So after the horrible race in 70.3 Augusta I felt I needed something to redeem myself, or at least something to feel better about. Bernie suggested a barely new race in Cape Canaveral called Rocketman Triathlon. A unique race with 3 distances, Classic, International and Half, but the Classic and International distances had a twist… both distances had 30 miles in the bike.
So 2 weeks after Ironman 70.3 Augusta I decided to join my teammates and we went to the Space Coast. We traveled on Saturday, which had a special event going on…. the 2014 Ironman World Championship, a day that have become some kind of ritual for me since the connection that I have for race now. So trying to keep up with the updates while traveling and finally watching the amazing performances of Sebastian Kienle (which I was rooting for) and the phenomenal run by Mirinda Carefree, I knew that I needed to do something special on raceday the next morning. I signed up for the Classic distance and I knew that the next morning I needed to go like Sebi and smash the bike like the Uberbiker did.
We had a nice dinner the day before with the team and then race morning came. Decent weather but through the day it will get hot. Nice transition but the only problem that we found was that the area was filled with splinters and some bad grass. So in a certain way you had to be careful while barefoot of where you were stepping. Luckily I had an extra pair of shoes for the warm up and then some flip flops to walk to swim start.
The swim was an interesting thing. In order to get to the water you had to walk a small set of stairs down to the small deck and then you had to jump in the really shallow water. You had to be careful a little of where you were stepping (again) while in the water. You walk to the bouys and waited for the swim start.
So the gun went off and we started swimming… it was a short swim but while I was swimming to my best of my experience the people next to me were literally WALKING the damn swim! Really?!… WTF! They were going faster than me… I felt like everyone was cheating… except me… what could I do…? Back to the small deck, and it was a bottle neck filled with traffic that in order continue, you had to jump into the deck and then walk the stairs.
That took a while, lost like 2 minutes from finishing the swim to get to the entrance of transition. Anyway… grabbed my bike and exited T1 and I was ready to go on an all out assault on the Queen K (Ahem!, I meant the bike course ;) )!!!
Definitely the bike course was the best thing of this race and is 30 miles for a reason. You are entering a restricted area of NASA… which encompasses the buildings where the space shuttle and rockets are build/ maintained, the structure that transport the same and the launch pad where they are launched and go off to space. For me visiting this area was basically the closest I have ever been to space... as a kid it was a dream of mine to become an astronaut… so this was really, really special for me :) !!!
So the assault was on… the bike starts with a little bridge and the continues for 2 straights long streets that ends up inside NASA’s iconic buildings and structures, and the turnaround is in the launch site of the space shuttle! By times it was windy but it was manageable… my mind was focused and my inner Sebi assaulting the Queen K and passing a lot of people.
I had no idea in what position I was, but it didn’t matter… just wanted to go as fast as I could in the bike! The fatigue was kicking in the 5 last miles… but just hanged in there.
Back to T2. A lot of splinters on the dismount and felt 3 on my feet… ouch! Got lost in transition looking for my place and lost some time. Anyway the damaged was done and Bernie caught up to me in transition. Like a rocket I ran out T2. I felt my legs really heavy, but that was the purpose of the bike attack. My run currently sucks big time, so I needed to do good on the bike, and hold on to my life in the 3.75 mile run.
A big guy passed me together with Bernie, but that was a good sign since that meant he will definitely podium in his age group. A small hill awaited around mile 1, but a nice surprise was around mile 2… where you entered a small hangar area in an airfield and some classic fighter planes were waiting for us… really nice!!!
On the way back you hit again the small hill and it was a mile to go to the finished… I saw my run split and it was really bad. I didn’t matter, the fun of the weekend with my friends and the nice surprise in the bike course inside NASA was all worth it. Ran with whatever had left on the legs, my friends where cheering and I did something that I couldn’t do on 70.3 Augusta… PANDA KICK MOFOS!!!!
Relaxed, reunited with everyone and waited for all my teammates to finish. Eventually everyone finished and hanged out for a bit until we could see the results. To my surprise I ended 2nd on my age group, and had the fastest bike split in my age group! My inner Sebi was satisfied with ripping the bike course :) . Remember the guy that passed me with Bernie on the start of the run? He was the 1st on my age group, so technically I was first on my age group while flying on the bike course!
Swim: 9:04:8 (lost 2min in the freaking bottleneck and stairs)
T2: 1:41 (lost seconds while lost in T2)
The best thing is that everyone in my team placed! So it was a good weekend overall for everyone!!! I would like to thank Kam for coming all the way from Miami to cheer the team and for the great photos he took of us! He took first place as best supporting cheer squad!
After the disappointing race in Augusta this felt much better and a high point to finally end my triathlon season!!! Off season will concentrate on other things but I have a big bucket race already coming up in 2015!