Saturday, June 6, 2015

Doing the Deuces Wild Double

This past weekend marked the beginning of Tri season for me.  Up to now, it's been skiing, Quadrathlon-ing, and mostly Ultrarunning, and more Ultrarunning, with a relatively small side order of swim/bike.  So in addition to avoiding injury and having fun, my goals/expectations were limited.  Show Low, AZ, where the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival is, sits at over 6,000 feet above sea level, which is more than 3,000 feet higher than our home in Tucson, meaning that oxygen was the limiter, particularly on the swim.  The weather was beautiful.  Just as Tucson was creeping over the century mark, the mercury barely passed 80 in Show Low. 

Just for fun and training, I decided to do both the Deuceman 70.3, as well as the Deuces Wild XTERRA the following day.  There was a kids' triathlon (with the kids' first open water swim) on Saturday, making for a very full weekend at the Fool's Hollow Lake area.  A good number of Tucsonians, many of whom were Karen's fellow Tucson Tri Girls, were there, which made it more social than expected.

In 2011, the Deuceman 70.3 was my first Half IM.  I completed it in a fairly respectable 5 hours and 48 minutes, but that was 4 years and 10 pounds ago.  My two-tiered goals were to either go a full hour faster, or break 5 hours.  I did this one with a sleeved, and admittedly inflexible, wetsuit, with the thought to do the XTERRA swim in a sleeveless wetsuit for comparison.  Historically, I've tried several sleeved wetsuits, but haven't found one that I didn't feel like I was fighting by the end of a HIM or IM swim, so I was curious to find out how fast and comfortable either option was.

The high altitude swim is infamous for creating hypoxic panic in those who go out too fast, so I did my best not to do so.  Despite my best efforts to loosen up the shoulder fabric, I was fighting the wetsuit in short order.  The swim took 31 minutes, slower than expected even with elevation.  I think I was 4th out of the water.  Many agreed the swim seemed overlong, but maybe that was just the hypoxia talking.

Riding off into the pines, similar to my home town of Los Alamos, NM
This was also the long awaited first triathlon on the new Dimond.  Despite having been on it for several months now, I felt funny on the bike for the first 15 miles, and power output was initially low.  I dropped a chain; I missed a turn, but saw the turn markings as I overshot them and got right back in it.  Finally I found my position, and the bike got fun and fast.  The Dimond is amazing.  In spite of the fact that I had a couple miscues and pushed lower average wattage than I did at IMAZ last year, I rode 2:32 on a hilly course that had 2600' of elevation gain (per Trainingpeaks).  Yes, it is a fast bike.  And yes, I can't wait to see what it does at IMAZ this year.

Starting on the Deuceman run
It had warmed up a little by the time I got out on the run, and I stuck with my goal of starting out easy and feeling my way into it, and not overdoing the nutrition on the run.  Again I had to adjust expectations to the altitude.  "Proper pace" was slow, slow, slow for a HIM.  But the run went well and smoothly until the last couple miles, when the tummy started voicing its discontent despite being empty.  I was happy to finish in 4:56, 6th overall, and first in M45-49. 

Definitely a good start to tri season.

Josh (12) and Kelila (7) did the youth triathlons in the afternoon, and got their first taste of open water swims.  Both faced the intimidating prospect with gumption and prevailed! Kelila was 2nd in her AG, continuing her solid tri results.  Much like her parents, she chews up the bike course!

Racin' up a storm!
We have bought or brought oatmeal every
time we've gone to Robin's cabin...
After some dinner and an awards dinner, we retired early at our friends Robin and Rex's cabin, getting rested for the XTERRA.

I approached the XTERRA pretty lightheartedly, and was surprised at how well it went.  The swim was similar to the previous day, only mercifully shorter.  The sleeveless wetsuit was much more comfortable and faster, which makes me think a change of approach may be in order.  The bike course was mostly easy and fun, except for a steep segment with loose rocks, and a corresponding steep downhill segment with loose rocks.  Flowing with the course on a MTB is different than pushing wattage on the road, and in many ways, it's much more enjoyable in both a Zen and adventurous sort of way.  But I'm not as good at it.  The benefit of this is that when I get off the MTB in an XTERRA, I actually get to run people down! The trail run was fun, with a few hilly segments and not too much boulder hopping.  Thanks to the many trail miles I've put in this year, I was able to bounce back easily from yesterday and run only 13 sec/mile slower than I did on the road the previous day.  I suppose slacking a little and having a consequence for it is how one gets motivated to pull it together...don't think I'm ever going to be less than thorough about race prep and execution, even if it's the second race of the weekend and a purported "fun race"/"workout"...

Karen raced the entire XTERRA with one earplug in...
 One interesting footnote: The extensive brown patch on Josh's (green) bike below
is not caked mud, but bees. You can see a few more flying around. As we stood in Subway in Globe, AZ, we saw a swarm of bugs outside, near the car. On closer examination, they were bees. And as we watched the swarm, wondering how we were going to get safely back to the car, they settled enough for me to get quickly and uneventfully into the driver's seat. After 10 minutes of swerving and driving off curbs (and not catching the attention of local law enforcement), about 3/4 were gone, and the gang got safely in. Over the next 90 miles, with several stops and starts, we finally shook off every last one, without a single sting. And courtesy of the Internet, we learned all about bees, swarms, and hives...

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