Saturday, 5 January 2013

05.01.13 Tauranga Half Ironman Pre Race

First order of business is to go into transition and check the condition of your bike before you do anything.  The last time I saw my bike was around 3pm the day before and with the heat of the day plus bad luck, anything could have happened.  In fact during the race briefing the night prior it was announced that one bike tyre had already blown up and would need to be changed.  Thank God all was well with my bike.  A quick pump of the tyre's to bring them up to pressure and then I started adding the relevant bits and pieces needed for the race.  First to go on was the speedometer that had been purchased a couple of days prior.  My polar watch has basically given up over the last month and there was no way that I wanted to be in the race and not knowing how fast I would be going.  I had my cadence sensor still working but that was about all that was left.  It meant that I would have to watch my cadence on my polar watch and my speed on my speedometer but it was better than nothing.  I also packed my 'Bento Box' which is a bag that straps to your top tube on your frame and allows you to easily pull out food and gels whilst in the aero position without having to reach behind you and pull them out of your pockets on your top.  Victoria had made a homemade recipe bar that included every possible nut as well as chocolate chips, cranberry and chia seeds.

I laid down my towel as well as the gear that would be required in the order that I would require it.  I would be coming out of the swim and would need to stand on the towel before drying my feet so that I could put on my bike shoes.  Underneath my bike shoes was my race belt with my racing number.  Underneath my shoes in case it blew away in the wind that was blowing.  No race number, no race so I did not want to lose that.  Also underneath my shoes were some gels that I did not want to carry into the swim and my own personal gel made up of chia seeds, lime juice cordial and water.  Above that was my Vibram's and underneath them was my hat, more gels and another small water bottle holding my homemade gel.  I then put my drink bottles on my bike made up of a strong mix of gatorade.  I had to go to a dairy the night before and buy two pump bottles.  The race had a bottle exchange which meant that if you were carrying a bottle and had drunk the contents, when you hit the bottle exchange which was located at the 22km mark and the 66km mark, you could hand over your drink bottle and get a new one in return filled with a Leppin solution.  If you have a nice drink bottle the last thing you want to do is hand that over, so a $3 Pump bottle in exchange for a brand new re-usable one sounded like a good deal.  Once I was happy with my set up and I had checked, re-checked and checked again; I made my way out of transition.

The time was coming up to 5:50am and it was getting close to me needing to start getting into my wetsuit.  The funny thing about Ironman wetsuits is that it takes you around 5 minutes to put on and around 10 seconds to take off.  I met up with Victoria and my mum had a chat to them before deciding I needed to go to the loo one last time.  The only toilets were in transition and as per usual at most triathlon's there was a reasonable line for them.  After finally making it to the start of the queue and utilising the rest room facilities, I headed back out to see my mum and wife.  It was now around 6:10am and it was time to get suited up.  As previously mentioned the wetsuit takes around 5 minutes to put on.  The reason it takes so long is that it is a very snug fit.  Due to it being such a snug fit, you have to slide it on and pull it into position on your body without putting your fingers through it and putting a big rip in it.  I have seen people put on wetsuits using all different methods including hair conditioner, vaseline and nothing at all.  The best and most efficient way and the way I use is a simple plastic bag.  You put the bag over your foot and slide your foot through one leg and pull the wetsuit into position.  You then pull the bag out and repeat for the other leg and both arms.  Once this is done, you carefully pull the suit into position over the shoulders and then get a mate to zip you up.  Before zipping up though, I always cover my neck in vaseline.  I seem to get friction between my neck and the neck of my wetsuit which ends up with a sore on your neck that stings and looks like a hickey.  Vaseline stops this from happening and is probably the most important thing not to forget besides the chaffing cream.  Once my neck was smothered, it was time to zip up the wetsuit, give a final kiss to my mum and wife and put on the goggles and the swim cap and head into the water.  That first dip in the water is always a shock however the water was not too bad and before I knew it, water had entered my wetsuit and I began my warm up swim.  The conditions seemed okay for the swim.  The water was not too cold, the water was not choppy however I did notice that the buoys were located in and around moored boats.  Not only would you have to be looking for the buoy but you would also have to ensure you were looking that you would not swim directly into the path of a moored boat.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to head to the start line and watch the elite athletes begin their race knowing I had only 2 more minutes before I started my journey into the unknown.

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