We got to Montauk without a problem. There are two transition areas and usually we drop the stuff off for T1 and drive to T2, drop stuff off and catch the race bus back to T1. This year I out my faith in the Wingman and sent him up to T2 with my running gear and explained how I like it laid out (like it's difficult to put a pair of sneakers and a visor on the ground). With Wingman off to do his job, I setup T1 and then joined up with Wynn and Teresa for the 1/2 mile walk down the beach to the swim start. Once we got there I spotted Wingman coming down the beach. I went back to get him and then came back to Teresa. Soon after Jen and Dave stopped by to say hello. Soon it was time to enter the water.
I decided to only wear my wetsuit bib. I figured the water would warm up quickly and didn't feel like wearing my full suit. Turns out it was a good choice for me. When I first got in the water, it took my breath away. But it seemed to warm up quickly. It looked like it was going to be a good swim. There was no sweep and the current was with us instead of against us. When the horn went off I started swimming. I made my way through traffic pretty easily. I settled into my rhythm and just focused on sighting. I could tell the current was helping because I was passing buoy after buoy like I was channeling my 'inner Ian' (minus the metronome beeping). I felt really good and was passing swimmers in my wave and the wave before me. About halfway through the swim my rhythm had to change. There was a little swell to the water so depending where I was on the swell I would have to literally freeze mid-stroke to let myself 'fall' with the swell and then resume swimming. At the end of the race I was talking to Wynn and Teresa and they said they had to do the same exact thing.
The swim ended easily and I looked at my watch. Much faster than last year. Niiiiiiiiceeeee. I walked up the beach to T1 to get ready for the bike. Grabbed my stuff and I was off. I felt good early on. My new wheel was performing quite nicely. I have a new Zipp 1080 rear wheel and it's so smooth. I made my way to Montauk highway and was passing many people. I wasn't flying yet, but I had a nice cadence going. I noticed a guy pass me (#441) and he had an ipod hidden on his inner arm and headphones on. really?!?! You can't go 40 minutes without music? Jerk. I passed him to get away and turned onto Montauk highway. When I turned onto West Lake drive, it was all out riding. It must be an ever so slight downhill with a tailwind because I was flying. I looked at my speed and I was doing between 25-26mph on the flats. I made my way down to the turn around and there were quite a few kids on the side of the road. It's been 5 years, but I still sweat when I see small children on the side of the road during a race. At least this time they were with their parents. On the circle Wynn blew by me. We exchanged hello's and he was gone. I was now making my way back to Montauk highway to head to the park. I was dreading the hill coming up. I swear every year the hill gets bigger and bigger. Teresa said it's from erosion washing the road away so the hill gets higher. Jen thinks it's plate tectonics forcing the hill higher and higher. Honestly, I think it's a combination of the two.
I made my way up the hill and was on my way down. Once I settled into a straightaway, I heard three words that chilled my blood. "On your right". Huh?!?! I am riding near the guard rail and someone (#40) wants to pass on my right. Just an FYI, but passing on the right is illegal. All passes must be made from the left. I turn my head back and said "don't pass on my right. You have to pass on my left." Then the stupid girl still tried to pass. I heard her yelp something to me and I braced myself for what was coming next. I was up out of the aerobars hanging on, waiting for something stupid and she delivered. Her front wheel and my rear wheel clipped and I began to wobble. I did some weight shifting to stay upright and I could hear her come crashing down behind me. I know this sounds cruel, but I was glad she was the one that went down and not me. But now I had a new problem. I felt something rubbing. My wheel got knocked out of alignment. Crap. I also could not shift back onto my big ring. So not only did she take out my wheel, she took out something in my derailleur. Damn kids. As I kept riding, I reach down to release my rear brake. I knew there were no more downhills so I could sacrifice this brake. The rubbing did not stop. I look down again and see that the wheel is rubbing on the frame. Crap. I look at the mileage and calculate how much more I had to ride. It was about 1.5 miles. I gambled and kept pedaling instead of stopping to try and fix the wheel. Sinead was disappointed that I didn't use my elbows on the girl and Wingman was upset that I didn't headbutt her.
I finally made it to T2 and could feel how bad the wheel was rubbing. Plus my legs were telling me how hard of an effort that was. So help me if I could find that kid I would kick her ass right there. Seriously. I don't care that there is an age difference and she's a kid. She killed my race and I wanted her to suffer more.
I put on my sneakers (that Wingman so skillfully laid out for me) and went out to the run course. I had a lot of trouble getting going. My legs were dead. I also ran in fear that Jen was somewhere on the run course and I didn't want her to catch me walking. Near the 1 mile marker I saw her as she was finishing up her run. Phew, I am safe from this point on. I kept the feet moving, but it was a chore. I walked the aid stations so I could drink some water. Then I would run again. When I was approaching the 2 mile mark, I saw Teresa. We exchanged high 5's and continued on. The 2nd half of this run is somewhat downhill. I finally made my way out of the park and towards the lighthouse. I had one more hill to climb to get to the finish line. I saw the Wingman on the side of the road wildly ringing his cowbell. Halfway up the hill Wynn was on the side yelling, and I mean, yelling at me to run up the hill. Sad thing is I was running. I had nothing left at this point. I got to the finish line and grabbed two bottles to drink. I downed them so fast. I had a nice PR on the course, but I was still disappointed because of the bike leg. I believe I lost 2-3 minutes because of the rear wheel issue. It's one thing when you do your own stupid things to take you out of a race, but it's another when it's someone else that takes you out. I think next race I'm going to carry one of these and if someone gets in my way, they'll get it from me:
We waited for Teresa to finish and when she was heading up the hill I shouted "there's wine at the finish line." Soon after I went back to the car to change my clothes and then we hung around for the awards.
Wingman drove us home and I slept in the car. We went straight to the bike shop and they fixed my wheel and derailleur quickly. Of course I always see the bright side and said to Darren "I think this is a sign that I need a new bike" and he smiled and said "of course!!"
After the bike shop we finally headed home. By now my head was pounding. I always get a wicked headache racing in the heat. Not sure that it was dehydration as I was still going to the bathroom, but as soon as we got in the door I took two excedrin and grabbed my pillow. We were sitting on the couch eating and watching the Tour on TV. I stopped halfway through my meal and took a good nap. I felt so crappy at that point and just wanted to sleep it off. Not sure how long I was out for, but when I got up I finished my lunch and then took a shower. It's good to feel human again.
So here's to hoping that the next race will be child free. One can only hope.