2015 Tri Season starts: Sullivan

The short – reported by Martin: Ron Hoyne and I drove to Sullivan IL for the Sullivan Civic Center Tri. Things went well, with Martin and Ron 1st + 2nd in AG, and 9th+24th/140 overall. The top-3 medals feature adorable Pandas (see photo).

The long: After we had both paid our fee, it looked like it might not happen when my flight back from Fort Collins, CO was canceled on Friday without alternatives the same day. I drove a rental car 1050 miles through Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa, getting back early Saturday morning. After assembling my TT bike still in the box from IM Cozumel (I had planned on doing that Friday afternoon) and a few hours of sleep, Ron picked me up for the drive to Sullivan, near Lake Shelbyville and Rockome Gardens (which Ron warned me against visiting, recommending Allerton instead). A very Amish area.

After setting up in the small transition area on the lawn south of the Sullivan Civic Center, Ron and I tested the waters in the pool. 84 F! I revised my already slow 400 m swim time from 6:45 to 7:15. After the gun went off, there was some battling at the turnarounds, but the double-width lanes kept the mayhem under control. The bike holders provided by Cutting Edge events are clever wooden contraptions with a slot for the wheel and space for a bag, making T1 very smooth. As expected, Ron was 2 minutes faster than I after the swim.

Once on the bike, I pumped out a 24.3 mph ride at 161 bpm and Ron a 21.2 mph ride, getting us 4th and 29th/140 in that category. Decent work early in the season. (The online numbers are screwed up, making the swim super-fast and the bike super-slow.) The run was on smooth gravel paths in the adjacent park, much to my liking with my new minimalist/trail running style. However, I did not dare go in my Leguano running socks: I had gotten ‘Hot Foot’ the day before from pushing the car pedals for 14+ hours; this malady is usually reserved for 350+ mile bike rides in hot weather! I managed to pass one 20something racer on the run, but Ron and I both treaded carefully on the gravel and finished without incident. Ron almost came in first in his AG – missing the spot by 30 seconds.

The post-race food was good (ham and turkey sandwiches, chips, bananas, water and soft drinks), and the AG top-3 medals are metal pandas (see photo). I’m glad I did not have to ride the race on a monocycle like the middle panda!

Miraculously, the running on gravel cleared up the ‘Hot Foot,’ which improved as I was biking back to Champaign and met up with Jay for an all-day training ride.