I wouldn’t call this a race report, since it wasn’t a true race, just a group race simulation pretty much. Many thanks to the Pointers and Tommerdahls for putting this swim/run/bike event together.
As compared to Jordan Lake, Hyco is artificially warmed by a nearby power plant, so the temps were all the way up to 70 degrees. Chilly by most standards, although great with a wetsuit. As the 20-some athletes began diving in all popping up and emitting a loud “Brrrrr!”, I was hesitant to jump in myself. Remember the drama a few days before in Jordan Lake? Finally, only a few were left on the dock so I dove in myself. I was the first person to say, “Hm. That’s not so bad.” Of course, I was the only one that had been swimming in much colder water only a few days before. See what perspective can do for you? Speaking of perspective, check this out.
Come to find out, the swim is longer than a half mile and probably closer to 1000 meters — out of the cove, around the point, into the next cove to the white buoy. And back. Oh, crap. That’s long! How will I last after only a small handful of prep swims?! In the warmer water, I was able to swim relaxed and settle in behind what seemed to be the main pack. No rush. On the way back, I take a wide line and see a group to the left about to make the turn around the point. I veer in and join them. I settle in between a female swimmer and behind some big feet that I later determine belong to Adam Pomerantz. There’s also another swimmer that I suspect is Stacey Richardson that I miraculously find in every single open water swim that we are both in. We could be in an M-Dot Mass Swim start (God forbid) on opposite sides and still end up drafting off each other. Even when I’m out of shape and she’s in great swimming shape! Very bizarre. Maybe I should just have Stacey do all my swim training for me and I’ll just show up at races and turn on my Stacey swim magnet. Maybe I do that already— I’ll never tell. We finished the very comfortable swim in 17:30. Success!
After taking a ridiculous amount of time climbing out of the water, carrying on various conversations, removing my wetsuit, eventually realizing I should perhaps put on my running shoes, I eventually bound out of T1. We run for quite a ways on a very rocky gravel road. The racing flats weren’t the best shoe choice. Oops. I make it through without any stone bruises (yay!) and promise myself I’ll pick up the pace a little on the paved section. I run tempo pace, knowing the point to point run is 4.5-5 miles or something like that not really for sure. I forget to look at my watch until I’ve been running a little while and see 20:3x, so estimate I started the run around 20 minutes. I have no idea if that’s even close to accurate, but I figure if I’m running tempo and I’m tired (which I am) then I shouldn’t be running any slower than 7 minute miles so expect to arrive at T2 with about 55 minutes on my watch. I think the math works, but don’t ever trust math calculated while running. There’s a high probability of error. At any rate, I get to T2 with less than 51 minutes on my watch, so I was either running faster than I think or the course was significantly shorter than 5 miles. Doesn’t really matter.
I get passed in transition by a fellow with a lot more urgency than I’m showing this fine day and start the out/back bike portion. Errr… yowch. My legs sure are tired. Good thing I’ve given myself permission to slack! Tempo not race effort! Yay! Certain I’m barely moving forward, I expect to see athletes pass by me. I keep my ears peeled for the sound of approaching bikes and am surprised when none come. We have a big 200 foot drop off down to lake level and big climb up the other side in the middle, which we get to traverse twice. Not a very speedy course! The one nice thing was that the mild wind we did have blew towards us on the way out and pushed us home, which is preferable to the other option. I roll up to the mailbox “finish line” and see my watch has 1 hour and 30 minutes. My GPS said the bike course was about 14.7 miles.