but I wasn't about to passout or anything. A very solid finish for me. Lesson: I can do more than I think I can, so go for it.