A race I have done several times already. But this year MiamiMan was special. It had become the USAT Long Course National Championship. So yes, a National Championship right here in my backyard. So of course I couldn’t help myself and try my best here.
I signed up for the Half Iron Aquabike, and that meant a chance to get a spot on Team USA (again). I started riding more with iRun Rice Triathlon Team, and really pushing myself on what I could do on the bike. The swim, I restarted swimming but of course, way far from the level I used to be.
So the vibes of a National Championship started to feel real, the Half Iron Aquabike means exactly the same distances as a Half Ironman, except that you don’t run at the end (you only swim 1.2 and ride 56 miles). Unlike the first aquabike I did, this race ended once you entered transition. So I didn’t need to run to the finish line to end the race.
The swim was non-wetsuit legal. Race morning was pouring and had to start around 10 minutes later since Mr. Sun was still sleeping. The rain helped cool down the temperatures in the morning, which was perfect. So around 6:50 am my wave started. We were together with the Half Ironman participants. I was wearing a sleeveless skinsuit (I may be thinking to upgrade to a sleeve one eventually), which after swimming for a while I started chafing on the neck, even though I applied Body Glide to my neck before hand. The swim was composed of a 2 loop course. I believe I was doing well, I was aiming for my worst time in the distance which was 35 min.
After finishing the swim, I saw my time in my watch and it was more than 40 min… Man! Talking about expectations! I sucked big time! I forgot that I could do a 35 min, WHEN I was Ironman fit, which was more than 2 years ago haha!
As I grabbed my bike on transition the visor fell off my helmet. It would take a while to put it back, so I decided to leave it behind. Too bad since now I wouldn’t look cool on my race photos :(
The bike was strategically set up. The plan was to hammer it and go all out for 56 miles and kill the legs, because after all, no running at the end :) . During the bike, the temperatures were very favorable, it stayed cool after the rain, although the roads were wet and it became really dangerous on the curves. I saw lot of people on the ground, and even my back tire slipped on one, so of course I needed to be more careful on those curves.
Aside that I saw a lot of people drafting, I managed to keep with 2 other cyclists in a safe zone (3 bikes behind). This quite helped as I started to pace myself for the whole bike course. It was nice because we were pacing each other and in a certain way taking turns on the head pull. This course can be tricky, but really helpful if you manage how to use the tailwind and headwind sections. The course had a 2 loop course in the middle of it, which basically was a square loop.
Around mile 45 I was already entering fatigue mode, but need it to keep up the pace. My pace buddies spread already, leaving one behind and I was trying to keep up with another one, but eventually took off almost at the end. On mile 50 I was on survival and the winds started to pick up more and more.
It felt the longest 5 miles to go but finally reached dismount and ran to transition on jelly legs. Once on transition I died for approximately 10 minutes and eventually clean myself a little and went to the finish line to grab my finisher medal and drinks/food.
So doing my first half distance aquabike was a nice experience. Is good to feel that you can push on the bike without worrying about running afterwards.
5th place of 9
A dream came true
With a 5th place, I secured my spot for Team USA. After doing multisport for so many years (8 years as of now), I always thought to be part of Team USA and wear proudly the USA Kit in a World Championship. I mean... is the closer thing for mortals to feel like Olympians ;) . So although I still need to see if it’s possible financially, my next big race would be the ITU Multisport World Championship - Aquabike in Pontevedra, Spain on May 4, 2019 :) .