If you will get a chance to race in a speedway, will you do it? I had the chance to do it, not in a race car, but with my arms, a bike and my legs.
As an inaugural race, the Miami Speed Triathlon, offered a great site, the Homestead Miami Speedway. To be inside an actual speedway and feel like a race car pilot was sure a seller for me. The only thing that the race lack was… people.
I went to the bike drop and package pickup on Saturday with my fellow teammate Gene. As we got to the site we were impressed with the lack of people around the site. Probably this has been the smallest transition area I’ve seen. Then we analyzed the distance of the swim area to the transition, which was kind off a long run. But then, I was happy to be inside an actual race track.
Race day. I had to wake up an hour earlier since it was a little long ride. As usual I had an oatmeal with almond milk, a teaspoon of almond butter and a teaspoon of flaxseed. I had a cup of instant coffee and sip plain water from a cup. On Saturday the heat was unbearable, so I was expecting the same for Sunday. So I took a closer look to hydration just in case. Although there was the morning inconvenience of a closed expressway in the early hours I still got in time. Got to transition, said hi to fellow teammates Gene, Henry and Coach Marcelo, and prepared T-area. Bike mounted with aero bottle with plain water, 22oz bottle of electrolyte and 2 gel shots would be enough. 20 min before I took a Race Caps Supreme and head out for the swim start.
I absolutely love to swim in lakes. The feel of fresh water is by far better than the feel of an open swim. No waves, no salt.. simple as that. Although the human made lake in the speedway seemed more like a home for a bunch of alligators ready to have a morning feast with fresh triathlete’s meat, it was not bad as it seemed. The start of the race was made by pairs, instead of a mass start. This was nice since you didn’t had to fight and punch people in order to pass along the swim. For the Olympic distance we had to step on the timing mat before starting second loop. Clean and awesome swim.
Off into the long transition from the lake to T1, it was around 0.25 mi. Jumped to the bike and got out of the stadium. I noticed that I started to have problems with the front derailleur/chainring. I couldn’t do any shifting from my small ring to the big ring. After trying several times it seems I forced the chain to finally be in the big ring and there it stayed (a week like this until I finally took Ale to the shop to get fixed, I should get her back some time soon). The ride was flat but it felt windy, especially when coming back. There were a lot of non-race riders around and sometimes you got confused with the directions. As I was coming back I followed a non-race rider and went the wrong way. I had to shout to one of the cops holding the streets to ask where was the right way to go. As I was getting back to the race track I watched my coach and encouraged me (energy boost!). So far in the whole race I didn’t see any person of my age group, which I thought it was really weird. As I made the dismount of the bike one of my clips fell in the dismount area, and I had to go back to pick it up. Seconds lost there in T2.
Off to the run. I didn’t expect much from my run, just to do a great run and feel good. I tried to keep my pace but my Garmin was in bike mode and forgot to add the pace, so in a certain way I was just running by feel. I was starting to feel the heat, so the technique here was to cool off in every water stop I saw. What I did was to take a sip of water and pour the rest on top of my head, neck, and splash my face (training a lot in the heat has it’s perks). There were several spots in the run that was windy, so in a certain way this help to cool down the heat. Two loops inside and outside the stadium. It was great to run in the race track, although inside the track was the part that you felt the heat more. Then again I couldn’t see anyone from my age group… until the last half mile. I started to increase my rev's and picking up my pace. I passed the competitor and felt good, and I could see the already the finish line in front of me. All of the sudden, I felt a strong wind by my side… and the athlete I just passed started sprinting and passed me. Unfortunately for him I’m very competitive and I wouldn’t go down without a fight. So already with a strong pace, I said "Oh, shit!" and I started to sprint to catch him. The crowd went ballistic! I almost catched him, but my legs were already under a heavy pace from before and I slowed down steps before the finish line.
With my heart on my mouth, the volunteers started congratulating both of us and I congratulate the athlete that passed me. After cooling down and waiting for results I met up with my coach and teammates to see how they did. My teammates did great making it to the podium in their respective categories, this made me very happy especially for Gene since it was his first podium. Finally some results were posted for the Olympic race… and my surprise was that I ended 3rd in my age group. In my disbelief, I triple checked the results and it was correct. For the first time ever I would be on the podium! Now, remember the athlete that passed me in the end? he said to me… “not even with that sprint I could beat you”, he finished 5th, and congratulated me :)
I have to admit that there were not many competitors in the race. But being in the podium provided me with a little needed ego-boost haha. After the race, Henry invited the group to a well deserved feast at his home, thanks Henry and family for the invite!
Total Time: 2:32:42
Swim Time: 31:55
T1 Time: 2:46
Bike Time: 1:10:24
T2 Time: 0:54
Run Time: 46:44
This is my second Olympic distance race. I never thought I will end up in a podium. A PR race in all the 3 disciplines and overall of 48min cut from my first race (First Olympic race here!). Of course, my first race was more of a challenging race, Escape To Miami, and I will attempt the same race in 3 weeks. I feel that the results I will get on that one will really tell how better I’m now from last year.
As miles have been increasing like crazy, I haven’t had much time to update… but don’t worry folks.. I’m still alive! 60 days to go for Ironman Florida!